In Pursuit of the Green Truck

pick up truck
Ready to green that gas-guzzler?

Though trucks have developed a bad reputation over the years for gas consumption and air pollution, the trouble is that many people simply need trucks for work or for personal reasons. Because of my commitment to living green and my interaction with a population that relies on trucks, I have made an effort to help them clean up their image by staying abreast of manageable green solutions that I can pass along.

From the simple to the more extreme, I have found a number of ways to lessen the impact of truck ownership.

  1. Carpool. Save money and the environment by carpooling to work, or taking the kids to school. One less vehicle on the road means cleaner air and less traffic congestion. And not only will you save on the cost of gasoline, but many cities offer charge-free lanes to carpoolers. There are also organizations such as the Clean Air Campaign which offers rewards to carpoolers in their community. Be creative to find like-minded people in your area for ideal carpoolers – the college newspaper or bulletin board if you’re a student, put up a poster at your local grocery store, ask the director at the pre-school if you could put a notice in their bulletin to parents, and of course, use your social networks – Facebook and Twitter.
  2. High Performance Cabin Air Filters.While there are plenty of “Green Air Filters” on the market, these don’t measure up to high performance air filters, such as K&N brand filters. Unlike disposable air filters (which includes Green Filters), these filters never need replacing and often exceed the life of your vehicle. Instead of throwing away and replacing after 15,000 miles, high performance air filters only need cleaning every 50,000 miles (30,000 in dusty climates). In addition, they are made from cloth, while disposable filters use thick, bleached layers of paper from felled trees. Think of one less filter in US landfills where over 100 million disposables filters end up each year.
  3. Use your truck to help out around the neighborhood. Can you offer to remove old appliances to the proper recycling facility? Can you become knowledgeable of where to recycle carpet and offer to dispose of it properly and make it known that you do? Could you make even better use of some of these and arrange a bi-weekly or once a month time when you pick up items and deliver a load to Goodwill? Not only would you help the environment, but you may make lasting friends just by doing these little “random acts of kindness.”
  4. Green Ways to Wash Your Truck. According to Arizona State University, one wash at a commercial car wash uses nearly 100 less gallons of water than a single wash at your home will use. And many of these car washes recycle water, whereas the soapy water used at home runs off to pollute the waterway. Still there will always be those truck (or car) enthusiasts who want to hand wash their own vehicles to give it the tender loving care it deserves. If you fall into that category, consider waterless, biodegradable car wash products. You can also use homemade cleaners for detailing. Mixing white distilled vinegar and water will give you a natural cleaner for car windows. Using newspaper to clean the windows cuts down on paper towel use and recycles your daily newspaper.
  5. The Right Time For Gas. Time to fill the gas tank? Don’t fill your gas tank in the heat of the day, especially in very warm temperatures. Refueling early mornings or late evenings will help prevent gas fumes from heating up and causing ground-level ozone. Once you’ve filled the gas tank, do not top the level once the automatic shut off stops gas flow. Forcing more gas into the tank emits harmful gas fumes into the air.

From promoting carpools to considering what cleaning products to use, there are changes that individuals can make that don’t require overhauling their lifestyles. In fact, often being a little greener can mean saving some money, and right now, I don’t think anyone would complain about that!

Judy lives in Wisconsin with her husband and writes for her personal blog as well as her company’s. She works for Truck Champ, who sells an array of truck accessories. She has made an effort to learn more about greening trucks and cars in order to help the environment and help others reduce their impact.

No need for a truck? Ready to green your transportation as much as possible? Consider a bike… we’ve got road bikes, mountain bikes, and even electric bikes currently listed.

Image credit: Ricardo Perez at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

  1. Randy McLean

    I appreciate and agree with you on many of your points however, the K&N filter has to be cleaned and oiled more often than 30k miles. An engine must breath and when it cannot it is not efficient. Unless you are prepared to clean and oil that filter every 2k or 3k miles you are fooling yourself.

    These filters do not have as large a surface area as a paper filter. The oiled surface pulls out every fine partical and thus works to protect your engine however, it is plugged in a very short time and your engine efficiency goes down quickly.

    Check out the Diesel blogs.

  2. names are good

    Here’s a green tip for trucks:

    If you aren’t a contractor or a farmer, you do not need one. Noone who lives on typical 0.2 acre city lots has a need for a truck unless for business. You are better off to rent a truck or van 1-2 times a year you would ever have a need for something larger than a car.

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