3 Options For Reducing Oil Dependence

It’s no secret that oil is a finite resource that will run out someday. As supplies have become more limited, we’ve seen gas prices climb higher and higher—and our wallets have taken a brutal hit as a result. High levels of oil consumption are not only problematic for our finances, but for the environment as well. Between climate change and air pollution, there’s no question that the less gasoline we use, the better off the environment will be.

So how do we go about reducing our oil consumption as we face the fuel crisis? Our cars are easily the largest source of our personal oil usage, which means that if you can address the amount of gas your car uses you’ll be able to make an impact on overall consumption. Here are some car options if you’re interested in using less gasoline and helping out the environment.

1.    Hybrid Technology

Hybrids have exploded in popularity over the last decade, largely led by the Toyota Prius, which was introduced to the world in 2001. Hybrid technology takes the classic internal combustion engine found on traditional automobiles and blends it with an electric propulsion system, which allows for improved mileage ratings.
Hybrid cars offer an attractive middle ground between the low mileage of traditional cars and the practical shortcomings of electric cars (such as having a limited range). Hybrids offer the best of both worlds: you pay less at the pump but don’t have to sacrifice the traditional driving experience. There are some downsides, however; hybrids tend to be more expensive than their traditional counterparts, and they’re still dependent on gasoline, albeit in a reduced capacity.

2.    Electric Cars

While electric cars have existed for more than a century, the ability to actually obtain one has been spotty over the years. Luckily, the past decade has brought on a renewed interest in electric cars, which has led to increased availability. Electric cars allow for complete oil independence (unless the electricity used to charge the car’s batteries was generated using oil, of course), meaning you never have to visit the gas pump. With no emissions, which contribute to climate change and air pollution, they’re great for the environment too. Electric cars do have some downsides, however; they tend to be more expensive, and they have a more limited range, which is especially problematic considering the current lack of car-charging stations.

3.    Take care of your old car!

If your car has an internal combustion engine and a new car isn’t in the cards any time soon, don’t despair. Holding on to your older car can actually be a more environmentally sustainable option; the production of new cars uses up tremendous amounts of resources and can have significant negative environmental impacts, so buying a new car is not a viable way to help out the environment—unless you were already going to buy a new car in the first place. Get the most out of your older car’s mileage by taking good care of it; car manuals are a good source of information on how to do this. If you show your car some lovin’, it’ll keep you driving easy and paying less at the pump for years to come.

About the Author

Madeline Marshall is an eco-conscious writer living in Santa Cruz, CA.