This is the traditional time when we visualize a better life in the upcoming year. We make resolutions for improved health and happiness for ourselves, our families and our friends. Career and financial goals are priorities for others. A better nation and brighter future top the list many. New Year's Resolutions can effectively start us on a better journey. Along the way, we may be detoured by interesting alternatives, and not achieve all resolutions. Yet, they are worth making.
Since I write about clean transportation, I have talked with many who travel with fewer emissions, often lower cost, and frequently with more fun. Learning from them, it is appropriate that I make some personal resolutions to improve how I travel. Hopefully, these will modestly help our nation to be more energy secure, the future to be a little more secure from a climate crisis, and even to save money. For the entire world to see, here are my personal transportation resolutions for the New Year. Some will be easy to keep, some challenging.
1. Put the most miles on the car with the best fuel economy. My wife and I share a fuel efficient Prius.
2. Keep the second car (a Hyundai Accent) in the garage most of the time.
3. Walk more.
4. On freeways, drive 65 miles per hour, not 80. This can save over $1,000 per year and may improve fuel economy by 20% over high speed driving.
5. Live "carbon neutral" by offsetting all our emissions with a donation to carbonfund.org.
6. Fly less. Greenhouse gases per passenger mile are worse on airlines than driving solo in a gas guzzler. The car is a great alternative if two or four are in it. A train is even better.
7 . Move from suburbia to the city. Everything is closer in a city and transit is far better.
8 . Downsize from two cars to one.
9 . Join a car share program for the occasions where a second car is needed.
10 . Reduce our "carbon footprint" (less total greenhouse gas emissions).
Because I have published these resolutions, I feel more likely to keep them.
Thanks to wonderful non-profit organizations, it is easy to calculate our carbon footprint, and offset our damage with renewable energy, efficiency and reforestation programs. Reducing our carbon footprint takes more work. In 2007, we both reduced our total GHG emissions and lived carbon neutral. We will do our best to accomplish both in 2008.
Every success with your resolutions. May they bring you a year of health, happiness, and fulfillment. Do not underestimate your ability to make a difference and to inspire others.
Happy New Year!
John Addison is the publisher of the Clean Fleet Report.