53 Easy Tips to Use Less Water

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 6:54am by admin

As drought has stretched across much of the nation, it’s a great time to find ways to conserve water. If everyone used less water on a regular basis, the amount of water conserved would add up quickly. If you would like to find simple ways to use less water and save money at the same time, then follow these tips to get you started. Before you know it, you’ll be a conservation professional.

In the Bathroom Waking up first thing in the morning, saving water might not be on your mind. Try to incorporate these tips in your daily routine, though, for some great ways to use less water.

  1. Brushing teeth. Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth, then turn it back on when you are ready to rinse. This can save nine gallons of water.
  2. Bathe. Take a bath rather than a shower: it uses less water if you like to stand in your shower a while.
  3. Bathe less frequently. Unless you’ve really been working up a sweat, it’s likely you could go every other day with a bath rather than bathing every day. Not only will you save water, but your skin will appreciate the break too.
  4. Toilet. If your toilet needs replacing, be sure to install a low flow toilet. You can also choose one with duel flushing, so when you need to use less water, you can choose the lighter flush.
  5. Shower head. If you can’t break the shower habit, at least change your shower head to a one that is water-efficient.
  6. Shorter shower . Another tip for die-hard shower people is to keep your shower short. Set a timer for 5 minutes and get yourself out when your time is finished.
  7. Check for leaks. Make sure your toilet isn’t leaking. If it is, make the simple repairs to save over 600 gallons of water a month.
  8. Replace the flapper. For just a few dollars and about five minutes of your time, you can replace the flapper and save on water that would be unnecessarily running from the toilet.
  9. Bathe together. Two in a shower takes less water than two separate showers. Also, if you have young children, they can take a bath together rather than filling the tub two or three times.
  10. If it’s yellow…. Follow the adage, "If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down." Flushing urine every second or third time saves water.
  11. Older toilets. If your toilet is from before 1980, add a bottle of water to the tank to use less water for refilling the tank each flush.
  12. Navy Shower. Take a navy shower, which requires that you only turn on the water when you are rinsing the soap or shampoo from your body.
  13. Reuse towels. Instead of washing your towel after every use, reuse those towels. Washing them once a week will save considerably on water.

In the Kitchen Another place where water usage is wasted easily, the kitchen offers a great opportunity to save water. From reusing water to not leaving the tap running, you will find plenty of ideas to use less water in this list.

  1. Hand washing. Don’t leave the water running while you rinse dishes. Fill up the sink with clear water and dunk your soapy dishes there for a rinse.
  2. Full load. Only run the dishwasher when it is full. It takes the same amount of water to wash four dishes as it does a full load. The same goes for the laundry room–don’t run the washing machine unless you’ve got a full load.
  3. Compost. Rather than using the garbage disposal, which requires water, compost that waste. Not only will you have saved water, but you’ll be making your own free compost for your landscaping.
  4. Produce. Wash your produce like you rinse your dishes. Fill up the sink and clean your produce in that water rather than running the water in the sink.
  5. Thawing. Don’t use running water to defrost your food. If it’s meat, let it thaw in the refrigerator over night. If you need a quick thaw, fill your sink with just enough hot water to cover your item, then let it soak.
  6. Soak. For those stuck-on food problems, let the pots and pans soak in standing water a while and the food will come right off. It saves water and elbow grease over scraping under running water.
  7. Don’t rinse. If your dishwasher is newer, pre-rinsing is not necessary. Just scrape the big particles of food into your compost pile and put the dishes straight into the dishwasher.
  8. Don’t soften. Only install water softening devices if absolutely necessary. The process of softening the water generates more water that is flushed out with other household wastewater.
  9. Add less water. Adding less water when cooking not only saves water, but it also maintains more of the nutrients in the food.
  10. Kettle. Only fill the tea kettle with as much water as you need. Overfilling and pouring the extra down the drain wastes water.

In the Laundry Room Washing clothes requires a lot of water. Use these tips to help reduce the amount of water used to do your laundry.

  1. Water level. Be sure to match the water level in the washer to the size of your load. Don’t wash just a few clothes in the large load.
  2. Hand wash. If you just have one or two items to wash, don’t throw them in the washer. It’s easy to hand wash those items in the sink and save a lot of water.
  3. Front load washer. When it’s time to replace your washing machine, choose a front load washer. They use less water and are also more gentle on your clothes.
  4. Lint filter. If your washing machine has a lint filter, keep it clean. A clean filter can prevent overflow problems.
  5. Detergent. Use a high-efficiency detergent. The lower amount of suds will rinse more quickly. Some washers detect the suds and keep rinsing until they are all gone.
  6. Recycle water. Attach a hose to your washing machine outlet pipe and redirect that wash water. Collect the water to use on the yard.

In the Yard Achieving a beautiful lawn is the goal for many homeowners. Be smart when you go for the "Yard of the Month" sign and take the advice below for ways to use less water in your yard.

  1. Xeriscape. When you purchase plants or grass for your yard, choose those that are indigenous to your region. They will require less water and less maintenance.
  2. Sprinkler system check. Make sure your sprinkler system is adjusted correctly so that the water is going on the yard and not the sidewalk or street. Also, make sure it’s not running so long that the yard gets saturated and extra water runs out into the street.
  3. Rain sensor. Check to see if your sprinkler system has a rain sensor, and if it does, use it. That way, your sprinkler system won’t go off unnecessarily if it’s just rained. If your system doesn’t have one, see about installing one.
  4. Time your planting. Plant during the spring or fall when you need to use less water. In addition to saving water, you are also giving your plants time to become established before summer rolls around.
  5. Time your watering. Water your yard in the early morning or late evening when the sun is less hot. Rather than evaporating, the water goes where you want it–to your yard.
  6. Adjust your mower. Mow your grass so that it is a little longer after mowing. The longer blades will shade the roots and keep moisture on the soil longer.
  7. Soaker hose. Using a soaker hose lets water trickle down slowly, ensuring that all the water goes in the ground and not on sidewalks. This is especially handy if your landscaping is on a hill where water would naturally run off while watering.
  8. Fertilize lightly. Fertilizing the yard requires more water. Use fertilizer sparingly, or better yet, find natural ways to feed your yard.
  9. Weed. Weeding your yard eliminates extra plant life that steals the water from your lawn. Additionally, your yard will look nicer.
  10. Rake and save. Save your leaves until the spring and use them as a natural mulch. Adding this mulch to your garden will retain moisture on the soil and require less watering.
  11. Chooser your sprinkler. When choosing a sprinkler, chose one that distributes large droplets of water. Small droplets evaporate quickly while the large droplets get more water in the ground.
  12. Hand water. For small sections of the yard, hand water them. You can direct the water to exactly the spot that needs it.

Around the house From retrieving dropped ice cubes to reusing water for house plants, you will find lots of helpful tips in the list below to use less water around the house.

  1. Driveway. Don’t clean your driveway with the water hose. Instead, use a push broom and sweep the drive or use a shovel for those tough jobs.
  2. Car washing. If you like to wash your car at home, turn off the water in between rinses. Don’t let the water run down the driveway while you scrub the car. Better yet, use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  3. Plants. Collect rain water to water the plants, or reuse the water you used to rinse your produce if rain isn’t in your weather forecast. If you have an aquarium, when cleaning the tank, reuse that water for plants too.
  4. One glass. Keep one glass out all day for drinking water. Getting a new glass every time you get water unnecessarily dirties dishes and requires you to run the dishwasher more often.
  5. Toss the tissue. Throw your used tissues in the trash rather than flushing them down the toilet. Unnecessary flushing wastes water.
  6. Pets. Bathe your pets in a section of the yard that needs water. Be sure to turn off the water while you are lathering Spot.
  7. Washing hands. While soaping up your hands, turn off the water. Running water while you are soaping just wastes it. Also, use cold water rather than wasting water while waiting for the hot water to heat.
  8. Oops ice. Dropped ice cubes on the floor? Don’t throw them in the sink. Put them in your pet’s water bowl or stick them in a house plant.
  9. Main water valve. Know where your main water valve is located and how to turn it off. In case of a leak, getting it turned off quickly can save a huge amount of water.
  10. Covers. Use covers on your pool or spa. By covering them, you can greatly reduce evaporation, thereby requiring less water to maintain proper levels.
  11. Monitor your bill. Keep an eye on your water bills and be aware if there seems to be a jump in the amount of usage that you can’t explain. This is frequently the way most homeowners recognize when a leak has occurred. You will save both money and water by staying on top of leaks.
  12. Every day. Do at least one thing every day to save water. By making a conscious effort to conserve water every day, you will be making a huge difference.

101 Ways to Use Less Gas

Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 9:57am by admin

Fuel costs are rising, summer is approaching with its typically higher gas prices, and there is no end in sight. Any way to save money by using less gas is a welcome relief. From using alternate transportation to changing how it works, the following suggestions will help you find a way to use less gas. While you may not be able to take advantage of all these great tips, there is sure to be enough to help you and your wallet.

Alternate Transportation

If you can lose the car altogether, that is the best way to use less gas. Even if you don’t sell your car outright, using it occasionally while relying on these suggestions most of the time will save you tons.

  1. Walk. Take advantage of the easiest and cheapest form of transportation–walking. If your destination is within a mile or two, you can easily walk the distance. Not only will you save gas, but you will be doing something healthy for your body, too.
  2. Take the bus. Grab a bus schedule and try taking the bus instead of jumping in your car for every trip. Some cities offer days with free bus rides when pollution is high, too.
  3. Park and Ride. Is the bus stop too far from your house? Many places offer park and ride options. Drive your car to a designated parking lot, then catch the bus from that location. You will significantly reduce the gas you use that way.
  4. Catch the Train. If your city has light rail or some type of commuter train, ride the train to your destination. Trains are an option for traveling as well. Check out the AMTRAK schedule and see if you can plan your next trip on the train.
  5. Ride a bike. Bicycles aren’t just for kids. Hop on your bike and get to your destination more quickly than walking. And just like walking, if you are going somewhere within a few miles, the bike makes a lot of sense. Here’s a few more reasons to ride your bike.
  6. Xtracycle. So you have kids and say you can’t ride a bike and transport them, too? Now you can with the Xtracycle. Think how much gas you’ll save using this baby. Also, check out this blog post from Clever Cycles that demonstrates more multi-folk bike riding.
  7. Drive a scooter. Scooters are all the rage right now. Trade in your car and buy a scooter outright. You’ll have no car payment and the scooters get up to 80 miles to the gallon.
  8. Motorcycle. Somewhere between a car and a scooter lies the motorcycle. You can’t beat the gas savings you will get with a motorcycle, plus you can enjoy the freedom of the open road.
  9. Rollerblade. Rather than walk, why not rollerblade to work? It’s much faster and still requires no gas. Read this to find out if rollerblading will work for you.
  10. Segway. Security guards and tour guides are showing up on Segways, so why not ride one to work? Find out how this blogger enjoyed his first try with a Segway.

Improve Your Car from the Inside

By making sure your car is running smoothly and in tip top shape, you will be using much less gas when you drive your car. Find out the most important elements to ensuring good gas mileage for your car.

  1. Check your air filter. Check your air filter to see if it needs to be changed. Consider upgrading to a better quality filter. Both of these suggestions will keep gas money in your pocket. Learn how to change your air filter yourself with this article.
  2. Change your fuel filter. Like your air filter, keeping your fuel filter clean will help improve your gas mileage. Check your car manual to find out how frequently you need to change it.
  3. Change your oil. Getting your oil changed regularly keeps your car in shape and reduces the amount of gas it uses. Change your oil every 5,000 miles unless you live in a hot climate, then every 3,000 miles.
  4. Check your oxygen sensor. If your "Check Engine" light is on, chances are it might be the oxygen sensor. If you need a new oxygen sensor, you can improve your fuel economy considerably by replacing it.
  5. Use correct grade motor oil. Take a look at your car’s owner’s manual to determine the correct grade motor oil for your car. Using the right grade will improve performance and save you gas. Learn more about selecting the proper grade and why.
  6. Use synthetic motor oil. By reducing engine friction, synthetic oil will improve your gas mileage. Again, check your car manual to ensure this is a safe alternative.
  7. Buy radial tires. Radial tires create less friction and are longer-lasting. Not only will you save on gas, but you won’t have to replace your tires as quickly either. Read this entertaining look back at how one car was modified to get better gas mileage in the 1970s. Check out #6 for radial tire information and how it can help you today.
  8. Change spark plugs. Ditch the old spark plugs and get your car set up with new ones to improve the performance of your car. You will save money on gas when your car runs better.
  9. Check fluid levels. Low fluid levels will prevent your car from running at its peak. Get fluids to the appropriate levels and you’ll see better gas mileage. Learn which fluid levels are important and how to check them.
  10. Add a fuel injector cleaner. Each time you change the oil in your car, add a fuel injector cleaner to ensure your fuel injection system is performing at its peak.
  11. Check for leaks. One great way to save money on gas is by keeping it in your tank. Make sure your gas isn’t leaking on to the road.
  12. Check radiator thermostat. If you drive an older car, make sure your radiator thermostat is working properly. If not, you are wasting gas.
  13. Improve Your Car from the Outside. How your car performs is just part of the picture. You can also follow these suggestions for your car above the hood to improve your fuel efficiency.
  14. Check your tire pressure. When your tires are inflated to the proper pressure, your car drives more efficiently. Check your tire pressure often and you’ll save gas.
  15. Take out the junk. Make sure you aren’t carrying around too much extra stuff in your car or in the trunk. 100 pounds of added weight in your car will significantly affect your gas mileage. This blog post explains how weight of the car affects mileage.
  16. Clear the roof. Carrying stuff on your roof such as roof racks or ladders causes drag which will use more gas. Take off anything you don’t need and you’ll save money.
  17. Tint your windows. Especially if you live in a hot climate, tinting your windows can reduce the amount of air conditioning you need to use, which improves gas mileage.
  18. Get aligned. Your tires, that is. Proper tire alignment reduces drag, which keeps your car running more efficiently.
  19. Get a bed cover. If you drive an older pick-up, consider installing a bed cover. It will improve your aerodynamics, thereby decreasing drag. Newer trucks usually already have the aerodynamics designed into the vehicle.
  20. Check your gas cap. A broken gas cap or one that is not screwed in tightly will allow for evaporation of gas. Make sure your cap is working properly.
  21. Install solar vents. To reduce air conditioner usage, consider installing solar-powered window fans that exchange the warm air in the car for cooler air outside the car.

At the Pump

How you fill up your car with gas can have a big impact on how much you save. Use these tips to help reduce how much you spend for gas.

  1. Get a gas credit card. Many gas companies offer gas credit cards that offer discounts on gas from their stations. Make sure their prices are reasonable before the discount, though.
  2. Get a rebate credit card. Some credit cards offer rebates on gas purchases. Use this handy chart to see how much you can save or read this helpful article to know how to choose the best card.
  3. Get a membership card. Some grocery or wholesale stores offer discounts on gas with a membership card like this one. Learn what’s available in your area.
  4. Pay with cash. Some gas stations will give you a discount for paying with cash. Check your local stations to see if this benefit is available.
  5. Fill up at the right time. Filling your tank in the early morning or late evening will ensure that you are putting more liquid gas and less vapor into your car. This way, you get the most gas for your money.
  6. Compare prices. When you are out, pay attention to prices. But don’t drive across town just to fill up for a few cents less. You’ll be driving your savings away.
  7. Choose appropriate octane fuel. Unless you have a luxury car, you can probably get by with the lowest octane fuel and save yourself considerably on the gas. If you can’t use the lowest, it will probably save you money in the long run with less repair problems from using the wrong gas. Read more about why this is so.
  8. Fill up mid-week. Gas prices are typically higher near the weekend, so fill up your tank mid-week to get the best prices. Supposedly Wednesday is typically the cheapest day to buy gas.
  9. Stay at a B&B. Book your reservations for specific Bed and Breakfast inns through BedandBreakfast.com’s free gas specials to get money back for your gas.
  10. Don’t top off. When the gas pump shuts off automatically, don’t try to add any more. The extra gas you try to put in the tank will probably not make it into the tank.
  11. Fill up at a quarter tank. Don’t wait until the gas gauge hits empty before you fill up. Filling up around a quarter tank is better for your fuel injection system, thus improving your gas mileage.

Find the Fuel Online

Whether you want alternate fuel or good, old-fashioned gas, use these online fuel finders to locate the best price in your neighborhood.

