OK, It seams like these high gas prices are here to stay. Earlier this month, they finally crossed the $4 mark here in Charleston. While this is bad news for our wallets, it’s good news for the environment. People are driving less, using public transportation more, and buying cars with more efficient engines.

Overall, our driving habits haven’t changed this much since the 1970s, and I think it’s a good thing. Here are a few local ways you can change you own habits, and help out mother planet at the same time.

  • Ride CARTA – Riding the bus whenever possible will keep you out of your car, and keep emissions out of the air. Lucky for us, CARTA has some great routes for getting around Charleston.
  • Buy Biodiesel – Fill up your diesel vehicle with eco-friendly biodeisel from OM Fuels, located in the Fox Music parking lot on Montague Avenue.
  • Participate in a rideshare program – If you don’t mind sharing a ride with relative strangers, you can find local carpoolers on Craigslist.
  • Buy a local hybrid or smart car – We have local dealerships that sell the Prius, SmartCar, and Honda Hybrids. If it’s time to get a new car, this is a great opportunity to cut some emissions and vote with your dollar.

  • Attend the Alternative Energy meetup – Fuel is often a topic at the monthly Charleston Alternative Energy Meetup, and you can learn a lot about how green up your vehicle (and other things) by attending.
  • Use the bike paths – Keep your car in the driveway and pedal to work. Bike paths have popped up around town, and local interest is driving the creation of more.
  • Move closer to where you work – Summerville to Downtown commutes just don’t make sense. That goes for James Island to East Cooper commutes too. Now, I know we can’t all just move, but factor this into the decision the next time you’re thinking about it.
  • When you’re stuck on the Don Holt, turn off your car! – If you’re at a complete stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic, turning off your car can save a lot of gas and keep nasty stuff out of the air. It’s a myth that turning off and on your engine uses a ton of gas, so turn that key the next time your standing still (if you can bear the heat!)

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