Many people don’t like using gasoline, but feel that they are unable to live their lives without it. Is it possible to wean oneself off gasoline?
Most people can’t stop using gasoline overnight. A realistic goal for most everybody is making a consistent effort to cut gasoline consumption, and to buy a plug-in electric or plug-in hybrid car when replacing one’s current car.
The average American drives about 13,500 miles per year in a gas-powered car, and consumes about 540 gallons of gas and emits about 10,500 pounds of CO2 per year doing so.
If one has a gasoline car, the best way to cut gasoline consumption is to drive less. Avoiding the use of one’s car by taking the bus, bicycling, and carpooling are the best strategies for reducing one’s gasoline use.
For most drivers, the biggest opportunity to reduce consumption comes when one is ready to trade in one’s old car. Electric and plug-in hybrid cars are rapidly improving, and offer solutions for most budgets and driving needs. Chevy Volts offer 40 miles of electric driving with a gasoline motor that provides effectively unlimited range when the batteries are drained. Used Nissan Leafs now start at about $10,000 and offer about 75 miles driving range, sufficient for a commuter or second car. New options, including plug-in SUVs, are coming into the market in almost every segment, providing for a wide range of choices. Switching to an electric car or a plug-in hybrid can reduce one’s gasoline consumption by 75-100% in one shot. Getting an electric car and solar panels at the same time can allow a person to drive without polluting and without paying for fuel.
By contrast, buying a new gasoline-powered car is buying into years of throwing 10,000 pounds or more of CO2 into the air every year and to handing over $1500 or more every year to the oil companies.
The key is to make a consistent effort to reduce one’s gasoline consumption, especially when purchasing a car. If we can make large reductions in our gasoline these changes, and lead our friends, neighbors, and co-workers to do so as well, we can make an important contribution to reducing the climate crisis.