  1. AltFuelPrices.com. Search for biodiesel, ethanol, and many other alternative fuel sources by zip code. Click on each site to find the current price.
  2. FuelMeUp.com. Use this online search to find the best price in your area. Search by regular, midgrade, super, or diesel and get the prices for each.
  3. GasBuddy.com. Enter your zip code or city to find gas prices in your area with time and date of when the price is reported. You can also easily report a price on the same page.
  4. GasNearU.com. This online resource seems to pinpoint by zip code very efficiently and offers an easy-to-read spreadsheet with prices for each grade. They also include the highest, lowest, and average price.
  5. GasPriceWatch.com. Providing gas stations with pricing on a Google map, this site is easy to use. The gas price reportings are flagged if they are older than three days.
  6. Motor Trend.com. Search by zip code or state to find gas prices near you. No map is included on this site, so know your streets when using this one.
  7. MSN Autos. Find gas stations in your zip code located on an MSN map. Scroll down to find the corresponding prices.

Choose Your Fuel

You don’t have to rely on gasoline alone. Explore some of these opportunities for alternative fuels or learn to choose the best brand of gasoline.

  1. Ethanol. Primarily made from starch in corn grain, this alternative fuel source is added into petroleum-based fuels. Any car made after 1970 can safely use a 10% ethanol blend. Learn the latest about ethanol at Ethanol Blog.
  2. Biodiesel. For those with diesel engines, an alternative fuel might be biodiesel. Like ethanol, biodiesel comes from a plant source, this time soy bean oil. It is also mixed with petroleum-based fuels. Read about some of the benefits of driving with biodiesel fuel.
  3. Electric. Sure, you have to buy a whole car to take advantage of this fuel source, but what a great alternative to paying for gas. Find out ten great reasons to drive electric.
  4. Hybrid. Again, this requires a new car purchase to take advantage of the hybrid, but using a mix of gas and electricity will help save money on fuel expenses.
  5. Flex-fuel. Some vehicles are equipped to take flex-fuel, or ethanol mixed at a higher blend rate than 10%. Read this article to find out more about flex-fuel, where to buy it, and how to know if your car takes it.
  6. Choose the brand. Some brands of gas are more expensive and some are less expensive. Do your homework to determine why they are priced differently and if paying the extra will save you in the long run or not.

Drive Smart

Changing the way you drive can have one of the biggest impacts on your car’s gas mileage. Try these suggestions to help you to use less gas.

  1. Avoid idling. Turning your car off and back on again uses less gas than idling for 30 seconds in newer cars and one minute in older cars.
  2. Steady speed. Speeding up and slowing down abruptly uses more gas. Maintain a slower, steady speed and you will use less gas.
  3. Start slowly. Accelerating slowly uses less gas than putting the pedal to the metal. Leave the fast take-off for the race car drivers.
  4. Brake less. Don’t run into the car in front of you, but coasting more and braking less will use less gas.
  5. Keep your foot off the brake. Accidentally resting your foot on the brake while you drive not only creates a drag on your car that reduces gas mileage, it also shortens the life of your brakes.
  6. Use cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed will use less gas than driving at variable speeds. It might even encourage you to keep your speed at a slower rate, which is also better for your fuel economy.
  7. Turn off the A/C. Running the air conditioner uses considerably more gas. See if you can get by with the windows rolled down. This changes if you are doing highway driving, however. You will want to use the A/C to reduce the drag on your car that occurs with windows down at a faster rate of speed.
  8. Use overdrive. If your car has overdrive gears, use them when you are doing highway driving. This uses less gas.
  9. Drive 55. Highway driving over 55 mph significantly reduces the gas mileage of your vehicle. Driving slower not only saves money, but it’s safer too.
  10. Ride behind a large truck. On the highway, riding behind an 18-wheeler allows you to draft off the truck and use less of your gas. Just be careful you aren’t tailgating and be vigilant of the truck driver’s movements.
  11. No lights. Don’t use your headlights during the daytime. Turning off the lights puts less strain on the engine, which uses less gas.
  12. Don’t warm up. Avoid prolonged warm-up times and just start your car when you are ready to go. If it’s freezing outside, some experts suggest that allowing 30-45 seconds for warm-up is plenty.
  13. Shift low. If you drive a manual transmission, upshift at the lowest speed possible. This will use less gas than shifting when your RPMs are revved high.
  14. Turn off 4×4. If your car is equipped to turn off the four-wheel drive component, do so. Saving it for when you are off-road will save your gas.
  15. Don’t rev. Revving your engine just burns gas. Keep your foot off the accelerator unless you are accelerating smoothly or maintaining a constant speed.
  16. Take advantage of stoplights. Driving the speed limit through town will often ensure that you are taking advantage of the timing of traffic lights. Hitting all green lights means your speed stays constant and you use less gas.
  17. Don’t weave. Constantly changing lanes while weaving in and out of traffic will use more gas. Find a lane that is moving at a speed similar to yours and stay there.
  18. Stay focused. Leave the cell phone down and eat your burger somewhere else. While you are driving, stay aware of what is going on around you so that you can avoid fast breaking, sudden swerves, and variable speeds–all of which use more gas.

Plan Well

Think ahead to help prevent excessive gas usage. All of these tips will have you saving that precious fuel.

  1. Combine trips. Plan your errands so that you can make multiple stops in the same area and at the same time.
  2. Is it necessary? Think about the trip you are about to make in your car. If it isn’t something that has to be done, then skip it.
  3. Park it. Don’t drive around a parking lot looking for the closest parking space. Park and walk. Take advantage of the opportunity for some exercise.
  4. Park strategically. Parking in between multiple errands where you can walk from place to place will reduce the amount of driving you have to do.
  5. Park forward-facing. Using reverse uses more gas. Park so that you can start your car and leave facing forward.
  6. Choose your route carefully. Don’t go through the most traffic or you will spend your time and gas idling. Plan ahead and take the road less traveled.
  7. Avoid rough roads. Gravel or unpaved roads are harder on your car and require more gas to maneuver. Find another way to get there, if possible.
  8. Park in the shade. Gas will evaporate from your tank at a much quicker rate when it is in the direct sun. Park in the shade and keep more of your gas in the tank.
  9. Invest in a GPS. With a GPS, you will know exactly how to get where you are going. This saves all the gas you would have spent driving around trying to find your way.
  10. Use maps. If you can’t afford a GPS, rely on one of the many online maps or city maps available. Know where you are going before you get lost.
  11. No drive-thru. Park your car and walk into the restaurant rather than sitting in the drive-thru line. The idling or constant starting and stopping waste more gas than just parking.
  12. Choose your car. If you have two cars, use the one that gets better gas mileage whenever possible.
  13. Vacation smart. Plan vacations around non-peak times (like the middle of summer) and avoid holidays. Not only are gas prices higher, but with more cars on the road, you’re more likely to get stuck in traffic.
  14. Track gas mileage. Monitoring your gas mileage on a regular basis will allow you to watch for changes which could indicate a problem with your car. Being aware and fixing the problem early will help with how much gas you use.
  15. Grocery shop wisely. If you have to drive to the grocery store, limit your trips to once a week. If your store is within walking or biking distance, make several small trips throughout the week so that you can transport your groceries in small batches.
  16. Bargain shop from home. Use the telephone or computer to find the best deal instead of driving all over town. You’ll save money from the gas you save as well as the bargain you found.
  17. Shop mail order. Do your shopping from home. That way you don’t have to spend money for gas and can have your goodies delivered to your door.

The Commute

Going to and from work is usually where most Americans use the bulk of their gas. Find ways to reduce your commute time or eliminate the number of commuters on the road.

  1. Carpool. Sharing the commute to work eliminates the number of cars on the roads and cuts the cost of fuel by the number of people in the car.
  2. Rideshare. Don’t have anyone with whom to carpool or are you traveling across country and looking for someone to share the ride? Try ERideShare.com or CarPoolConnect.com for free connections.
  3. Telecommute. If your boss will work with you, see if you can work from home any or every day of the week. Even eliminating just one day a week will save you gas money.
  4. Use flextime. If telecommuting isn’t an option where you work, try to use flextime. By allowing employees to arrive and leave at flexible times, rush hour traffic can be avoided.
  5. Car share. If you don’t want to own a car, but don’t want to be completely without one either, try car sharing. Simply reserve a car for a specific time period, arrive at the parking lot where the car is located, drive until your reservation time is complete, and return the car at the spot where you picked it up. Zipcar offers the convenience of a slide car that all members receive that unlocks each of their cars.
  6. Commuter vans. Similar to carpooling, many public transportation systems offer a van pool. A group of people going to the same location drive a commuter van together. Each city’s policies on cost and where the van stays may vary.
  7. Go to the gym. Or go someplace nearby your work when you finish for the day. That way you can do something positive for yourself while you let rush hour traffic die down. Who knew going to the gym could save you money?
  8. Move. This may only apply if you are in the market for a new house or you rent, but move closer to work so you are more easily able to take advantage of walking or one of the other alternate transportation methods.
  9. Take the 2 Mile Challenge. Based on the fact that 40% of urban travel is within two miles, Clif Bar has proposed the 2 Mile Challenge as a way to get people on their bikes for those two short miles. Take the challenge and use less gas.
  10. Work compressed work weeks. Work fewer days with longer hours to do less driving. You will also likely miss rush hour traffic this way.
  11. Buy a new car. If you’re driving an old gas guzzler, payments on a newer, more fuel-efficient car may cost less than the money you are spending on gas each month–especially if your car is already paid off.

And Finally…

  1. Use a combination. To really make the most impact on your gas savings, use a combination of several of these options. Just relying on one or two will not give you the best return for your money. Implement as many of these suggestions as you can into your regular routine, and you will see a big difference in that fuel bill every month.

Morning Rituals: 50 Great Ways to Jumpstart Your Day

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 6:31am by admin

What you do in the morning sets the tone for your entire day. Making positive choices for your morning routine promises to make whatever comes your way easier to manage. Follow the suggestions below to get a great start on your morning for both your body and your mind.

Food and Drink

Starting the day with something in your body is likely the most important way to jumpstart your day. Whether it’s a nutritious breakfast, vitamins, or a simple glass of water, you will find several ideas for how to get your morning going.

  1. Water. First thing as soon as you get out of bed, drink a glass of water. Not only will you jumpstart your hydration for the day, but the water will serve to help clear the cobwebs in your mind.
  2. Eat breakfast. As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Starting the day with breakfast doesn’t have to be a major production and will get your day off to a great start. Find out exactly why eating breakfast is so important in this article.
  3. Make breakfast easy. Breakfast doesn’t have to be difficult. Grab a bagel or a yogurt and add a piece of fruit to have a quick and easy breakfast. This blog post offers some great ideas for an easy breakfast.
  4. Coffee. You can always try the old stand-by of a cup of coffee to get you going in the morning. Treat yourself to an automatic coffee maker so when your alarm goes off, you have a cuppa joe ready to go. Take advantage of generous Green Mountain coffee coupons to save some green, or if you enjoy the coffee from your favorite coffee shop, then motivate yourself to get out of the house sooner with the promise of someone else making that perfect cup.
  5. Tea. For those who don’t drink coffee, how about a cup of tea? It is super easy to make, and the selection is almost limitless. Tea is a great source of antioxidants and you can get it with caffeine or caffeine-free. Read here to find out more about the health benefits of tea.
  6. Fruit smoothie. Grab your blender, some milk or yogurt, and whatever fruit you have on hand (use fresh or frozen). Smoothies are delicious, easy to make, full of nutrition, and sure to get your day going. Try this peanut butter and banana smoothie for some extra protein in the morning.
  7. Protein powder. Add some whey protein powder (or soy protein powder if you don’t eat dairy) to your fruit smoothie, and you’ll really add a spring to your step in the morning. Learn about the benefits of whey protein powder here.
  8. Vitamin B complex. B vitamins give you energy and help memory and thinking. Take a good quality vitamin B complex supplement each morning to ensure you get the proper balance of your B vitamins. Another easy way to get your Bs is to drink them from a supplement like Emergen-C. The packets come in many different flavors and mix into water for a fast gulp of both B and C vitamins as well as other minerals and electrolytes.
  9. Have a green drink. Green drinks are all the rage in health circles. Imagine a smoothie with vegetables instead of fruit and no dairy. You can make your own like this one, or use a prepackaged version like this.
  10. Green tea bags. Instead of ingesting this drink, put some green tea bags on your eyes. Steep the tea, then cool the tea bags off in the freezer. Place the cool bags on your eyes for a reduction in puffiness. As an added bonus, you can drink the green tea while you wait for the tea bags to cool.

Exercise

Getting out of bed and getting your body moving is a great way to ensure you don’t go back to sleep and that you get the morning started with gusto. Fitting exercise in first thing in the morning also means you don’t have to worry about doing it later in the day after so many other tasks pile up and your energy begins to wane. It also gets your metabolism going early in the day.

  1. Yoga. Yoga is a calming, yet energizing way to get your body and your mind going in the morning. You don’t even have to go to a studio to do some basic yoga positions. Watch this video to learn how to do a sun salutation series, or read about how to do sun salutations at this site (the animated stick figure is actually quite helpful to learning how to do the moves).
  2. Run. Roll out of bed and into your running clothes. Get in a short run before starting your day and you will have not only awakened yourself, but have done your exercise for the day as well.
  3. Walk. If running isn’t your thing or you just need to give your body a rest, walking is both an excellent form of exercise and will get your day off to a great start.
  4. Stretch. It can be as simple as bending down to touch your toes or as elaborate as a workout routine, but stretching will get your blood flowing and keep you from crawling back to bed. Try these easy stretches to get your morning going.
  5. Jump rope. Jumping rope isn’t just for kids. This exercise is easy to do at home, doesn’t cost a lot, and gets your heart pumping right away. Why You Should Jump Rope not only answers why, but offers four different techniques and a video demonstrating some techniques.
  6. Swim. Whether you have access to a swimming pool or a natural body of water, taking an early morning dip will get your blood flowing and stimulate your appetite for that healthy breakfast. Swimming is an excellent workout for your body and offers some quiet time for your mind.
  7. Tai Chi. In many Asian countries, it is not unusual to see people outside early in the morning practicing their Tai Chi. Learn more about the benefits from this graceful, low-impact exercise in this article.
  8. Bicycle. Jump on your bike, whether it’s stationary or the traditional kind that can take you places. Cycling is good for your heart and will get you going in the morning. If you are lucky enough to ride outside, the fresh morning air will help get you going too.
  9. Push-ups. While these may bring visions of boot camp or memories of that crazed PE teacher you had in school, push-ups are a great way to get your morning started and require no extra cost or equipment. Here is one way to do those push-ups to get your blood flowing in the morning.
  10. Dance. Fulfill your childhood dream of being a ballerina or just get down with your funky self and make up your own dance steps to your favorite music. Dance is a fun form of exercise that you can do in the privacy of your own home. If you don’t know how to dance, get some tips online. You can also rent or buy a DVD to help you learn.

Evening Routine

Getting things done in the evening or before bed will save you much time in the morning. Not only will your head be clearer, but it will save you from having to do lots of small tasks when you have little time.

  1. Lay out clothes. Get your clothes ready for tomorrow by selecting and laying them out. This will save you time in the morning when you might not be as alert for making decisions or when you realize that shirt needed to be ironed.
  2. Pack lunches. Prepare lunches for yourself and, if you have kids, for your children. An easy way to streamline lunch-packing is to use a system like the Japanese bento box or Laptop Lunches.
  3. Pick up clutter. Clean up the shoes, dirty clothes, and various other stuff that gets left around the house so that you wake up to a clean house and don’t have to go searching for that second shoe. Follow these tips to declutter you house in just 15 minutes every day.
  4. Wash dishes. After a satisfying dinner, the last thing you probably want to do is clean up the kitchen. However, taking care of this task in the evening will have your kitchen clean and ready for you to start breakfast the next morning.
  5. Prepare dinner. Not the dinner you just ate, but get everything ready for tomorrow’s dinner. If you like crock pot cooking, get everything assembled in the evening, add it all to the crock pot in the morning, then you have dinner ready for you when you arrive home. Even without a crock pot, you can get veggies chopped and ingredients assembled so that dinner is ready for the making the next day.
  6. To-do list. Write down reminders of what you need to do the next day. In the morning, you won’t need to search your sleep-addled brain for the tasks ahead of you.
  7. Shower. If you don’t rely on your shower as a method of waking up, why not take it at night? Not having to shower in the morning will give you a good extra half hour for your morning routine.
  8. Check email. Don’t leave this task for the morning when you have so many other things to do to get ready for your day. Take care of your email business, then walk away from your computer so you won’t be tempted to take time away from the rest of your evening routine.
  9. Be ready to go. Put what you’ll need the next morning by the door so that you don’t have to go looking for your stuff. Keep bags, keys, backpacks, and whatever else you need to take with you ready to go.

