Climate change is real — but the world will certainly not end in 10 to 20 years. Saving the environment isn’t a pressing concern among most people — especially when it will cost them more than a few dollars. However, some environmental practices virtually cost nothing — you’ll even get to save a bit of money.
Gas prices are going up, and the cost of electric vehicles is going down. The average cost of a gas-guzzling car stands at $36,000. A few electric cars sell for a lot lower than that — a Tesla Model 3 sells for $35,000, and a Nissan leaf sells for $30,000. The average American driver spends $3,000 in gas a year, and that number is expected to rise in 2020.
Charging an electric car (especially at home) costs a lot less than filling up on gas. Mileage has long been a non-issue — as most electric vehicles can drive for 150-300 miles on a full charge. Electric vehicles have outperformed standard vehicles in every aspect of driving except mileage. They are faster, easier to drive, quieter, and safer.
Depending on state incentives, you might even get the best auto loan rate in Utah for your vehicles, whether it’s electric car or an RV. But going electric is one of the best options to reduce urban air pollution. Most developed countries are aiming to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels — electric vehicles are a perfect fit for their aims.
According to Tesla’s Elon Musk, the energy needs of the US could by covering a small corner of Utah or Nevada with solar panels. While the premise is flawed, especially when you take in nighttime electrical use and long-distance transmission loss, solar power is still a great option for individual homes.
The typical American family consumes 30kwH of electricity a day — costing an average of $115 a month. An 8-kW solar energy system that produces 40kWh a day can cover your house’s electrical needs while sending extra electricity to the grid for your nighttime consumption — dropping your electric bill to zero.
A system like that would cost around $14,000-$16,000 (minus any state incentives if any). With the right financing plan (5 or 10 years) and the savings on your electric bill, you’ll only be paying a few extra dollars for your panels every month.
A solar power system can operate for 30 to 40 years before losing 20 percent of its efficiency — giving you 20 to 30 years of free electricity and saving $27,000-$40,000. The US relies on fossil fuel for 80 percent of its power production. A solar power system will cut your reliance on the grid and minimize your indirect carbon footprint.
Grow a Garden
A vegetable garden in your backyard will save you a bit of money and assure you that the greens you eat are free from chemicals and toxins. Growing a garden also reduces your trips to the market or grocery — saving a bit on fuel.
Add a bit of composting for fertilizer, and you’ll be reducing your waste production significantly. Forty percent of food in the US is thrown out. Composting will minimize your waste and make your vegetables healthier. The National Gardening Association estimates that a 600-sq ft garden can produce more than $600 worth of vegetables each year.
If saving the environment isn’t enough to motivate you to action — perhaps saving a bit of money in the process will. Solar panels, electric cars, and backyard gardens are virtually free — with the savings you get outweighing their cost.