If you’ve ever wondered if you could turn your typical gasoline-fueled car into a more eco-friendly ride, you’re in luck. While your car may never be as “green” as its electric or hybrid counterparts, there are a number of ways you can upgrade your current car to help save the planet…and your wallet at once.
- Convert: While it may be out of your price range, those who want to turn their current car into a more eco-friendly model have the option to convert their gas-guzzler into a hybrid or electric car if they have the money to spare. Converter kits are available but will cost you upwards of $10,000. However, according to MSN Autos, fully charged, they will run on electric power alone for up to 40 miles, which is more than the average commute for most. This could save you at least the cost to fill up your tank once or twice a month.
- Recycle: Both windshield wipers and tires are now being made from renewable and recycled materials. Tire companies have also jumped on the “green” bandwagon and are now manufacturing “eco-friendly” tires that are supposed to help you increase fuel mileage. TireRack, a company that tested six different types of popular “green” tires, estimates that, “if driven 15,000 miles a year, these tires could help save $52.50 in annual fuel costs, and reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 420 pounds.”
- Solarize: Did you know that just like solar panels on your house, you can harness the sun’s power on the roof of your car? Solarize your roof and install a solar panel on the roof of your car then watch as the gathered sunlight converts to electricity. According to MSN Autos, a solar panel can help a hybrid car run up to 20 miles per day in a fully electric mode, which could net an impressive 29 percent increase in fuel economy.
- Reflect: Investing in sun reflectors to keep the interior of your car cool can not only save money on the coolant used to power your air conditioner, but also on the extra gas it takes to run it. Whether you buy sun reflectors from your car dealer or sport an inexpensive version that looks like giant sunglasses, this is a great way to keep your ride cooler while saving you a few dollars a month.
- Replace: Replacing regular diesel gasoline with its eco-friendly counterpart can be a great way to save money as you save the planet. Biodiesel, a substance made from canola and other vegetable oils, can be used when blended with petroleum diesel instead of pure diesel. While not yet readily available at most gas stations, more and more are popping up across the country.
- Lighten: An obvious way to lighten your load is to clean out your trunk and remove any large, unused items, like golf clubs or other sporting equipment to get better miles per gallon. However, have you ever thought about removing your roof rack, or even purchasing a spoiler to help you lighten up and lessen the wind resistance on your car?
- Trade. And lastly, if all these ideas get you excited about upgrading your car to decrease your carbon footprint, but you’re afraid your money would be better spent simply upgrading your current car, then consider trading in your set of wheels for a true electric or hybrid version. Once you weigh your options, finding new or used auto loans to finance your new (or new-to-you) car is simple. Or consider an auto loan refinance to save you money on interest you can use to upgrade the car you have now. Whether it’s a small step or a giant leap, there’s never been a better time to do your part to save the planet…and your wallet.