Sleep and Waking

How you go to bed at night and get up in the morning will certainly affect how you begin your day. Follow these tips for getting a good night’s rest and waking up ready to greet the day.

  1. Go to bed. Of course you are going to go to bed, but make sure you do it before you feel exhausted. Pushing yourself to stay up for the news or the end of a TV show means you are probably cheating yourself out of your much-needed sleep. Make your bed more inviting and perzonalized with this Domestications coupon code
  2. Get a good night’s rest. After a good sleep, you will feel much more energized and ready to start your day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, leave your worries behind you, and sip some chamomile tea. Here are more tips for how to ensure a great sleep.
  3. Wake up earlier. Give yourself just 30 extra minutes in the morning and you will be amazed at how much more you can accomplish before starting your day. Many people snooze for at least this long, so just try getting out of bed instead.
  4. Don’t snooze. You certainly wouldn’t want to purposely give yourself a poor night’s sleep, so why do you hit the snooze button in the morning? Snoozing guarantees that you will not be getting quality sleep during those last few minutes or hours of the morning. Make a change for a better start to your morning and skip the snooze.
  5. Get a pleasant alarm. A jarring alarm might wake you up, but so does an air horn blast to the ear or a douse of icy water. Instead of waking up startled, try an alarm that wakes you up gently such as the Zen alarm clock. You may be surprised at how well it works to get you up in the morning–and it’s definitely a more calm way to do so.
  6. Get an alarm that won’t let you sleep. Another great idea when it comes to alarms is using one that won’t let you sleep such as this light-producing alarm or these fun alarms from Japan. If you don’t want to shell out the money for a special alarm, try setting your radio alarm to talk radio.
  7. Move the alarm. Don’t put your alarm next to your bed. In fact, put it as far away from your bed as you can. When your alarm goes off, you will have to get out of bed to turn it off, thereby making it easier for you to stay out of bed.
  8. Sleep routine. Stick to a routine with consistent bed time and wake-up times. Consistently sleeping at the same time every night provides you with a better chance for a good night’s sleep. You may even discover that you begin waking up at the same time every morning without an alarm clock.
  9. Just sleep enough. The range of sleep a person needs is highly individualized. Some people get by just fine with six hours a night while others need closer to nine. Find out how much sleep you really need. Give yourself a week to try this experiment, then once you know, set your sleep routine around the correct number of hours you need.
  10. Get a dog. Any dog owner can tell you that there’s not much sleeping late in the mornings when you have a dog. As a puppy, they need to be taken outside immediately for potty time. As they get older, the routine of doggie breakfast and potty will become so ingrained that they will wake you up mercilessly with kisses or whines if you try to stay in bed for that extra sleep.

Wake Up Your Mind

Getting your body out of bed is half the battle. Waking up your mind so that you are focused and ready for your day is one of the best ways to jumpstart your day. Take these suggestions for ways to get your brain awake in the morning.

  1. Shower. Take a refreshing shower first thing in the morning. Keeping the temperature moderate will get your blood flowing and wake up your mind. Learn how finishing your shower off with cold water benefits your health and well-being.
  2. Write your goals. Take a few minutes to think about what you want to accomplish that day and write a list of your tasks or goals. These can be as simple as errands you need to run or a part of a larger life goal toward which you are working.
  3. Read the newspaper. Take a few minutes to catch up on current events and wake up your mind. Some people enjoy opening the newspaper and scanning the news while they sip on a cup of coffee. Finish it off with the crossword puzzle and you’ll really have your brain working.
  4. Get the news online. Another great way to keep updated is find your favorite online news source. If you are short on time in the morning, receiving a daily email with the news headlines gives you a brief, ready-made update. Many online sources offer an email option and will let you tailor which type of news headlines you receive.
  5. Slow down. Start the morning slowly. Frantically rushing around to get everything done in time to leave the house not only starts your day off on an anxious note, it doesn’t give your mind time to wake up.
  6. Read a book. In busy lives, it can be difficult to find time for quiet recreation. Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to read a book or magazine each morning. You’ll start the day having already rewarded yourself.
  7. Meditate. Take advantage of the peaceful quiet the morning can bring. Set aside a few minutes for quiet meditation. This can be as simple as sitting peacefully and becoming aware of your breathing and how your body feels. Read this blog post for how to dismiss distractions while you are learning to meditate.
  8. Turn on the lights. Not just in the bedroom, but all over the house. Get out of bed and start turning on lights in every room. The extra light will trigger your natural circadian rhythm and help get your mind going.
  9. Listen to a podcast. With so many free podcasts available, you can certainly find one that piques your interest. Whether you subscribe to a daily or weekly podcast, take advantage of the time while you are eating breakfast or getting dressed to listen to something on your favorite topic.
  10. Journal. Whether you write your thoughts, dabble with poetry or haiku, or draw a picture, take a few minutes to document your thoughts. If you are more tech savvy or like to keep connected with remote friends and family, consider starting a blog. You can spend a few minutes in the morning typing your thoughts or updates on your life and sharing with those you know and love (and even a few people you don’t know).
  11. Thank the universe. No matter how you thank the universe, be it through prayer or simply acknowledging the beauty of the sunrise, take a moment to be appreciative for the day ahead of you. Realizing that each day is a gift is a powerful way to jumpstart your day.

Eco-Gifts: 100 Great Web Sites to Browse & Buy Green Products

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 10:44am by admin

Depending on where you live, shopping for eco-friendly items may be difficult. Residents in larger cities may find it’s too time consuming or tricky to track down special farmer’s markets, and those living in small towns don’t always have the same access to chic, environmentally friendly fashions that cities like San Francisco or New York offer. Internet shopping has been a popular way to find gifts and necessities for a while, and finding eco-friendly items online is getting even easier. Below is our list of 100 sites to find everything from organic baby food to rechargeable batteries to hybrid cars to organic vodka.

Fashion Finds Dressing eco-friendly no longer means wearing dowdy or rough hemp skirts and tunics. Look to these websites for beautiful clothing items, shoes and accessories, all with an eco conscience.

  1. Beklina: Beklina is "a green boutique" that specializes in organic, sustainable, hemp, green and ethical clothing items and accessories. You’ll find a variety of fun going-out tops in bright colors, as well as neutral designs.
  2. Greenloop: Shop for men’s and women’s clothing, as well as shoes, accessories and tote bags. Featured designers include Loomstate, Moonrise Jewelry, Tees for Change and more. Greenloop also offers special discounts, coupons and the opportunity to donate to the Project Green environmental awareness group.
  3. Coco’s Shoppe: The eco boutique at Coco’s Shoppe has been featured in Lucky magazine and sells fun, adorable clothing, underwear, bags, and beauty items.
  4. PlanetShoes.com: This site sells vegan shoes, and other animal-friendly and earth-friendly bags, slippers and shoes for women, men and kids.
  5. BTC Elements: This site has clothing and accessories, as well as home items. Women will find tops, chic dresses, beautiful coats and even swimsuits. Men’s shirts are also sold here.
  6. Patagonia: Patagonia’s dedication to the environment has helped launch several projects and campaigns besides producing eco-conscious outdoor clothing items and travel gear. Or, for the sports fan that prefers to sit on the sidelines, make use of these Football Fanatics and Fansedge coupon codes.
  7. Fair Indigo: Find Fair Trade and organic clothing and accessories here.
  8. Modify: You have two green choices at Modify: you can either shop ecofashion or shop vintage and feel good about supporting recyclable fashion. Modify also sells home decor and beauty items.
  9. Earth & Wear: Search funky UK fashions like brightly colored hemp hi tops and wallets and organic t-shirts at Earth & Wear.
  10. Green With Glamour: Read about green designers and meet celebs and featured guests who wear ecofriendly fashion while you shop for super stylish clothing items, home gifts and more.

Beauty Products Shop for organic and natural beauty products, sunscreen, makeup and more from these sites, where companies like Aveda use natural resources to power their facilities.

  1. Beauty Gone Green: This site sells makeup, skin care items, aromatherapy and other beauty products from brands like Skinceuticals and Glominerals.
  2. Green Spa Network: This site provides links and resources about "greening and sustainability for the spa community." You can also "shop" for green spas near you.
  3. Aveda: Aveda uses wind energy to offset 100% of the electricity used at their Minnesota-based plant, and the company has a long tradition of using environmentally friendly ingredients.
  4. Drugstore.com: Drugstore.com features an entire shop for green and natural beauty products and personal care products.
  5. Juice Beauty: Juice Beauty,"the organic solution," makes all of its lip care, facial cleansers, sunscreens, and other items with certified organic ingredients.
  6. Burt’s Bees: Burt’s Bees is more than just chapstick. Shop online for natural personal care items like anti-aging products, hair care items, sunscreen and baby items.
  7. Weleda: The beauty and skin care line Weleda holds as its motto "in harmony with nature and the human being." Weleda uses ingredients that are free of synthetic preservatives and come from organic and biodynamic sources.
  8. Nude: The Nude natural skin care line includes products like age defense moisturizers, facial cleansers and travel items. All items are packaged in recyclable materials.
  9. Village Green Market: This online store features brands like John Masters Organics, the River Soap Company, Tom’s of MAIne, Citrus Magic, Ecco Bella and other brands that produce "fine natural, organic, and environmentally preferable goods for you and your home."

Baby Items Start your tot off early by wrapping him or her in chlorine-free diapers, buying organic baby foods and more. Use this Organic Style coupon to find green baby gifts that won’t break the bank.

  1. KaiKids: Shop for bottles, pacifiers, bamboo fork and spoon sets, nursing pads, bibs, and other baby items that are made with non-toxic, organic or natural ingredients.
  2. Seventh Generation: Shop for baby laundry detergent, chlorine-free training pants and chlorine-free baby wipes here.
  3. Nature Boy and Girl: This company sells disposable diapers made of a corn-based material.
  4. TenderCare Plus diapers: These diapers are made with unbleached materials from a sustainable, renewable Scandinavian forest.
  5. Earth’s Best Organic baby foods: This company offers "the first complete line of organic food for infants." You’ll find organic infant formula as well as snacks, dinners and baby body care products.
  6. Terra Tees: Onesies and children’s t-shirts are made in the U.S.A. from 100% certified organic cotton. They are also sent in recycled packaging.
  7. Baby Nut: Baby Nut sells organic baby clothes and natural products for babies and pregnant moms. The site also features an astrology section, special coupons, toys, and more.
  8. Lola Babiez: This "eco-chic baby and nursing boutique" sells bottles, onesies, teethers, eco-friendly diapers and a lot more.
  9. TaraLuna: TaraLuna sells organic and Fair Trade items, including child’s furniture and baby clothes.
  10. Hazel Wood: Shop linens and bedding, toys, gifts and more for babies and children 0-6 years of age.
  11. Mother Earth Nursery Designs: From baby carriers to burp cloths to shower gifts, this website sells natural and organic items for pregnant moms and babies.
  12. Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics: Find gifts, personal care items and breastfeeding products at this organic site.

Toys and Gifts These websites offer eco-friendly gift solutions for all kinds of kids and sports fans.

  1. Green Toys: This company website explains how their green toys help the environment, conserve energy and are made in and tested by U.S.A. facilities. Shop for tea sets, sand play sets and more.
  2. Fat Brain Toys: Search for bamboo, organic, recycled and alternative-energy powered toys here.
  3. Maple Landmark Woodcraft: Shop American-made wooden toys, gifts, ornaments and other products here.
  4. Toxin Free Toys: Shop for natural and lead-free toys like bikes, baby bottles and more. The site also features a shopping guide to help you pick out toxin free toys in the store.
  5. Fair Trade Sports: Fair Trade Sports sells sports jerseys, soccer balls, rugby balls, frisbees and other sports items that adhere to Fair Trade regulations.
  6. Global Exchange Online Store: The items sold here are Fair Trade approved and range from bath and beauty gifts to Father’s Day presents to jewelry to books and movies to coffee and more.
  7. Kate’s Caring Gifts: On this website, you’ll find gifts for the home, natural body care products, organic chocolates, natural pet care items, and more.
  8. Northwest Nature Shop: Find educational toys, engineering sets, science kits, and games at this site, which donates 20% of sales to environmental and educational programs.

Food Who says you have to go to the grocery store or farmer’s market to find yummy organic and natural food products? Find seeds, fruits, trail mix, Green Mountain coffee coupons chocolate and other food products at these online stores.

  1. Organic Kingdom: Food categories at this online store include snacks and treats, beans and grains, breads and cereals, pastas and noodles, personal care items, and more. There is also information about why eating organic is a smart choice.
  2. Rock Creek Organics: Shop for organic nuts, flour and spreadables here.
  3. True Foods Market: This online health foods grocery store sells lots of organic products too. You’ll also find recipe ideas and tips for eating right.
  4. Organic Food Store Locator: Find an organic food store near your city by using this map.
  5. Tengu Natural Foods: Shop for frozen food, herbal teas, natural sweeteners, pasta, soups, cereal, and Fair Trade coffee and tea at the Tengu Natural Foods store online.
  6. The Natural Grocery Store: This UK-based online store sells Whole Earth products, spices and seasonings, canned fruit and vegetables, meats and meat alternatives, desserts and more.
  7. Local Harvest: The Local Harvest community lets shoppers around the world order seeds, fruits, garden vegetables, dairy products, flowers, and other items from family farms.
  8. Santos Natural Food Store: Find organic and natural food products from around the world, like coffee from South Australia.
  9. Sun Ridge Farms: This award winning company sells organic trail mix, orzo, nuts and seeds, organic raisins and more.

Beverages Treat yourself to organic wine or vodka after browsing for more natural beverage products here.

  1. Klean Kanteen: It’s up to you what you put inside these stainless steel canteens, but the bottle is more environmentally friendly than plastic.
  2. Tru Organic Vodka: Browse the vodkas made from American wheat and packaged in eco-friendly bottles at this website.
  3. The Organic Wine Company: Learn all about organic wines, join the wine club and shop for organic wines at this site.
  4. Square One Organic Vodka: Square One is another company that manufactures organic vodka.

Household Items From pillows to home decor to furniture to laundry bags, you’ll find all kinds of attractive and practical environmentally-friendly home goods in this list.

  1. Vivavi: Shop Vivavi for unique eco-friendly furniture, storage and shelving, lighting, and even pet items.
  2. Design Public: Design Public is a popular eco-friendly brand that sells furniture, wall art, pillows, items for babies, college dorm accessories, home office designs and more.
  3. Pacifica: Pacifica’s soy aromatherapy candles "are the cleanest burning soy candles available," according to the company’s website.
  4. Seventh Generation: Seventh Generation’s line of Free & Clear home cleaners are free of fragrances and dyes.
  5. Keetsa Shop: Keetsa is a company that supports sustainability and produces home items like mattresses and pillows from recycled materials.
  6. Natural Collection: Besides clothing and office supplies, the Natural Collection sells cleaning products and eco home items like laundry bags, art work and more.
  7. Abundant Earth: From composters to furniture to clocks to air purifiers, Abundant Earth sells all kinds of neat household items and contributes to environmental groups and causes.
  8. Ethical Superstore: Cleaning and Household: Find eco-friendly cleaning products and laundry items here.
  9. It Must Be Green: Shop for unique energy saving items here, like a green log maker, a can crusher and an eco-friendly air purifier.
  10. Recycle Store: Household: All of the items sold here have been recycled. Products include furniture, picture frames, storage containers and dishes.

Cars/Automotive Supplies Search for hybrid cars and other alternative vehicles on these websites.

  1. Green Car Depot: This website lets you search by hybrid, propane, biodiesel/diesel, commercial and fleet, ethanol, hydrogen and other green types.
  2. HybridCars.com: Learn about industry news and trends, and browse hybrid SUVs, vans, sedans and other vehicles.
  3. SoulTek.com: This site is all about hybrids, and you can find buying information and pictures of all types of hybrid vehicles.
  4. ECAR Center: This company "is a ‘one-stop shop’ for all automotive dismantling and recycling operations and provides comprehensive and up-to-date environmental compliance assistance" for visitors.

Appliances Appliances like tankless water heaters and solar powered phone chargers will save you money on electricity bills and are good for the environment.

  1. Global Towne Tankless Water Heaters: Tankless water heaters like this one can reward buyers with up to 50% in energy savings.
  2. Lowe’s Energy Star Appliance: This guide helps buyers find Energy Star appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines.
  3. The Alternative Energy Store: Find hydropower, solar power, solar heating and other alternative energy-powered appliances and products here.
  4. The Solar Power Store: Shop for solar powered cell phone charges, solar panels and more from this online store.

