News & Tips on Becoming a More Eco-Friendly Driver
Using blockchain technology and plug-in hybrid cars, drivers in China are getting incentivized to reduce their carbon footprint.
It’s a project solely for drivers of the BYD Pro new energy sedan, but it’s still cool because they can earn carbon credits to be applied toward goods and services such as free car washes, dairy products, and online courses. The developers of the environmentally friendly driving program hope to expand offerings to include medical services and shared bicycles.
Eco-Car Drivers Rewarded in China
Unveiled in November, the project is called Blockchain Low-Carbon Ecosystem. Owners of the BYD Qin Pro plug-in hybrid get their daily driving miles recorded on a blockchain ledger. When those drivers take the subway instead of driving their cars to work, for example, they accumulate credits for lowering their carbon footprint and get to buy items from participating retailers.
An innovative program like this is especially encouraging since China produces more cars than any other country in the world — or one out of three. Worldwide, there are an estimated 1 billion passenger cars on the roads today, a milestone that was reached for the first time ever in 2010.
It’s probably asking too much of drivers to give up their cars to save the planet, but changing the amount people drive can have a large impact. Transportation emissions in 2017 surpassed electricity emissions for the first time since 1978, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Proposed Driving Incentives in the U.S.
With a few driving incentives in place, theU.S. should be able to reduce transportation emissions, according to a 2017 paper written by the Federal Highway Administration and Cambridge Systematics. Here are three ideas for consideration:
- Pay-as-you-drive-and-you-save (PAYDAYS) car insurance. Traditional insurance rates don’t vary much based on mileage. But PAYDAYS car insurance would convert all fixed insurance costs to per-mile or per-minute of driving charges. Instead of a fixed rate, it would be variable.
- Parking cash-out programs for employees. The idea is to require employers who provide free parking to implement a cash-out program, which would incentivize solo drivers to commute or carpool.
- Instead of paying a fixed sales tax percentage on a new vehicle, a new vehicle owner would pay taxes based on mileage spread out over three years.
Until new laws and rules are implemented, each individual has the power to reduce their own carbon emissions. We all have the responsibility to tread lightly— not just off-road but on all roads. In fact, the nonprofit Tread Lightly! receives funding from Ford Motor Company and Toyota. Here’s a reminder of what TREAD stands for and think about how it can apply to all forms of transportation on land:
T – Travel Responsibly
R – Respect the Rights of Others
E – Educate Yourself
A – Avoid Sensitive Areas
D – Do Your Part
What About Your Current Car?
As a driver, here’s what you can do to cut down on your carbon emissions
- Don’t idle. Contrary to popular belief, idling for more than 10 seconds uses more gas and pumps more CO2 into the air than restarting your engine.
- Recycle your junk car: 98 percent of a car can be recycled. The average amount someone gets for their scrapped vehicle is $150-500. Twenty-five cars a minute are recycled.
- Not only is speeding dangerous, it’s a gas waster. A car is the most efficient between 55-65 mph. Pick a speed and stay in that range when possible.
- Check the tire pressure once a month and get your car serviced regularly. For every 4 psi that a tire is underinflated, fuel use increases by 2 percent.
There are many things drivers on the move can do to be friendlier to the environment. If you do decide to buy a new set of wheels, consider purchasing a more energy-efficient and cleaner vehicle. If buying a new car isn’t an option, keep in mind the proposals and tips above.