5 Ways to Reduce Your Dependence on Oil (and Decrease Your Gas Expenditures)

I recently watched a great documentary called Fuel.  It discusses the many negative effects of our excessive gas use in America including pollution, dependence on foreign oil (especially in the Middle East), global warming, and infertility among other things.  I highly recommend this film!

Toyota Prius (Hybrid)

In regards to cars, here are 5 things you can do to decrease your use of fuel (and, in turn, decrease your monthly cost of filling up at the pump):

  1. Buy an electric car.
  2. Buy a car with a diesel engine and fill up with biodiesel.  Currently, this would be hard to do in America.  Other countries, such as Germany and Sweden, have biodiesel pumps easily accessible throughout the country.  To find if there are biodiesel stations near you, go here: Find Biodiesel Filling Stations.  Otherwise, you would have to buy it or make it.  To see how to make biodiesel, go here: Make Biodiesel
  3. Buy a hybrid car.  You can buy used diesel or hybrid cars on Craigslist for much cheaper than they cost new at a car dealership.  That is what I plan to do the next time we purchase a car.
  4. Buy a car with good gas mileage.  Unfortunately, we have one gas guzzler right now.  Luckily, I only use it to go to work, which is one mile away, and to get groceries one time a week.  We will not make that mistake again.
  5. Use alternate transportation.  Use public transportation (i.e., bus, train, subway).  Use a golf cart if it’s legal in your state/country (my dad’s idea).  Walk or bike.  I just started walking to work, and I plan to walk to work 3 days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday).

The following 10 tips for increasing green energy use and decreasing oil use from the Fuel film are listed below:

  1. Alter your transportation.  Take the bus.  Bike.  Walk.  Inflate your Tires.  Get a hybrid or electric car.  Get a diesel car and use sustainable biodiesel fuel.
  2. Switch your school buses.  Lobby your principal/PTA/School to switch buses to biodiesel.
  3. Buy wind.  Get a wind turbine.  Invest in wind energy.  Switch your electricity provider to a company with wind power.
  4. Get solar.  Put solar panels on your house.  Invest in solar energy.  Switch your electricity provider to a company with solar energy.
  5. Invest in algae.  (This is explained in detail in the film.)  Put your money into sustainable algae companies.
  6. Grow food and trees locally.  Plant trees.  Start a community garden.  Learn about organic, sustainable farming.
  7. Go carbon neutral.  Stop using petroleum.  Eat lower on the food chain.  Sign up for carbon offsets.
  8. Conserve energy and increase efficiency.  Buy and use energy efficient devices.  Turn off lights and unused appliances.  Retrofit your house.
  9. Educate yourself on the effects of excess use of oil. 
  10. Vote for “non-fossil” politicians.

electric car

I know this may seem overwhelming, and many of these tips take a lot of work to get started, but don’t get discouraged!  Start small.  Start by doing one thing on this list, and then go from there.  As I said above, I’m starting by walking to work 3 days a week.  What will you do first to decrease your use of fuel?  Leave your plans in the comments below!

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7 thoughts on “5 Ways to Reduce Your Dependence on Oil (and Decrease Your Gas Expenditures)

  1. It’s a little more work and effort, but my husband and I try to carpool to work whenever possible. We both had to alter our work schedule (which we’re lucky our bosses were cool with it) in order to make it work, but it’s been worth it and definately saved us money and time (since we get to drive in the HOV lane!!) Thanks for the earth-loving blog 🙂

  2. Biodiesel is a fuel that is made from soy beans, or waste vegetable oil(cooking oil). It can be used in place of petroleum diesel fuel for vehicles or heating oil for buildings. Unlike petroleum diesel, biodiesel is a renewable resource, and it creates less pollution than petroleum diesel. It can be used alone or in combination with petroleum diesel, or with heating oil. Generally, no expensive modifications to the engines are required. This makes it easier to integrate biodiesel into current systems than other alternative energy sources, which often require new equipment. .

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