Tech Stuff From batteries to radios to computers, find recycled and eco-friendly tech stuff here.

  1. Clean Air Shop: This blog sponsors a shop for energy efficient lighting products, solar ovens, thermostats, electricity meters, batteries and other tools that will help you save money and the environment.
  2. RE-PC Online Store: This online store works through ebay, and you can search for recycled game cartridges, cables, input devices, laptops and more.
  3. Green cell phone carriers: This About.com article lists several cell phone carriers that make donations to environmental groups, offer tree-free billing and use environmentally-friendly wrapping.
  4. HYmini: This portable wind-powered tool charges your iPod, cell phones, digital cameras and mp3 players.
  5. GreenBatteries.com: Turn to this site when you’re looking for rechargeable, reusable batteries and battery chargers.
  6. Wind Up phone charger: This manual tool is lightweight and doesn’t require electricity.
  7. GreenPrint: Shop for eco-conscious software here and find different versions of a product that eliminates paper wasting when you print.
  8. BuildingGreen.com: This sustainable building and design group also features a product listings page where you can shop for windows, decking, lighting, electrical materials, HVAC systems and other green materials.

Gardening and Outdoor Weed out your supply of toxic pesticides and fertilizers and turn to these organic gardening goods and supply stores for a more natural approach to gardening and outdoor recreation. Save some money on your green thumb with this Jackson & Perkins coupon code

  1. Recycle Store: Garden and Yard: The California Integrated Waste Management Board’s Recycle Store sells recycled bird houses, BBQ systems, garden chairs and other outdoor items.
  2. Real Goods: Find showerheads, bedding, composting systems, aeromatic ovens, camping supplies and other products from this solar living site.
  3. Extremely Green: This fun site specializes in organic gardening supplies like fertilizers, fungicides, grass seed and pruners, but you’ll also find gardening books and unique pest control solutions.
  4. GTC Hydroponics: This site shows visitors how to master container gardening the organic way. You can also shop for fertilizers, soil and more.
  5. Eco-Gardening.com: Find sleek gardening and yard products at this site, including arbors and trellises, outdoor furniture, grills, garden lighting and composters.
  6. The Urban Garden: The recycled and eco-friendly garden shop at The Urban Garden sells gardening supplies, composters, decking, window boxes and more.
  7. The Organic Gardening Catalogue: This website sells everything an organic gardener needs, from seeds to weed killers to soil and plant care to books about organic gardening.
  8. Planet Natural: This company has been selling earth friendly gardening items like seeds, soil test kits, pest control systems, fertilizer and compost bins since 1991.
  9. Greta’s Organic Gardens: Greta’s Organic Gardens is located in Gloucester, Ontario, and visitors to the site can shop for organic seeds, vegetables and plants like corn, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, grains and more.
  10. Clean Air Gardening: Use this site to shop for "environmentally friendly lawn and garden supplies," including pest control, garden gnomes, electric mowers, oxygenating watering cans and a lot more. You can search by category or by price range.

Miscellaneous The websites in this list sell all sorts of green gifts in one spot, making it easy to shop for eco-conscious promotional materials, office supplies, furniture, jewelry, pet items and more.

  1. GreenandMore.com: This website sells all kinds of eco-friendly products, from vacuum cleaners to kitchen supplies to battery chargers to baby items.
  2. Resource Revival: Materials from recycled bicycles are turned into promotional items and gifts on this website.
  3. BuyGreen.com: This fun-to-use website lets you shop in three main categories: Consumer, Commercial, and Gifts. Within those categories, browse products for your family, home decorating, leisure, office supplies, building materials and more.
  4. Green Gift Guide: Shop for jewelry, pet items, garden and outdoor supplies, business gifts, toys, furniture and more on this website which finds the best green gifts on the web.
  5. Buying Green Power: The U.S. Department of Energy helps Americans find out if they can buy green power in their state with this helpful tool.
  6. Co-op America: This page lists twelve things you should always buy green and directs you to places where you can find items like appliances, showerheads, coffee, clothes and more that are eco-friendly.
  7. Green People: Green People claims to be the "world’s largest directory of eco-friendly and holistic health products." Search for pet supplies, beauty products, home and garden items and more.
  8. Terra Pass Green Store: Terra Pass urges everyone to "restore the balance." The Green store sells toys, energy saving products, chargers and other items. You can also use the site to calculate your footprint and learn about environmental projects.
  9. Buy Green Guides: TreeHugger’s guides show you where to buy furniture, bikes, jeans, shoes and other products.
  10. The Green Guide: The Green Guide appears on the National Geographic website and directs visitors to sites for buying green accessories, clothing, food and drinks, electronics, home items, bedding, personal care items and much more.

100 Ways to Scale Down Your Life

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 8:13am by admin

In an ideal world, you’d be able to balance work, family, friends, personal time, fitness and everything else in your life without ever breaking a sweat. In reality, sleeping with your Blackberry, trying to put on makeup in the car and never quite getting enough sleep is more of the norm. What you may not realize is that it truly doesn’t have to be. Even if your life feels like it doesn’t have any place where things can give, the reality is that if you want to maintain your health and not die young from stress-related illnesses, there has to be. Here are a few ways you can start scaling down your life, to give you more time to spend with family or doing all the things you love but don’t have time for. General Get some general tips on cutting back on things in your life with these helpful pointers.

  1. Identify what’s really important to you. Chances are good that there are things in your life that you’re committed to or involved in that you really don’t have a true attachment or investment in doing. Evaluate your priorities and determine what things can fall by the wayside and what things you want to bring to the forefront in your life.
  2. Appreciate simple things. It’s easy to get caught up in all the complications in your life, sometimes so much so that you forget to take time, slow down and appreciate all the little things that make your life great. Whether it’s finding a close parking spot or discovering a new favorite restaurant, make sure your life is designed to allow you to appreciate every good thing that comes your way, not just the big stuff.
  3. Do what you love. Whether you choose to apply this to what you do for a living or just what you do on the weekend, it’s a key element to simplifying and paring down your life. By putting the focus on doing things that you love instead of drudging through things you hate, you’ll enjoy life more, be happier and much less stressed. Do your best to think of creative ways to make even the most painful tasks more bearable by integrating elements of things you love into them.
  4. Make your time count. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to simplify your life and to have more time to spend doing things you want to do is to make the time you spend on anything, whether it’s with the kids or at work, count. If you’re present, concentrating on your tasks and getting the most out of the situation you’ll be able to finish more quickly or enjoy what you’re doing more fully.
  5. Learn what’s enough. If you’re constantly in a quest for perfection you’re likely putting in more work, effort, time and important parts of your life into things that really could get by with less. Figure out what is good enough to get the job done but doesn’t leave you up all night, pulling out your hair and stressing over it.
  6. Live deliberately. Once you realize that no one is in charge of your life except for you, then you’re ready to get the most out of every situation that’s presented to you. Make choices that help you find the greatest amount of happiness and that eliminate all the things that don’t really matter to you so you’ll have more time for the things that do.
  7. Create routines. If you find getting ready in the morning is an uphill battle, you can help to streamline and scale back your life by creating routines. These will save you time, help reduce stress, and won’t leave you running around trying to get things together at the last minute.
  8. Make time to do nothing at all. For many workaholics, sitting around doing nothing can be a hard thing to accomplish. But if you want to scale back, it can be just the thing to get you started. Time to rest and relax is important so don’t let the tasks in your life eat into it.
  9. Turn off the TV. Studies have shown that most homes have more TV than people and that families spend hours upon hours watching television each day. While watching TV is fine, it also can eat into time that could be better spent talking, playing games or going for a walk with your family. Get the most out the time your family spends at home together by turning off the TV, even if it’s only for a few nights a week.
  10. Slow down. Most people spend a good part of their day and their lives rushing from one place to another, trying to cram in as much as possible in one day. Besides not being healthy, this isn’t really fun either. Scale back by making sure your day includes a little bit of time to slow down, relax and simply be you.
  11. Get rid of time wasters. The Internet is a great place to get all kinds of things done quickly and easily, but it’s also full of millions of great distractions. This, along with the dozens of other distractions that tempt us each day, can make getting the stuff we actually need to get done impossible. Try getting rid of a few of these time wasters. You’ll get more done, and feel much less stressed.
  12. Stay organized. Want to scale down your life? Take the first step and get yourself organized. By knowing where things are and having a place for things at home and work you’ll save time, effort and stress and make it easier to figure out what’s important and what can get pushed aside.
  13. Take control. You can’t scale back if you let others make decisions about your life, so step up and take control of everything that’s going on. When you’re the boss you’ll be able to figure out what really matters and cut out what doesn’t.
  14. Ask for help if you need it. You don’t have to go through life trying to do everything on your own. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be too proud to ask for help. It can be a great way to get things under control without stretching yourself too thin.
  15. Prioritize. Figuring out what is most important to you in your life is a big part of how you can pare things down. Spend more time doing the things that matter most, then let the rest get done if you have time. Don’t spend hours on tasks that don’t really matter to you when you could be doing things that do like spending time with your family.

Around the House Having a messy, cluttered home can be reflected in the rest of your life. Here are some ways to clean out and minimalize your home.

  1. Clear out the clutter. Do you really need all the stuff that’s filling up your closets, drawers and garage? Spend less time caring for things you don’t need and make your home and life simpler by getting rid of it all.
  2. Get a smaller house. While having a lot of space is nice, it also requires you to spend more time cleaning, maintaining, heating and financing it. If you have more space than you need, consider getting a smaller home or apartment. It’ll save you money and time in the end and make your life simpler.
  3. Keep only the essentials. If you’re like most people, your kitchen is full of all kinds of specialty gadgets that you rarely use. If you don’t use it regularly, there probably isn’t much reason to have it. Pare down the things around your home to the stuff you actually need, want and care about.
  4. Find a place for things. Save yourself time and make your days simpler by creating a place for everything in your home.
  5. Realize that even free things come at a price. Who would turn down an offer for a free printer or a complimentary t-shirt? While these things may not cost you anything out of pocket, they do cost you your space. Before accepting free things, determine if you really need them or if they’ll just be something else to dust.
  6. Understand that bigger isn’t always better. SUVs, big houses, big TVs and super sized meals are all parts of the American lifestyle. But bigger things aren’t always better. Big things cost more, take up more space and sometimes cause you to waste what you can’t use. Simplify your life by buying things that fit the size of your life.
  7. Borrow, don’t buy. You can scale down your budget and the amount of things around your house by borrowing or renting items instead of buying them if you only plan on using them for a short time.
  8. Make your home a sanctuary. When your home is a relaxing, ordered place to be you’ll be happier and more able to de-stress no matter what your day has been like.
  9. Go low maintenance. You may love fine silks and suedes but these fabrics and others like them can be difficult to clean and maintain. Try buying clothes and furniture that can be easily cleaned and maintained so you’ll be able to spend less time and money caring for them.
  10. Buy classics. Save time and make life simpler by buying household items that are classic in design. Trendy items may be cooler in the short term, but you’ll get more mileage out of items that are designed to be stylish until they wear out or break.
  11. Don’t get attached. If you’re looking to pare down your things, try not to get too attached to household items. While some things may carry memories, you may not always need to hold on to them to value those memories.
  12. Simplify your wardrobe. Unless you’re working at a fashion magazine you likely don’t need a closet that’s overflowing with clothes. Create a basic wardrobe that you can work around. It’ll save you time getting dressed in the morning and space storing clothes.
  13. Create a simple yard. Few people love doing yard work. By keeping your yard simple, you’ll be able to spend less time weeding, mowing and planting and still have a yard that looks presentable.
  14. Stay on top of messes. Waiting days to do the dishes or letting papers pile up on your desk may seem like it’s saving you time, but in the long run it can make things harder for you. Spend a few minutes cleaning up each evening before you go to bed so things don’t pile up.
  15. Minimize the time it takes to clean. One way to keep your cleaning time to a minimum is to create a cleaning schedule and process that minimizes that time you spend working. Try vacuuming all at once or cleaning one room each day.

At Work You spend hours at work each week, so finding ways to scale back and simplify it are important. Here are a few ideas to get started with.

  1. Work smart. Spend less time at work by streamlining your processes. You’ll get less done in more time and be much less stressed.
  2. Manage your time. If you’ve got a lot on your plate, make time management a priority. Learn what works best for you and make it work to your advantage.
  3. Make the most of your commute. If you’re stuck on the train for an hour each morning, don’t spend your time just idly watching the scenery. Catch up on emails, write letters, read a book, study or anything else you are interested in doing.
  4. Don’t take on more than you can reasonably do. A new project may seem like the ticket to getting recognition around the office, but if you’re already swamped don’t take on more work. Pare down your work schedule to what you can reasonably do in a given time period.
  5. De-stress. Scale down your busy work day by allowing yourself time throughout the day to de-stress and relax so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  6. Assess career goals. It can be easy to get caught up working at a job simply because it pays the bills or because it doesn’t give you time to think about getting another one. Take a step back and assess if all the hard work you’re putting in at your current job really meets your ultimate goals. If not, think about cutting back on hours, working towards a job you really want, or finding a different job altogether.
  7. Create systems. You’ll save time and scale back the hours you’ll be spending at work by creating simple systems for getting things done at work. Have specific times to reply to emails, organizers on your desk, or anything else you need to keep things moving smoothly.
  8. Take breaks. Working nonstop at your desk can be overwhelming and can actually make you less productive. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to keep you fresh and ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
  9. Say no. You don’t always have to say yes to any projects or tasks that come your way. If you’re spending too much time at work, just say no if someone asks you to stay late or take on more work so you can maintain a balance in your life.
  10. Unplug. The constant influx of email, instant messages and other information can wreck havoc on your workday productivity. If you can, unplug for a little bit each day to keep constant contact from taking up all your time.
  11. Take tasks one at a time. Make things simpler when you’re working by doing one thing at a time instead of trying to multi-task doing a million things at once. You’re less likely to get off track and you can check things off as you accomplish them.
  12. Live close to work. If you can, cut out the commute by living nearby your workplace. It’ll save you time and money and make your day less stressful overall.
  13. Clear off your desk. There’s nothing that will stress you out quite like clutter. Keep your desk clear of random clutter. It will be easier to find what you need and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
  14. Simplify your tools. Computer apps and Web tools can be great ways to make things quicker and easier, but you may need to evaluate if these tools are really making your life easier. Find out what tools you truly need to do your job and eliminate the rest.
  15. Reduce distractions. Life is always full of distractions and work is no exception. Try to pare down the number of things that are able to distract you on a daily basis so you can get your work done and go home on time.
  16. Set boundaries. If you’re not careful, work can overwhelm your life. Set hours when you’re available and when you’re not. Everyone deserves to have a personal life and ensure your work isn’t stealing yours.

Personal Life Make your personal life easier and less messy with these tips.

  1. Merge personal and work calendars. Save yourself the time of switching between two calendars and possibly double booking yourself by keeping your personal and professional calendars synced.
  2. Make time to spend alone with a spouse. Spending time with those that you love is an incredibly important part of building a healthy relationship and staying happy. Make this a big priority in your life and don’t let work or school overtake it.
  3. Let things go. You could spend the rest of your life being mad at a spouse, friend or family member for some wrong they’ve done against you. Learn to let little offenses go and you’ll be less stressed and happier.
  4. Enjoy quiet time. Everyone needs some time just to have quiet to read books, do a crossword or just enjoy doing nothing. Try to simplify your life by incorporating a little quiet in each day.
  5. Get active. You’ll feel better and maybe even look better too if you use a little of your free time to get up and move around whether you’re working out or just doing work around the house.
  6. Evaluate your commitments. Is your dedication to organizations, sports or hobbies stealing time away from things that are more important to you? Take a look at where you’re spending your time and figure out if it’s prioritized according.
  7. Be present. Make the time you spend with a spouse or other loved ones count by being fully present when you’re together. Filter out all those thoughts about things you have to do at work or around the house and truly enjoy the moment.
  8. Enjoy small things. Making yourself happier and simplifying your life doesn’t always have to be about the big things. Enjoy a long bath, walk around the blog or the smell of fresh sheets on your bed.
  9. Carry around less stuff. While women with huge purses may be more guilty of this, men with huge wallets and addictions to technology may also want to consider paring down what they bring with them each day. Bringing less with you means less to worry about and less weight to lug around.
  10. Express yourself. Whether you love to write, paint, garden or any other hobby make sure you have time to express yourself creatively especially if this is an important priority for you. Take advantage of this Jackson & Perkins coupon to save on your gardening expenses.
  11. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Expensive purses, new cars and the latest technology may be nice, but they likely won’t buy you any lasting happiness. Letting this desire to keep up in material processions go will make your life simpler and maybe even happier.
  12. Try something new. Keep your life new and exciting by trying out new things every once in awhile. Whether its sampling an exotic food or running in a marathon, these simple new experiences can truly enrich your life.
  13. Indulge in small luxuries. You don’t always have to buy big or expensive things to make yourself feel pampered. Treating yourself to a fancy coffee or a favorite dessert is a great, simple way to make yourself happy.

