Green Your Ride: Family-Friendly Eco-Cars

Family-Friendly Eco-CarsWith gas prices at all-time highs, who couldn’t use a few less trips to the pump? Of course, the absolutely best way to save gas is not to drive at all. Walk, ride bikes, or carpool instead.

But if you need to drive, the next best thing you can do is to make sure that your ride is a green as possible…and if you think that means riding around in a veggie-oil powered tuna can, think again! The market for environmentally-friendly cars has exploded over the past few years, so there is now an eco-savvy option for every family. These cars release fewer emissions into the air and help you go further on each tank of gas. Consider making your next family car a clean one. Here are some of your options:

Gasoline-Powered Eco-Cars: The majority of eco-cars on the road today are called partial zero-emissions vehicles (PZEVs) that run on gasoline but use advanced technology to improve gas mileage and reduce pollutants. Hybrid cars also use gasoline but minimize its consumption with electric power. Hybrid cars emit fewer pollutants and use less fuel than their traditional counterparts, but these models will also be more costly than their gas-guzzling cousins.

Flexible Fuel Vehicles: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, all gasoline vehicles are capable of operating on gasoline/ethanol blends with up to 10% ethanol. However, there are also millions of cars on the road today, known as Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), that can run on E85 (85% denatured ethanol and 15% gasoline), and you may even be driving one without knowing it. Current models of the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Avalanche, Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Silverado, DaimlerChrysler Sebring, Dodge Stratus, Ford F-150, Ford Taurus, GMC Silverado, GMC Savana, GMC Yukon, Mercedes-Benz: C 320, Mercedes Benz 240, and Mercury Sable are FFVs. Check your owners’ manual or talk to your dealer if you think your car might be able to run on ethanol. Check the DOE website to find an ethanol fuel station near you.

Biodiesel: Biodiesel is another great eco-friendly option. Biodiesel is a combination of diesel and refined vegetable oil. It burns cleaner than straight diesel and produces fewer emissions. Biodiesel fuel can now be purchased in almost every state in the country. The National Biodiesel Board maintains a list of biodiesel retail locations.

Or, if you’d like to run on straight vegetable oil, check out Golden Fuel Systems or Greasecar to purchase a DIY conversion kit. Green Parents Woody Harrelson, Julia Roberts, and Jack Johnson are active supporters of biodiesel, as are celebrity environmentalists such as Daryl Hannah and Willy Nelson.

Read more from Jenn at her blog, The Green Parent and join her in the Green Parents Forum to share ideas, ask questions, offer advice, or just rant and rave about going green!

Original post for 5 Minutes For Going Green.

One Response to Green Your Ride: Family-Friendly Eco-Cars
  1. Electric Car
    September 22, 2008 | 6:57 am

    You missed out on electric vehicles there! They cost about one tenth to drive when compared to gas vehicles, they are silent, with almost zero maintenance requirement, and they have zero emissions! Plus they are getting better all the time!