Kids Having kids can make everything chaotic and time-consuming. Here are some tips for scaling down life with kids to the basics.

  1. Help kids become self-sufficient. Taking the time to do every little thing for your kids can eat up a lot of your day. Help kids learn to do little things like get dressed, brush their teeth and get ready for school on their own. This will save you time and give your kids a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Make clean up easy. With kids, toys are going to be lying around no matter what. Make clean up a cinch by keeping organization and storage simple. It’ll save you time in cleanup and keep your home clutter free.
  3. Prep the night before. Don’t make mornings a hectic experience. Scale down by getting lunches together the night before, laying out clothes and other tasks that can save you loads of time in the morning.
  4. Don’t over schedule. It’s natural to want to enable children to pursue all their interests but when there are too many you can spend far too much time shuttling kids to and from lessons and practices. Scale down to the things they love the most.
  5. Set aside time for each child. Make sure each of your children feel special and valued by you by setting aside time to spend alone with each one.
  6. Come prepared. Parents will quickly learn that it pays to come prepared for any situation. Save yourself hassle by creating kits that allow you to meet the majority of needs your kids will have.
  7. Spend less, do more. You don’t need to take your kids out for a night on the town to have a good time. Arrange times to play games or watch a favorite family-friendly movie together. It can be just as fun at a fraction of the cost.
  8. Create routines. You can cut back on the time it takes to get kids ready for bed or off to school if you create a routine. Kids will learn what to expect and things will be streamlined and easier for everyone involved.
  9. Dress kids simply. Kids grow out of clothes so fast that there’s no sense in buying them complicated or fancy outfits. Get kids simple clothes that they can mix and match, so they can dress themselves.
  10. Celebrate traditions. Make the time you spend with your children special and memorable by paring down the holidays to traditions that truly matter to you. Whether it’s putting up a Christmas tree or baking special holiday treats, make the holidays super special for your children.

Finances A lot of time is spent on paying bills, saving and worrying over finances. Make things a little simpler with these tips.

  1. Cut up some credit cards. Do you have more credit cards than can even fit inside your wallet? Simplify your finances by only keeping the cards that you use the most and getting rid of the rest.
  2. Decide what expenditures are really needs. Chances are good that you don’t really need that cup of coffee and a bagel on your way to work each day. Figure out little ways that you can cut back on your spending and focus on the expenses that are really needs, not just conveniences.
  3. Trim the fat. Your budget is probably full of bloated expenses that you could cut out if you took the time to. Get rid of memberships you’re not using, subscriptions to magazines you don’t read and anything else that’s unnecessarily eating up your cash.
  4. Buy on need. Stores are set up to entice you to buy all kinds of things you don’t really need. Try to start only buying things that you truly need. It might be challenging but you’ll have loads of savings to show for it in the end.
  5. Stop shopping. Shopping may be a fun way to spend an afternoon and a great way to bond with friends, cheer yourself up after a bad day or just pass the time, but can be tough on your wallet. Cut back on the spending so less stuff is coming into your home and more money is staying in your accounts.
  6. Eliminate debt. Before you start making any financial decisions, come up with a plan to eliminate your debt. You may only be able to pay a little bit each month, but that little bit moves you closer and closer to getting rid of the burden od debt and making your life simpler.
  7. Protect your future. Take a big weight off of your shoulders by ensuring that you look out for your future when you’re doing financial planning. Start a retirement fund or just start saving and you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
  8. Live within your means. Keeping up with friends that are big spenders can be a tempting and easy thing to do but if you’re living outside your means you’ll regret it in the long run. Keep things simple by saving up for indulgent purchases and not buying things you can’t afford.
  9. Be frugal. Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to give up everything, but it does mean scaling down your spending and helping yourself save whenever you can.
  10. Try living without a car. With gas prices at an all time high, not to mention insurance and maintenance fees, having a car can be expensive. If you can get by without a car, try it. It will save you money and it’s good for the environment too.
  11. Buy things that are high quality. While cheap might seem better in the short term, the reality is that money is better spent on a high quality item that will last longer and need fewer repairs. Simplify your life by looking for quality, not just the price tag.
  12. Keep track of your expenses. Don’t just assume that your credit card statement is in order or that you’re spending a normal amount each month on food and gas. Keep track so you’ll know where every dollar went and if you’re well over budget on expenses.
  13. Set up automatic bill payments. Save yourself the trouble of mailing bills each month. Set up automatic payments for credit cards and utilities and have your statements sent to your inbox instead of your mailbox.
  14. Consolidate your accounts. If you’ve got accounts at multiple banks you can save some time and effort by combining them into one account.
  15. Use direct deposit whenever possible. Don’t make unnecessary trips to the bank every time you get your paycheck. If your work offers direct deposit take advantage of it to save yourself time and make sure you get your funds right away.
  16. File efficiently. Don’t let your financial records pile up on your desk. Set up a system to put them away once a week or at the end of the month. This way you’ll never get too far behind and you’ll always be able to find what you need.
  17. Use online account management tools. The Internet makes it easy to keep track of your finances. Use online tools to track investment performance, write checks, transfer funds and much more so you almost never have to go to the bank.
  18. Keep materials together. When it comes tax time you can be stuck hunting around for the records you need if you don’t keep them in order. Ensure your life is simple and stressed is minimized by keeping all your financial records in one safe, secure and organized place.

Health Make taking care of yourself a simple and rewarding task by using some of these suggestions.

  1. Slow down and enjoy your meals. Eating can be a major pleasure in life and a simple one that you can enjoy if you take the time. Slow down and savor each of your meals. You’re likely to eat less and you’ll get a chance to relax.
  2. Make workouts fun. Want to make working out simpler? Make it fun for yourself. Find a partner, make a great workout mix, or workout during your favorite TV show so you can watch and work.
  3. Eat healthier. What could be simpler than eating basic fruits and veggies? Make these a major part of your diet for a scaled down and simple way to stay healthy.
  4. Sleep. Most people aren’t getting nearly enough sleep. Scale down on all the distractions that steal away from the time you should be sleeping and put that time towards getting some extra z’s.
  5. Do double duty on fitness. Not all workouts have to happen in the gym. Working around the house and doing yard work can also be a workout. Instead of going to the gym, tackle your project of cleaning out the garage and you’ll get two things done at once.
  6. Meditate. Nothing could be simpler or more scaled down than meditation. If you’re feeling things are too hectic or overwhelming take some time to meditate and regain your zen.
  7. Get rid of the workout equipment. Do you really use that treadmill that’s taking up a whole room in your house? Get rid of the workout equipment you don’t need and use your own body as a workout tool through running, playing sports and simple exercises.
  8. Cook simple meals. Don’t make cooking at home a huge deal. You can make simple, healthy meals without investing too much time and effort.
  9. Get outside. Getting outside can make you feel good both physically and mentally, so make time to get some rays of sun for at least a few minutes each day.
  10. Cut back on drinking. Scale down the partying by drinking less. You’ll feel better and likely have a lot more money in your wallet after the weekend.
  11. Pay attention to your mental health. It’s easy to ignore mental health but it can have a big impact on pretty much everything in your life. Don’t just take care of your body, but your mind as well.
  12. Stop worrying. Worrying about things isn’t going to make them go away or even solve them, so give your brain a break from the worry and take things as they come.
  13. Stay in motion. You can burn loads of extra calories by staying in motion as much as you can during the day. Don’t just slump on the couch when you get home, take a walk, clean your house or play with your dog.

The Car Shopping Toolbox: 100 Guides, Tools and Resources

Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 10:34am by admin

Driving a car isn’t going to get cheaper anytime soon, thanks to rising gas prices and an uncertain economy. So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, make sure to do your research before taking the plunge. Whether you’re looking for a car that can help you get more miles to the gallon or for a luxury vehicle to impress the ladies, you can find help in choosing a car that’s right for you with these resources we’ve compiled.

Online Car Sales and Classifieds

Nowadays you don’t even have to leave your house to browse cars for sale in your area. Check out these resources to see what deals are out there.

  1. Auto Explosion: Despite the unfortunate name choice of this site, it is a great place to find classified ads for used cars and trucks and RVs and motorcycles if you’re interested. If you don’t see what you’re looking for today, try placing a wanted car ad to see if anyone out there might be able to make you a deal.
  2. AutoHopper: This site features a wide variety of ads for both new and used cars. You’ll find everything from small sedans to full size SUVs that can fit your needs and your budget.
  3. CarMax: CarMax is one of the most popular places to buy new and used cars online. Visitors to the site can browse through over 25,000 cars to find the one that’s right for them. Better yet, the company will ship most cars to the CarMax location nearest you and you’ll get a 5-day money back guarantee in case you change your mind.
  4. AutoTrader.com: This site is home to over 3 million new, used and certified cars that you can browse through. With so many to choose from, there’s bound to be something that will suit your needs and your wallet. You’ll also find tools to research and compare to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
  5. eBay Motors: eBay isn’t just a place to pick up collectibles or to find a deal on some fabulous boots-it’s also home to a large online car market. You can browse by make or model or enter your zip code to see what’s in your area.
  6. Cars Direct: With this site you’ll be able to browse through thousands of new and used cars, research, finance and even find out how much your trade-in might bring you.
  7. Cars.com: Whether you’re in the market for a new or used car or a compact or an SUV, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Additionally, visitors can get advice on what cars get the best gas mileage, which are safest and how to negotiate for the best price.
  8. Motobidia: If luxury automobiles are what you’re looking for, then try checking out this auction site. Once you’ve found and researched a car that interests you, you simply make your best offer, and with any luck, you’ll win it.
  9. MyRide.com: On MyRide.com you’ll find loads of listings for cars in your area and around the nation as well as information and articles that can help you make the right car choice for you or find out what accessories you can add to your car to make it more stylish or functional.
  10. CarBuy: CarBuy will hook you up with a personal shopper who will help you to select and purchase a car that you find online. They’ll even deliver your new car to your house for free.
  11. Craigslist: Craigslist has car listings in hundreds of cities all over the US. Check out your local classifieds to see if there’s a vehicle listed that is just what you’re looking for.
  12. Used Cars Only: If a used car is more in your budget, try checking out the listings provided by this site. You’ll just need to list the age, make or model of the car you want and your area to see what’s up for sale in your neighborhood.

Vehicle History Reports

If you’re buying used, you’ll want to make sure your car has a clean history before you ever agree to purchase it. These companies and sites can give you the information you need.

  1. DMV.org: This site is filled with all kinds of information you can use to help you maintain driving records and buy and sell cars, but perhaps one of the most useful features is the vehicle history report tool. Just enter the VIN number of the car and get a full report.
  2. CarFax: CarFax is one of the best known provider of car history reports. The reports generated will help you determine if your car has been in an accident, has suspect mileage or even if it’s been rebuilt.
  3. AutoCheck: This tool from credit report organization Experian will give you the information you need to make sure you’re making a sound financial decision when you purchase a used car.
  4. Car Detective: Check up on the car you want to purchase with a vehicle history report from Car Detective. You’ll learn if it has been stolen in the past, has had hail damage and much more.
  5. Used Car Histories: This site can provide you with information on any used car you’re thinking of purchasing to ensure that it’s safe and won’t leave you with a broken vehicle and an empty wallet.
  6. Auto Lemon: No one wants to get stuck with a lemon. Luckily, sites like this can give you the lowdown on a used car’s history before you bring it home.

Research and Ratings

Do your homework before making your next car purchase with these sites that give you reviews and information about almost any car you’re in the market to buy.

  1. Automobile Magazine: This magazine’s website will give you access to discussions about the best cars in a variety of classes, reviews, pricing and even listings of both new and used cars. You can also find information about auto shows and read blogs on the site.
  2. Car and Driver: Car and Driver ratings are often touted by car manufacturers to showcase the quality of their vehicles. Here you’ll find an easy-to-use buying guide that can help you make the right decision on your next automotive purchase.
  3. Consumer Reports: Consumer Reports tests and reviews thousands of different products every year, cars included. For a small yearly fee, you’ll be able to read about how every car tested and get unbiased reviews.
  4. Motor Trend: Motor Trend is one of the most popular automotive reads out there and you can take advantage of the information it provides when looking for your next car. The site provides information on road tests they’ve conducted on a large number of cars to let you know what you can expect.
  5. Road and Track: If speed is what you’re looking for in a car, then this site can provide you with reviews and articles on a wide variety of sports cars and luxury vehicles.
  6. JDPower: JDPower gives out awards each year for vehicles in categories like dependability, quality, performance and design and safety. You can find out what cars made the top of their list and which ones you might want to think twice about at this site.
  7. Consumer Guide: How Stuff Works has put together this consumer guide to help prospective auto buyers get the information they need to make an educated decision on what car is best for their needs.
  8. The Truth About Cars: This blog has hundreds of reviews of cars and trucks. Simple enter the make and model of the car you’re interested in and you’ll find loads of information at your fingertips.
  9. My Dealer Report: If you’re buying a car from a dealership you can find out if the salespeople you’re working with have a good reputation or not through this site. It allows you to read reviews of dealerships and find out which are the best rated in your area.
  10. AutoWeek: You can read up on your favorite cars with the reviews from this site and even check out some classifieds that might be in your area.
  11. Road and Travel Magazine: Whether you’re a commuter or just love to take road trips, this car magazine reviews cars with you in mind. You’ll find a number of reviews, car of the year awards and much more.

Pricing

Ensure you’re not being taken for a ride by your car salesman with these sites, which can give you an idea of just how much your car should cost.

  1. Kelley Blue Book: The Kelley Blue Book is often seen as the definitive place to determine how much a car is worth, so it makes a lot of sense to check out what it has to say about the car you want to buy to ensure you are getting a fair deal.
  2. Edmunds: This site is chock full of information and can be a great place to go when you’re looking to see how much you should be paying for the car you want.
  3. Invoice Dealers: Here you’ll be able to get quotes on new car prices. Just enter the vehicle you want information for and the site will return results from dealers in your area. You can also browse by dealer.
  4. Rebates and Incentives: This MSN listing gives you information on all the current rebates and incentives that are available on cars at the moment. Make sure to give it a looksee before you buy to see if you can get a better deal.
  5. Autobytel: With Autobytel you can get price quotes on new cars as well as estimates for the value of used cars. You’ll also find reviews, videos and other information to keep you busy.
  6. Autos at MSN.com: MSN isn’t just for news-you can also get estimates on how much a new car will run you in your area. Type in the make and model and get results instantly.
  7. Autoweb: Autoweb can provide you with prices on both new and used vehicles as well as information on what rebates and incentives might be out there.
  8. Autosite: Get free quotes on new cars, trucks and SUVs from Autosite. Once you’ve seen if a car is in your price range you can check out reviews and articles as well.
  9. Car Payment Calculator: Sometimes the price of a car doesn’t mean much until you break it down into monthly payments. This calculator tool will help you do that and help you to better understand if you can afford to buy the ride you want.
  10. N.A.D.A.: Similar to the Kelley Blue Book, this guide provides reliable car pricing information for both cosumers and businesses.

Safety

Whether you’re single or you have a family to think of, safety should be a major concern when buying a car. These resources will give you the lowdown on how your car has performed in tests.

  1. Consumer Information Center: This government sponsored site provides cheap information to citizens who are lshopping for a car. For only a $1 you can buy articles on maintaining your car, preparing for inclement weather and safely buying a used car.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Take advantage of what your tax dollars go towards with this site. You’ll get the latest reports on safety as well as advice on choosing cars with good fuel economy, buying a child’s carseat, and how you can keep your teen driver safe.
  3. Crash Test.com: This site provides access to safety statistics, death rates, rollover frequency, and crash test results for numerous cars both in the United States and abroad.
  4. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety : According to their website the IIHA is an "independent, nonprofit, scientific, and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries, and property damage — from crashes on the nation’s highways." Check out their free information to help keep you safer.
  5. Safer Car.gov: This site compiles loads of vehicle safety information from the government and makes it easy to find the studies and ratings you’ll need to ensure that your car is safe. You’ll also find a listing of known defects and recalls, something you might not be aware of when purchasing a used car.
  6. Car Safety Ratings: Find out how your car stacks up in the ratings with this site or browse through it to see what cars are standouts in safety.
  7. Safe Car Guide: It isn’t always easy to know what cars will be safest and what cars will put you in the hospital or worse if you’re in an accident. This site lists crash test ratings, reviews and government statistics.
  8. Car Safety Org: If you’re a parent, you’ll want to make sure to check out this site. It will give you tips on buying safer, kid friendly cars and will give you advice on choosing and using a carseat for your child.

Insurance

Before you purchase a new car you should make sure it able to be insured. It’s not only a good idea, it’s the law, and these sites can help hook you up with coverage or let you know what you’ll need.

  1. Car Insurance.com: You can get a free insurance quote with this site that can provide you with the rates from several leading insurers. You’ll also have access to a variety of insurance education materials.
  2. Insure.com: This site works with over 200 different companies to help you to find the lowest rate on auto insurance coverage that fits your needs.
  3. InsWeb: Make shopping for car insurance less of a hassle with the simple quotes from InsWeb. You can also learn what cars cost the most or the least to insurance and how you can help yourself save even more on your insurance bill.
  4. Progressive: Progressive allows consumers to compare their rate with that of other insurance companies to ensure that they’re really getting the best deal. Plus, you can buy right from the website.
  5. GEICO: As the little gecko promises, GEICO attempts to give consumers low rates on insurance. See if you qualify by getting a free quote.
  6. State Farm: One of the oldest insurance companies still around today, State Farm is known for their commitment to customer service. Check out their auto insurance rates to see if they suit your needs.
  7. Lower My Bills: You might be paying too much for auto insurance coverage. This site can help you see if you can get a lower rate somewhere else and reduce your monthly bills in the process.
  8. The Motley Fool Auto Insurance Guide: If you don’t have a clue as to what kind of coverage you should have and how much you need, check out this useful primer on auto insurance from the Motley Fool.
  9. Car Insurance Rates: Get answers to your insurance questions, a guide and quotes on auto insurance from this easy-to-use site.
  10. Esurance: Get a quick quote from Esurance to see how much coverage on your new vehicle will cost. If it suits your budget, you can buy online.
  11. AllState: AllState offers consumers benefits like a Safe Driving Bonus if they remain accident free. You could qualify for this and other benefits, so get a free online quote from their website.

Financing

For most people, buying a new or used car will require some sort of financing. These sites can help you get the funds you need to buy your new ride.

  1. LeaseSource: With LeaseSource you can get a car price quote learn about leases, laws, and find financing that’s right for you.
  2. Bankrate: Bankrate gives prospective auto buyers the average interest rates for auto loans as well as the tools they’ll need to compare, refinance and calculate their monthly payments.
  3. CarCredit.com: Find loans for new and used cars even if you have bad credit with this comprehensive financing site.
  4. eLoan: eLoan can offer you a simple solution to auto financing. Find out if you’re approved as well as gaining access to calculators, tips and other articles.
  5. American Automobile Association: Members of triple A might not even know they have access to simple online car buying services that can come complete with financing through AAA.
  6. Funding Way: This site specializes in providing auto loans to those with poor credit. They’ve helped millions of others get financing, so see if they can help you too.
  7. LeaseTrader: Sometimes people get themselves in over their heads or simply decide they want a different vehicle after they’ve leased their existing one. This site specializes in trading leases from one person to another.
  8. How Car Financing Works: Check out this article if you’re unsure of the inner workings of the auto financing industry. Don’t just stumble through blindly, read this article to tell you what you can expect.
  9. Capital One Auto Finance: Well-known credit card issuer Capital One also provides auto financing for qualified consumers.
  10. Car Financing: Buying Versus Leasing: If you have no idea what the difference is, and what it will mean to your monthly payments, then read this helpful article.

Guides

Get some assistance in buying, caring for and financing a new or used car with these helpful how-tos.

  1. How to Buy a Car: Here, prospective car buyers will have the basics laid out for them by the Motley Fool. It will help you determine if you really need a new car, how to set a budget and how to avoid getting ripped off.
  2. A Car Buying Guide: This comprehensive guide will give you the ins and outs of everything you need to consider when buying a car.
  3. 13 Step Method for Buying a Car: Stay in control while you’re buying a new car and ensure that the price stays within your limits with this step-by-step approach from the Consumerist.
  4. How to Buy a Used Car: There are some things that you have to consider when buying a used car that don’t apply when buying a new car. You can find out what you should be looking for with this guide.
  5. New Car Buying Guide: Who doesn’t want a shiny new car? This guide will make sure you get the car you want at the price you can afford.
  6. New and Used Car Financing Guide: For those unfamiliar with financing, this guide can help give you the basics of what will happen when you finance a car and how not to get in over your head with payments.
  7. Guide to Avoid Buying a Lemon: No one wants to get stuck with a useless car. Read this article over before you buy a used car to make sure you won’t get the shaft.
  8. How to Get a Great Deal on a New Car: Don’t pay more than you should for a new car. Read over this simple how-to from Reader’s Digest to ensure that you get the best deal you can on your new vehicle.
  9. 12 Secrets Your Car Insurer Won’t Tell You: Everyone has to have auto insurance, but there’s no reason why you should pay more for it or not know a few of the loopholes. Check out this read from MSN to see if it can give you some helpful insights.
  10. How to Maintain a Car: If you’ve already taken the plunge and bought a new vehicle make sure you keep it in tiptop shape with this maintenance guide.
  11. How to Buy a Car Online– For Less: Online car buying is more popular than ever these days. This article will give you the information you need to make educated, successful online automotive purchases.
  12. Effective Car Buying Tips for Women: Women are often taken advantage of when they go to buy a car because dealers assume women know little about cars. Don’t get played. Read this article before heading to the dealer’s lot.
  13. A Young Professional’s Car Buying Guide: Financial tool Mint has created this useful guide that can help those with little experience in buying cars to make careful and financially sound decisions.

Blogs

Get some advice on buying a car from experts and car enthusiasts in these blogs.

  1. Buy an Auto: This blog is dedicated to discussing issues that can help save you money when you go to buy a car. It also contains entries on topics like luxury vehicles and hybrid cars.
  2. Autoblog: Keep up with the latest in automotive news, reviews and models with this multi-contributor blog.
  3. Car Buying Tips: Just as the name suggests, post on this blog are geared toward providing consumers with car buying advice. The blogger is a former car salesman and gives insights into the industry and how to get a deal.
  4. Buying Advice: This site provides readers with car buying tips and consumer information on car reviews and ratings. Visitors can also go to the blog’s parent page and get access to car buying tools and insider articles.
  5. Kicking Tires: This blog is advertised as being created just for car buyers. In it, readers will find advice on car buying, the latest news from auto shows, car reviews, safety recalls and much more.
  6. Carsopia: Carsopia is a blog that aims to give readers tips and tricks when they buy a used car. You’ll find a list of questions you should ask as well as a complete tutorial.
  7. CarsDiva: For women who are into cars or looking to buy one soon, this blog could be a good read. Written by a car enthusiast and automotive employee who just happens to be female as well, it’s a fun and informative read.
  8. Hybrid Car Blog: With gas prices reaching their highest levels, hybrid cars are getting more and more attention. You can read about the latest developments and get information on choosing a hybrid that’s right for you with some help from this blog.
  9. The Car Blog: Get access to dozens of car reviews with this blog, as well as photos and articles about the fanciest, fastest and most expensive cars on the market.
  10. Consumer Reports Car Blog: This Consumer Reports blog can keep you up to date on safety issues, deals and other consumer issues.
  11. AutoBlog Green: Find out what you need to know about buying an earth friendly auto with this blog.

Miscellaneous

Here are a few odds and ends to improve your auto buying experience.

  1. Repair Manual: If you buy a used car, it may or may not have a manual and you may not know how to fix even simple things or know what parts to get. You can order a new manual with this site.
  2. Trust My Mechanic: When buying a car, some people take it to their mechanic to get it checked out and make sure its in good working order. You can find out if your mechanic is trustworthy or sees your new car purchase as a potential goldmine with this site.
  3. Car Buying Tips: This site gives tips on every aspect of the car buying experience.
  4. What is the Lemon Law: If you end up buying a lemon, this site can tell you what your rights are and if you are eligible for any compensation.
  5. Warranty Comparison: Make sure your car comes with a warranty that won’t leave you out in the cold should something go wrong. Here you can compare different warranties to see which offer is the best.
  6. Auto Dealer Locator: Unsure where they sell a particular brand of car in your neck of the woods? This site can point you to the nearest dealership.
  7. Top 10 Fuel Efficient Cars: Fuel efficiency is a big deal these days as prices at the pump get ever more painful. Check out these ten cars to see if you can save yourself in gas costs by purchasing one.
  8. How Much Car Can You Afford?: One of the biggest issues to consider when buying a new car is just how much can you really afford to spend. This site will help you determine your limits and how you can set a budget.

Top 100 Resources for Conscientious Consumers

Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 10:06am by admin

These days, saving money isn’t the only thing shoppers are worried about. Now, consumers are very aware of the way their shopping affects the world, and there are a number of resources out there designed to help make responsible consuming easier. Here, we’ve compiled 100 of these resources, from shopping directories to sources of information.

Networks

Join these networks to get an ongoing look at what you can do to make your consumption more responsible.

  1. Care2: Find news, other conscientious consumers, and more in the Care2 network.
  2. The Sierra Club: This group protects the planet while offering lots of fun outings for members.
  3. Responsible Purchasing Network: This network offers consultants and assistance for making your purchases more responsible.
  4. Buy Wisely Forum: Visit this forum to share and get ideas for conscientious consuming.
  5. Families for Conscious Living: Join this site to get newsletters, tips, and more resources for conscious living.
  6. The Simple Living Network: This network is full of resources, community services, and information.
  7. The EnviroLink Network: Stay on top of environmental news and resources with this network.
  8. Eco-Portal: Find tips, news and more information on environmental sustainability in this source.
  9. Earth Forums: This forum is home to an earth conscious directory full of resources for eco-friendly shopping.

Where to Shop

Whether you’re looking for organic clothing, coupons for your organic style, or a goat to send to a third-world country, you’ll find what you’re looking for in these online stores.

  1. Made By Survivors: The hand-made products in this store are created by survivors of human trafficking.
  2. No Sweat: This store features union-made, sweatshop-free apparel.
  3. The American Environmental Health Foundation: This foundation researches chemical sensitivity, and sells environmentally safe products.
  4. Oxfam America Unwrapped: On this site, you can buy sheep, trees, school uniforms, and more as a gift.
  5. Littlearth: Shop eco-friendly for stylish clothing and accessories, and even sportswear for fans of the NFL and NHL.
  6. ReProduct: Buy reusable greeting cards and paper products from this company that focuses on eliminating waste and protecting the environment.
  7. Tom’s Shoes: When you buy a pair of comfortable walking shoes from Tom’s Shoes, a child in need will get a pair as well.
  8. Alternative Gifts: With this site, you can send a life-giving gift in honor of a loved one.
  9. Gaiam: Get supplies and information for sustainable living on Gaiam.
  10. Planet Squared: Get a dose of environmentally friendly culture on this site that sells non-toxic, recycled music, art, and furniture.
  11. VivaTerra: Find responsible home items at this store. You can even set up a gift registry.
  12. Real Goods: Get solar energy and off-the-grid living supplies from this outlet.
  13. Abundant Earth: This environmental super store offers a number of environmentally sensitive products, plus a charitable giving program.

Directories

Find even more socially and environmentally friendly stores, services, and associations through these directories.

  1. eConscious Market: In this market, you’ll find socially responsible goods and can choose a charity of your choice to receive 50% of the net profits from your purchase.
  2. Conscious Choice Directory: This directory offers links to professional services, products, and more.
  3. Happy Hippie: In this directory, you’ll find eco-friendly products.
  4. Eco Business Links: This green directory is powered 100% by wind energy and offers thousands of reviewed websites.
  5. Green People: Here you’ll find eco-friendly products like organic food, health and beauty items, and even supplies for pets and babies.
  6. Pristine Planet: Who says responsible has to be expensive? Get the best deal with this eco-friendly comparison shopping site.
  7. Socially Responsible Directory: This directory offers books, shopping resources, and more.
  8. Responsible Purchasing Network Directory: Check out this directory for network-approved responsible sellers and members.
  9. Buy Indie: This portal highlights independently-owned retailers.
  10. Green Matters: Find businesses that support the environment and offer green alternatives in this directory.
  11. Conscious Consumer Marketplace: In this marketplace, you’ll find online and local sources for responsible products.

Certifications & Assessments

When you’re shopping for big ticket items like building materials and appliances, look for these certifications to be sure you’re making a responsible choice.

  1. Eco-labels center: Visit this resource from Consumer Reports to find out what the labels on your products really mean.
  2. EPEAT: The Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool will help you determine how responsible your new computer is.
  3. Energy Star: When buying appliances and other home items, look for the Energy Star seal.
  4. National Assessment of Tap Water Quality: Check out this database to check out your water quality.
  5. USDA Organic: Learn more about the USDA Organic label on this site.
  6. Green Seal: Use Green Seal products and services to ensure you’re shopping responsibly.
  7. EcoLogo: Canadian consumers can look for the EcoLogo for environmentally responsible products.
  8. Forest Stewardship Council: FSC certified members practice good forest management.

Conscientious Finance

Make sure that your investments are responsible by using these conscientious finance tools and groups.

  1. Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index: Use this group’s methodology to find some of the best sustainability-driven companies to invest in.
  2. Community Investing Center: Learn how to get started with community investing through this site.
  3. Kiva: Invest in Kiva, and you’ll give 3rd-world entrepreneurs the funds they need to start a small business.
  4. Green Money Journal: Stay on top of the latest in green investment with this publication.
  5. SocialFunds: This personal finance site is dedicated to socially responsible investing.
  6. Social Investment Forum: This forum will teach you how to make a difference with your investments.
  7. The Blue Fund: This mutual fund’s portfolio is full of companies with social responsibility.
  8. PAX World Mutual Funds: This mutual fund believes in sustainable investing.

Recycling, Repair, and Repurposing

With these resources, you can avoid sending your old consumables to the dump.

  1. Computer Upgrades: This guide from Consumer Reports will walk you through upgrading your computer instead of buying a new one.
  2. Freecycle: Give away unwanted stuff, or find some for yourself on this site.
  3. Creative ways to repurpose household items: Instead of tossing unwanted items, find a way to reuse them with this guide.
  4. Computer Repair: If you’re thinking of tossing your broken computer, check out this guide first to see if you can repair it.
  5. Recycle: New American Dream discusses the merits of recycling in this article.
  6. Earth 911: Check out Earth 911 to find a recycling center near you and more.
  7. Computer recycling: This guide from Consumer Reports will tell you whether it’s smarter to fix or recycle your computer.
  8. E-cycling Map: Find e-waste recycling centers with this map from the EPA.
  9. Computer Recycling Guide: With this resource, you’ll learn everything you need to know about recycling your old computer.

Information Sources

Check in on your favorite retailers, learn more about responsible consuming, or just research more ways to be conscientious using these information sources.

  1. Federal Election Commission: Check out the FEC’s website to find companies who make political donations.
  2. Consumerist: Hear all of the dirt about companies before you give them your money on the Consumerist.
  3. GreenSense: This site offers loads of resources for sustainable living, plus a marketplace full of responsible products.
  4. Corporate Contact: In this resource, you’ll find contact information for popular retailers, plus a form letter that you can use to encourage these companies to adopt ethical business practices.
  5. Test Your Greenie IQ: Answer these questions about your daily life to find out how environmentally friendly you are.
  6. Green Maps: Use this map resource to find green living resources.
  7. Greener Choices: Consumer Reports’ green site is full of wonderful information.
  8. Responsible Shopper: Check out Co-op America’s research for responsible shopping here.
  9. The Story of Stuff: Check out this story to cast a critical eye on your shopping habits.
  10. EcoSeeker: Hit this green search engine to find all sorts of conscientious information.
  11. MAPLight: In this database, you’ll be able to see the connection between corporate donations and legislative votes.
  12. Socially Responsible Consumer: Check out this site to get action alerts, company research, and more.
  13. CorpWatch: This site keeps tabs on corporations and reports on their policies.
  14. New American Dream: This site offers information on sweatshop-free clothing, and the practices of some of the world’s biggest retailers.
  15. Public Integrity: Investigate lobbying dollars on this site.
  16. Open Secrets: This organization finds corporations that attempt to influence legislation and policy with donations.

Education

Teach your children the value of responsible consuming using these educational tools.

  1. Don’t Buy It: This site from PBS will teach your kits how to become media savvy.
  2. What Kids Want That Money Can’t Buy: Parents should read this book to learn how to educate children about responsible consumerism.
  3. Consumption Gumption: This game will test your child’s awareness as a consumer.
  4. I Buy Different: Have your children check out this site to learn how buying different can have an impact.
  5. The Great Green Web Game: When your kids play this game, they’ll learn how consumer choices affect the environment.

Articles & Guides

Get advice for buying, guidelines for ethical consumption, and more in these resources.

  1. Guide to Infant Formula: Check out this guide to learn which brands and packaging aren’t best for your baby.
  2. Eating organic: Get the most bang for your buck: This guide will help you save money when shopping organic.
  3. Produce Guide: This guide ranks 43 popular fruits and vegetables based on their pesticide load.
  4. Skin Deep: Find out how toxic your cosmetics are with this database.
  5. Tips for Ethical Consumers: This list offers great tips for making more ethical purchases.
  6. Conscientious Consuming: What is it?: This article gives a clear definition of what conscientious consuming is.
  7. Conscientious Holiday Shopping Online: This guide touts the Internet as a great resource for conscientious shopping, and offers a number of links to responsible products.
  8. Find out about the companies you buy from: This article describes why it’s important to research companies, and how you can go about doing so.
  9. What is Ethical Consumption?: This article details the concept of ethical consumption.
  10. Holiday Tips and Resources: In this article, you’ll find great ideas for making your holiday gift giving more conscientious.
  11. Global Warming on the Road: Make your car more conscientious with this Consumer Reports guide.
  12. Six Tips to Help You Simplify Your Life: Use these tips to simplify and take the focus off of consuming.
  13. The Vocal Consumer: Here you’ll find a guide to being a consumer with an opinion.
  14. How can you tell if it’s really ‘green’?: Follow this shopper’s guide from MSNBC to spot products and services that aren’t as responsible as they might seem to be.
  15. Global Warming at Home: Consumer Reports offers tips on how you can reduce your carbon emissions at home, and how much you’ll save.
  16. Holiday Shopping Guide for the Conscientious Consumer: Check out this shopping guide to find conscientious gifts for everyone on your list, any time of year.
  17. Local Buying Guide: Check out these responsible buying guides for selected cities.
  18. Greenercars: Check out this site to research environmentally friendly cars.
  19. Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture: Use this guide to help raise your children with informed ideas about consumerism.
  20. Conscientious Consuming: Why it Won’t Work: Despite its title, this article explains why conscientious consuming is a powerful force.
  21. You Can Make a Difference, But Do Your Homework First: This guide debunks a number of misconceptions about conscientious consuming.

Top 50 Alternative Energy Blogs

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 10:26am by admin

With increasing frustration towards fossil fuels and a looming threat of global warming, alternative energy solutions are popular now more than ever. We have a number of options, including water, solar, and bioenergy power. These blogs discuss these solutions, and they’re some of the best.

CleanTech

Clean technologies improve efficiency while reducing energy consumption, and they represent a variety of energy types. Learn all about them on these blogs.

  1. Clean Break: Read clean break to find out about what’s going on in the clean technology market.
  2. Joel Makower: Read this blog from cleantech authority Joel Makower for information about sustainable business and green marketplaces.
  3. Cleantech Collective: Find cleantech blog posts from a variety of bloggers here.
  4. Cleantech Blog: Get commentary on new technologies, news and issues in the world of clean energy.
  5. Cleanergy: Cleanergy collects contributions from experts around the world for topics in renewable energy and clean tech.

Alternative Energy Investment

Alternative energy can’t get far without monetary support. Check out these blogs that cater to investors who support alternative energy.

  1. Alternative Energy Stocks: Keep an eye on how alternative energy stocks are performing by reading this site.
  2. Alt Energy Investor: Find resources like stocks, prices, news and commentary on alternative energy investment here.
  3. Cleantech Investing: Read news and views from cleantech venture capitalist Rob Day on this blog.
  4. Biodiesel Investing: Learn about biodiesel stocks, headlines, and more on Biodiesel Investing.

Politics & Business

Political and business support is nearly as important as monetary support, as policies and business practices determine whether or not alternative energy solutions are actually implemented. Read these blogs to see how these arenas are reacting to alternative energy.

  1. Green Car Congress: Get the latest on green energy policies from this blog.
  2. Eco-Advantage: Find out how businesses are going green and enjoying profits from doing so.
  3. Hill Heat: Get the lowdown on science policy on Capitol Hill.
  4. Energize America: Energize America’s goal is to free America from fossil fuels with the help of the US government.
  5. Environmental Leader: This blog offers corporate decision makers a source for information on green energy.

Renewable & Sustainable Energy

One of the things that makes fossil fuels such a huge problem is the fact that it’s a depleting resource. Find out about resources and energy creation that can sustain itself indefinitely on these blogs.

  1. Renewable Energy: Renewable Energy is a source for energy news from around the globe.
  2. Heliotropic: Read Heliotropic to learn about renewable energy from Carl Lenox, an industry insider.
  3. WattHead: Get news and commentary on the transition into sustainable energy.
  4. Sustainablog: Read Sustainablog for news about sustainable energy and more.
  5. Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition: Learn about developments in ocean energy on this blog.
  6. Renew Energy Blog: Find news and commentary on anything and everything related to renewable energy here.
  7. Sustainable Research: Find out about new developments in research for sustainable energy with Sustainable Research.

Wind & Solar Energy

Wind and solar energy create power by harnessing resources that we take for granted: the sun and the wind. Learn how they work and about their increase in popularity on these blogs.

  1. Wind Energy Works!: Get the facts about wind energy development with this blog.
  2. Solar Buzz: Find solar energy news headlines on Solar Buzz.
  3. National Wind Watch: Visit National Wind Watch for the latest news in wind powered energy.
  4. Off-Grid: Get information about living off the grid on solar, wind, and hydro power here.

Biofuel

Biofuels use energy created from sources like corn, sugar cane and other biomasses. Learn about these ethanol and diesel solutions here.

  1. B100 Fuel: B100 asks the question, “What if the world replaced all diesel with B100 biodiesel?”
  2. Bioconversion: On Bioconversion, find out about biomass feedstock service providers and biomass-to-energy conversion technology R&D.
  3. Biopact: Biopact advocates a green energy pact between Europe and Africa.
  4. Big Biofuels Blog: Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog discusses the carbon footprint of biofuels, sugar cane ethanol, and lots of other topics.
  5. Deep Green Crystals: Read this blog to learn about biodiesel and check out a really cool duel fuel renewable vehicle.
  6. Unplugged Living: Visit Unplugged Living for a lifestyle that “freeload[s] off mother nature.”
  7. Ethablog: For news from the Brazilian ethanol industry, visit Ethablog.

Pure Alternative Energy

These bloggers go beyond specific solutions and industries, reporting on the alternative energy movement in its entirety.

  1. The Energy Blog: On The Energy Blog, you’ll find information about the energy revolution.
  2. It’s The Only One We Have: Learn about hydro-electric power, hydrogen, efficiency, solar energy, wind power, and lots more at Robin Nixon’s blog.
  3. Energy Refuge: This team of bloggers stays on top of alternative energy trends and other environmental news.
  4. Ecotality: Ecotality has loads of information about new energy solutions.
  5. IfEnergy: Check out IfEnergy for topics like solar cell phones, hydrogen fuel cell toy cars, and spray-on oil cells.
  6. Alternative Energy Blog: Get news and opinions on alternative energy souces like solar, wind, wave, geothermal, and more from this blog.
  7. TerraPass: Read Terra Pass for popular articles that focus on topics like cow power, nuclear power, and more.
  8. It’s Getting Hot In Here: See what youth leaders have to say about alternative energy and global warming.
  9. The Oil Drum: The Oil Drum asks questions about the future of energy, taking a look at issues like suburbia and the Marie Antoinette Syndrome.
  10. Alternative Energy HQ: Check out this source for information on biodiesel, solar power, wind power, and more.
  11. Energy Bulletin: Energy Bulletin reports on peak energy and related news.
  12. Celsias: Celsias offers topics on biofuels, the carbon market, and even poop power.
  13. One Alternative: One Alternative reports on renewable energy and the steps we need to take to adapt to it.
  14. Groovy Green: Groovy Green is a resource for information on how we can find cleaner alternatives to power our lives.
  15. Juice: Juice reports on alternative fuels as they relate to developments, markets, and politics.
  16. AltEng: AltEng believes that peak oil will be a non-event because its increasing expense will naturally spur new technologies.
  17. Alternative Energy Today: Get the latest news on alternative energy here.
  18. Alternative Energy Info: This blog covers the latest trends and products in alternative energy.

33 Tools to Get the Cheapest Gas Available

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 9:55am by admin

We’ve all been complaining about high gas prices for awhile now, but this year’s increases could really hit your wallet hard. Prices estimated to be $4 a gallon in some areas of the United States coupled with a possible economic recession presents a scary scenario for many Americans. Although we can’t stop prices at the pump from skyrocketing, it is possible to find those sought-after spots around town that provide better deals. Below you’ll find a list of tools that will aid you in your quest for the cheapest gas available.

Internet Tools

Plan ahead by checking out these sites or signing up for e-mail updates from those in the know.

  1. GasBuddy.com: Click on your U.S. state of Canadian province to start your search for cheap gas. Prices are tipped off by other visitors by the minute, so you’re always the first to know. This website also lists national averages and the states or cities with the lowest prices.
  2. MapQuest Gas Prices: Search the lowest gas prices that are nearest to your home or office by typing in your address. MapQuest also lets you search by gasoline type: regular, diesel, or alternative fuels.
  3. GasPriceWatch.com: Gas prices are separated into three categories: green prices are less than 12 hours old, orange ones are less than 24 hours old, and red ones are more than 24 hours old. Users can type in a location or click and drag on the U.S. map to find nearby stations.
  4. MSN Autos: Enter your zip code to access a detailed map of the most economical gas stations in your area.
  5. GasWatch: Set up this widget on your website or blog to get updates on the cheapest gas available in your U.S. zip code. Once you’ve selected a particular gas station, click on the Map It button for directions.
  6. Gas 3.0: Mac users can download this widget which “provides a simple, elegant, easy to use method for finding the cheapest gas in the area, right from your Dashboard.”
  7. Motor Trend: This popular car and racing website also features a gas price locator. Click on your state, county and city to find the lowest prices available for regular, plus, premium and diesel fuels.
  8. Fuel Gauge Report: The fuel gauge report from AAA reports local and national gas price averages each day. If you’re planning a trip, type in your departure and destination cities to get a rough estimate of how much cash you’ll need to spend on gas.
  9. FuelEconomy.gov: This government website has current gas price data for cities all over the country. Find cheap gas near you or read the helpful gas mileage tips to help you conserve the amount of gas you use.
  10. IGoogle Gadget: This post from Lifehacker discusses the Local Gas Prices iGoogle gadget that alerts Google account holders of the cheapest gas in their area.
  11. Automotive.com: This helpful site finds the cheapest gas in your area and compares it to the national average so that you can see how much you’re really saving.
  12. Yourcitygasprices.com: Sites like sanantoniogasprices.com and washingtondcgasprices.com quickly link you to the cheapest prices in your city. Type in your city’s name to see if you’ve got a site!
  13. InternetAutoGuide.com: InternetAutoGuide.com is another site that lets visitors find cheap gas prices in their neighborhoods.
  14. My WikiMap: GoogleMaps finds the cheapest gas prices for you when you enter your address or zip code.

Tools for your Phone

Sign up to receive text messages and alerts when gas prices drop.

  1. gas@gasbuddy.com: Send a text to this e-mail address to get alerts sent right to your phone.
  2. FuelGo.com: FuelGo.com supports another texting service that lets you compare cheap gas prices when you send them your zip code.
  3. mobGas: Enter your cell phone number on this website to receive free SMS alerts once gas prices drop. You can also view maps of each neighborhood to help you locate each station.
  4. 411Sync: Get connected with 411Sync, and access “your favorites at your fingertips.” The gas price locator is only one of several useful tools that this service provides.
  5. GetMobio: If you’re already a GetMobio user, add on the Gas app “that helps you get the cheapest gas in your surrounding area.”

When You’re Already in Your Car

Sleek navigation systems will help you find the cheapest gas around when you’re running on empty.

  1. MSN Direct: Get traffic reports gas prices, weather reports and movie times sent to your vehicle’s navigation system via a local FM signal.
  2. StreetPilot c580: This navigation system supports MSN Direct, and with a free trial, users can enjoy gas price locators and maps at no charge.
  3. nuvi 670: The nuvi 670 is a “widescreen personal travel assistant” that displays maps and gas prices all over the country so you’ll be able to fill up on the cheap even when you’re in a new place.
  4. nuvi 680: A slightly less expensive model than the nuvi 670, the 680 is still a trusty driving companion with its weather and traffic updates, gas price locators and easy-to-use “large touchscreen display.”

Awards Cards and Rebate Programs

These credit cards offer excellent rebate programs to help you save money each time you buy gas.

  1. Discover Open Road Card: The Discover Open Road card pays users 5% back on all gas purchases and all automotive purchases, including maintenance.
  2. AmEx Simply Cash Business Card: This card is specially designed for small business owners, but anyone who puts in a fair amount of driving time will reap the benefits. Members receive 5% back on all gas purchases.
  3. Chase Freedom Credit Card: This credit card is “the only credit card that gives you triple rewards where you spend the most.” If you’re constantly pumping gas, then you’re in luck.
  4. BP Visa Card: The BP Visa Card was voted the “best gasoline credit card of 2006″ by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Earn double rebates for the first 60 days, and enjoy a 5% rebate at all BP locations after two months.
  5. Citi Drivers Edge Card: Earn up to 6% rebates on gas purchases plus additional rebates just for driving around town.

Articles

The following articles offer more tips and advice for finding the cheapest gas in your town. You might be surprised to see where you can get more great deals!

  1. 12 Ways to Find Cheap Gas: This article from MSN Money provides a list of tools and ideas for finding cheap gas in your area, including stopping at Wal-Mart or the grocery store.
  2. Cheap Gas Prices: Find out why gas prices are continuing to rise with the information provided in this article. Readers will also find useful tips on locating the lowest prices in their area.
  3. How to Find Cheap Gas: eHow.com shares its secrets to getting cheap gas: visit low income areas, get gas at a wholesale club and more.
  4. Where to Find Cheap Gas and Gas Saving Tips: This article not only gives tips for finding cheap gas, it also encourages readers to research alternative fuel options.
  5. 5 Ways to Instantly Find Cheap Gas: This popular article from LifeClever lists its top 5 tips for finding cheap gas.

For many Americans, driving to and from work, school and extracurricular activities is a necessity. Public transportation systems are lacking in most cities, and walking from suburbia into the city is out of the question. Paying too much for gas, though, doesn’t have to be your only choice, however. Consider using some of these tools and tips for finding the cheapest gas in your neighborhood, and you could wind up saving a bundle each year.

The Ultimate Guide to Hypermiling: 100 Driving and Car Tips and Resources

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:08am by admin

Hypermiling, or driving your car “in a manner that maximizes mileage,” has become more popular among drivers worldwide, as concerns over increasing gas prices and environmental issues heighten. Whether you’re trying to make a difference by helping the environment, or you’re just aiming to save a few more dollars at the pump each month, check out this ultimate guide to hypermiling, which provides tips and resources for smart driving.

Driving Tips

Below is a list of hypermiling tips that drivers can implement while behind the wheel. We recommend practicing one or two tips at a time and gradually working your way up to the whole list so that you aren’t overwhelmed.

  1. Drive a stick shift: If you’re used to driving automatic, switching over to a stick shift might take a little practice, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you have more control over the vehicle, you’ll be able to master more hypermiling tricks.
  2. Stop speeding: The harder you press the gas pedal, the more gas you’re using. If you’re driving over the speed limit, you might save time, but you’re definitely wasting gas and money. Slow down a little if you can so that you’re driving at or just below the actual speed limit.
  3. Coast instead of braking: When you see a stop sign up ahead or a traffic light turning yellow, immediately take your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down by itself. If you wait until the last possible minute to brake, then you’re wasting all the gas you used when you could have been slowing down.
  4. Cruise Control: One automatic setting that actually helps hypermiling is cruise control, which prevents “you from “creeping” up in speed without realizing it,” according to Epistolary.org.
  5. Put your car in neutral: Coasting with your car in neutral takes the burden off your gas pedal preventing you from wasting fuel. If you’re not driving in heavy traffic, experiment with this effective money saver.
  6. Lighten the load: The heavier your car is, the harder it has to work to propel itself forward. Empty out your trunk and backseat of ice chests, beach chairs, and other items that you’re not using to lighten the load.
  7. “Shift slow and low”: The site Epistolary.org urges drivers to “shift slow and low,” whenever possible to give your vehicle more mileage.
  8. Drafting: This technique comes with a warning sign: according to many hypermiling experts, it is incredibly dangerous. A “deliberate form of tailgating,” the forced auto stop involves turning off your car’s engine and then following closely behind the vehicle in front of you “in order to take advantage of the reduced wind resistance in [the other car's] immediate wake.”
  9. Find a route that’s easy on your vehicle: A story in the Washington Post discusses the benefits of “optimiz[ing] your route” when implementing hypermiling tricks. Instead of taking the scenic route to work, which could include more hills, twists, and dips, try finding a route that features level roads and less traffic lights or stop signs. Generally, “a longer route with better driving conditions” can use “less gas.”
  10. Park in the sun: The blogger Joe Future believes that parking your vehicle in the sun is a hypermiling tip for two reasons: “On a cold day, parking in the sun keeps your car warmer.” Also, a warmer car “will get to “auto-stop” mode faster than a cold car, so you’ll sit idling at fewer red lights while you’re waiting for auto-stop to kick in.”
  11. Roll down the windows if you’re not on the highway: After the scorching hot temperatures of the summer have retreated, stop blasting the air conditioner and roll down your windows. According to Drive.com.au, “It is generally accepted that air-conditioning increases fuel consumption by about 10 percent but winding down the windows increases drag, which is also an enemy of good fuel consumption.” If you’re going to be on the highway, keeping your A/C on low is still a good idea, but if you’re taking a joy ride, think about getting a little fresh air.
  12. Turn off the car before putting it in park: Joe Future suggests turning off your vehicle before putting it in park to save gas. If you don’t, “the gas engine will come on before you shut off the car.”
  13. Don’t leave the car running: It may seem like a good idea to let your car idle while you dash into the store to grab the milk or drop off a rented movie, but doing so wastes gas. Take the extra few seconds to pull into a real parking spot and turn the car off first.

Maintenance Tips

Taking your car for regular check ups is another easy way to maximize mileage. Check out these helpful maintenance hacks that will keep your car running smoothly and efficiently.

  1. Get an oil change: Keeping up with scheduled oil changes will help your engine run more easily. Adequate oil levels and lower-weight oil can also make a difference in how quickly your vehicle burns fuel
  2. Check your tire pressure: Tires that are beginning to lose air and go flat put more stress on your engine, making it work harder and burn more fuel. Keep a tire gauge in your car and frequently check the tire pressure.
  3. Engine Control Module: Your vehicle’s engine control module “controls various aspects of an internal combustion engine’s operation,” including the amount of fuel being used by the engine, the ignition timing, and the variable valve timing. Making sure your engine control module is working properly will help you gauge how much fuel your car is using on a regular basis.
  4. Tire Balance: If your tires aren’t balanced correctly, you could end up wearing out certain tires faster than others, causing them to lose air and forcing your engine to work harder. Get a check-up for your tires if you think yours are out of whack.
  5. Conduct a seasonal check up: During the winter, your car could become bogged down with extra weight from snow chains, heavier tires, or other items. During the summer, you’ll probably be using your air conditioner nearly every day. Before each season, give your car a check up to unburden it of needless weight and to make sure the engine, A/C and other systems are in proper order.

Articles

These articles are full of great hypermiling tips, which will teach you how to save yourself from driving to the gas station every week.

  1. Drive Further — on less gas!: This simple guide provides tips for everyday drivers, “even if you don’t go to the crazy lengths” of obsessed hypermilers.
  2. Jesus Would Drive a Stick Shift: This article details the pros and cons of driving a car with a manual transmission. Find out if it really is better for the environment.
  3. Save Money on Gas the Way the Pros Do: The Hybrid Car Review offers tips and links for maximizing mileage and saving money at the pump.
  4. Hypermiling: Quest for Ultimate Fuel Economy: This article from Edmunds.com explores creative hypermiling techniques, like babying the brakes and placing cardboard over the radiator.
  5. This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk: This article chronicles the experiences of legendary hypermiler Wayne Gerdes.
  6. Get 50 mpg — in your own car: It is possible to get great gas mileage in your current car. Learn how with the ideas presented in this article from MSN Money.
  7. “Hypermiling” the law enforcement way: Forget about life threatening hypermiling techniques. This article offers advice on safe, legal methods any driver can practice.
  8. How to Surge and Coast your way to better gas mileage: Find out how you can save gas money by hypermiling even if you have to drive in a major American city.
  9. Hypermilers: Common sense or insanity?: The Environmental Economics Blog considers whether or not hypermilers are a little too obsessed with saving gas.
  10. Slow and Steady: Hypermiler drivers make every drop of gas count: This article unveils the subculture of extreme hypermilers. Get tips and learn about other drivers’ experiences that could improve your car’s fuel economy.
  11. Hypermiling your fuel economy — The greenest extreme sport cars: Discover the newest, most extreme trends in hypermiling, racing, and driving accessories.
  12. Hypermiling: How I’m Fighting the Fuel War: This article explores how raising our cars’ mpg would cause us to “use that much less gas, save that much more money, be less addicted to foreign oil, and contribute to a greener planet.”
  13. Beating the EPA — The Whys and How to Hypermile: This article, pulled from the CleanMPG Forums, dissects traditional EPA estimates and makes a clever argument for hypermiling, based on graphs, statistics and testimonials.
  14. 73 mpg? Try to top that!: Follow the story of one Chicago hypermiler who aims to achieve the “best mileage ever.”

Hybrid Resources

Learn how to make the most of your hybrid experience by visiting the following websites and organizations which offer advice and information for hybrid car owners.

  1. Great Hybrid Cars: Find information on hybrid cars made by Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Nissan.
  2. HybridCars.com: This website includes guides for buying and maintaining hybrid cars, understanding the culture of hypermiling and driving hybrids, and general news about going green and preserving the environment.
  3. GreenHybrid: GreenHybrid is an interactive website full of pictures, forums, and articles about all kinds of hybrid vehicles.
  4. Hybrid Cars: Find out why you should buy a hybrid car with the information given on this website. Visitors can read a history of hybrids, find out how they work, and research the current cars already on the market.
  5. Hybrid Cars — Pros and Cons: This article from physorg.com includes a diagram of a Mercedes hybrid and provides helpful links to more reviews and information.
  6. How Stuff Works: Hybrids: Discover exactly how popular hybrid cars work, including the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.
  7. Hybrid Car Reviews: Compare prices, looks, and mileage with the help of this site.
  8. Hybrid Cars Guide: This “quick and easy guide” to hybrid cars features a glossary of terms, a history of hybrids, and an overview of the concept “going hybrid.”
  9. Hybrid Car Revolution: Stay on top of hybrid news and market updates by checking out the Hybrid Car Revolution.
  10. Hybrid Car Club: Talk about world energy issues, market news, and other fuel economy topics with hybrid enthusiasts on this site’s forums.
  11. Plug In America: This organization promotes “plug-in cars for a better America.” Check out the site for information and updates on plug-ins, networking and getting support for your car, and much more.
  12. Green Car Club: The Green Car Club “unites owners and enthusiasts of environmentally cleaner cars.” Visit their website to learn about the benefits of driving a green car and to link up with other environmentally-conscious drivers.
  13. Network for Good: The online community that puts everyday people in touch with their favorite charities also hosts a page just for hybrid lovers. Find out more about the movement, make a donation, or sign up to be a “virtual volunteer” and spread the word about how hybrids are helping the environment.
  14. Better World Club: The Better World Club is “dedicated to balancing economic goals with social and environmental responsibility.” Call them if you need an eco-friendly rental car or roadside assistance.

Expert Hypermilers

These men are lauded as a few of the leading experts on hypermiling. Look to them to find out about the newest tips for increasing your mileage.

  1. Wayne Gerdes: Wayne Gerdes is considered the inventor of hypermiling. Check out his interview with Marketplace Money to find out how and why.
  2. Bradlee Fons: Bradlee Fons is a frequent commentator and all around auto expert who is especially enthusiastic about hypermiling. This video shows him explaining to viewers how to get better gas mileage.
  3. Pat Goss: Pat Goss is the resident expert at Goss’ Garage on Washington Post Live and on the Motorweek TV Show. Tune in or email him questions to learn more about hypermiling and fuel economy.

Blogs

These blogs publish articles about fuel efficiency and hypermiling. Check them out for more information on increasing your vehicle’s MPG.

  1. Environmental Economics: Tim Haab and John Whitehead often discuss the effects that cars have on the environment.
  2. Foursprung: Foursprung “is the ultimate car gadgets blog,” but it sometimes includes posts about hypermiling.
  3. Blog It Out Your Pie Hole: This blog covers a wide range of topics, including the economy, oil and gas, and hypermiling.
  4. Autoblog Green: Catch up on what’s new in the world of environmentally conscious cars. Articles range from market news to upcoming events.
  5. Green Car: This blog covers what’s new in the hybrid car industry, new car reviews, and more.
  6. Green Car Advisor: The Green Car Advisor on Edmunds.com discusses “news and commentary on environmental automotive trends and technologies.” Recent articles include “White House Plans Own CAFE Plan If Congress Won’t Act” and “Fuel Economy, Greenhouse Gases Making News, But No Talk of Fuel Tax Hike.”
  7. Green-Car-Guide.com: Paul Clarke’s blog considers the effects of cars on our environment.
  8. Go Hybrid Blog: Still not convinced? Read the posts on this blog to find out why driving a hybrid car is better on your wallet and the environment.
  9. Bike Commute Tips Blog: If you can, leave your car at home and get around town on a bike. This blog shares tips on how to do it safely and quickly.
  10. Save Gas: This blog features stories about car news and shares tips for increasing gas mileage.
  11. Energy Conservation Awareness Blog: If you’re a hypermiler because you’re concerned about the environment, check out this blog to find more great tips for preserving our planet.
  12. Save Gas MPG Blog: Join others in the discussion about gas prices, mpg, and other hypermiling topics.
  13. Daily Fuel Economy Tip: Recent articles include: “The Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Gasoline Consumption” and “What’s Going to Replace Gasoline?”
  14. Live Green Blog: Access great tips for living a green lifestyle; including hypermiling and remaining conscious of your car’s fuel efficiency.
  15. Car Hacker: Car Hacker covers news about hybrid cars, fuel economy and more.

Best Cars for Hypermiling

If you’re in the market for a new car, check out these models for maximum fuel economy.

  1. Honda Civic Hybrid: The 2008 model boasts 45 mpg on the highway and comes with an idle-stop feature.
  2. Toyota Prius: The Toyota Prius is a favorite among green drivers. A push-button start, keyless entry, and “nearly 70% fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle” makes this car a smart choice.
  3. Honda Insight Hybrid: The Independent Honda Insight website provides visitors with an interactive guide to this “cleaner and more efficient” model that is super aerodynamic and environmentally friendly.
  4. Smart Fortwo: This adorable smart car has been popular in European countries for many years already. While it may have a hard time competing with gas-guzzling SUVs and monster trucks on American highways, its fuel efficiency is off the charts.
  5. Toyota Camry Hybrid: The Toyota Camry Hybrid was voted the “best mid-sized hybrid sedan” by ConsumerSearch.com because of its roomier interior.
  6. Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Driving a hybrid no longer means giving up your swanky SUV. The Toyota Highlander seats seven, but is still much more fuel efficient than a regular SUV.
  7. Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid: The Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid is a distinctly affordable hybrid car. It also “gets 25 percent better fuel economy than the gas-only version.”
  8. Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid: The Saturn Vue Hybrid is a compact hybrid SUV that costs much less than other gas-only SUVs, and perhaps “only a few hundred dollars more” than typical Saturn SUVs.
  9. Lexus GS Hybrid: Lexus is known for creating quality vehicles, and the GS Hybrid is no different. This environmentally-conscious car still features a sleek exterior and a luxurious interior.
  10. Nissan Altima Hybrid: The Nissan Altima Hybrid can run up to 702 miles on a single tank of gas.

Tips for Serious Hypermilers

These tips are for the truly dedicated. Hypermilers should consider themselves warned, however. Some of these techniques are very dangerous.

  1. Pulse and Glide: This guide provides detailed directions for the pulse and glide hypermiling technique. Accelerate quickly to a few miles above the speed limit, and then coast down to a few miles below the speed limit.
  2. Warp Stealth: Click here for a detailed guide for implementing Warp Stealth on a Toyota Prius. This technique is achieved when “the car moves solely under electric power without the engine running.”
  3. Ridge Riding: If you want to save gas during or after a hard rain, hug the right side of your lane, or the shoulder if you’re already driving in the far right lane, to avoid driving in the puddles created by other drivers. A more detailed explanation can be found here
  4. Drive in electric mode: Toyota Prius drivers know that driving in the all-electric mode is “advisable” at the very end of a trip because “the batteries will recharge [more] quickly on your next start-up.”
  5. Downhill run: If you’re driving downhill, take your foot off the gas pedal and coast all the way down until you absolutely must brake or give your car a little more gas.
  6. Gentle rise and descent: The gentle rise and descent technique is based on the concept that only a “small amount of additional throttle will accelerate the vehicle before the rise is reached,” so that “additional power may be maintained on most of the upgrade.”
  7. Accelerate moderately: Unless you’re trying to merge onto a busy highway, accelerating slowly preserves gas.
  8. Run all your errands during one trip: Instead of running your errands several different times a day or spread out during the week, try stopping at the grocery store, video store, dry cleaning and (heaven forbid) gas station during one single trip. If you’re driving an electric car, this cuts back on its start-up time.
  9. Park at the highest point in a parking lot: This tip from MSNBC suggests parking at the highest point in a parking lot so that gravity will “get your car moving” when you turn it on again.
  10. Cool yourself down with an ice vest: Hypermiler Wayne Gerdes refuses to turn on his car’s air conditioner even in the summer. Instead, he wears an ice vest to cool himself down inside his stuffy vehicle.

Other Helpful Resources

  1. Hybridfest: Hybridfest is “an annual hybrid car show and more” where hybrid and hypermiling enthusiasts get together to swap tips, tricks, and information about fuel economy and being green.
  2. CleanMPG Forums: Participate in hypermiling debates with other users while checking out informative articles about hybrids and the environment.
  3. MPG Calculator: Found on the Sierra Club website, this MPG calculator tells you how many miles per gallon your car probably gets, the amount of money you spend on gas per year, how much pollution your car emits and your potential savings if fuel economy standards were modernized.
  4. Valuing the Lives of Hypermilers: This tongue-in-cheek calculator from the Political Calculations blog bases its computation on the danger/benefits quotient of hypermiling. For example, is it really worth helping the environment if you’re putting your own life at risk by practicing dangerous hypermiling techniques?
  5. Hybrid Lovers: This online store features designs for t-shirts, bumper stickers, and coffee mugs, and other promotional items. Choose from slogans like “Hybrids Make it Last Longer” and “If America is Addicted to Oil, Then I’m in Rehab.”
  6. The Great Race: The legendary Great Race celebrates its centennial in 2008, as drivers race from New York to Paris. This year, hybrids will be joining the race.
  7. HyperMilers: This website chronicles “the quest for ultimate efficiency.” Check up on the latest hypermiling and oil and gas news, network on the forums, or click through photos of hybrid cars.
  8. Hypermilers: Who Are They and What Do They Do?: Read this article to find out more about hypermilers and their fuel economy obsession.
  9. Hypermilers Go to Extremes for Savings: This story from Good Morning America brings the basics of hypermiling to everyday drivers.
  10. Hypermiling.com: Discover the Hypermiling.com “how-to methods,” buy hypermiling t-shirts, and find links to more stories and news articles about “driving to save gas.”
  11. Take It Slow and Save Big on Gas: This article from CNN.com urges drivers to stop complaining about over-the-top gas prices and start using basic hypermiling techniques like activating cruise control and driving at or below the speed limit.
  12. How to Become a Hypermiler: Read the article and check out the comments to find the best tips for hypermiling.
  13. Strategies for Smart Car Buyers: If you’re in the market for a fuel-efficient car, check out this guide to buying hybrids.
  14. Tailgating That Semi? Bad Idea: This article from the Car Buyer’s Notebook cautions drivers against tailgating or drafting behind large trucks just to save gas.
  15. 10 Ways to Boost Your MPG: Use Wayne Gerdes’ ten tips to maximize your vehicle’s mileage every time you get behind the wheel.
  16. Microtrends: Hypermiling: The Times tackles the hypermiling trend in this article.