Habits can be hard to kick. Many people need a unique catalyst in order to ditch habits they’ve long wanted to put in their rearview mirrors. New Year’s Day is one notable example of a unique event that compels millions of people to make positive changes every year.

Though it might not be a cause for celebration like the dawn of a new year, increased awareness of climate change and its effects could be the catalyst many people need to make positive, planet-friendly changes to their daily routines.

Driving habits are one area where individuals can alter their daily routines in ways that benefit the planet. These eco-friendly alterations can be instituted each day by individuals who want to do their part to combat climate change.

Avoid aggressive driving

Aggressive driving is both a safety risk and a threat to the environment. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage in light-duty vehicles by as much as 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic and by as much as 30 percent at highway speeds.

Avoid idling

Many drivers have long relied on idling to warm up their vehicles on cold mornings. However, modern vehicles do not need to warm up in temperatures above 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celcius). It’s important that drivers recognize this, as idling wastes fuel and increases the amount of vehicle exhaust in the air. Vehicle exhaust increases air pollution and contains pollutants that have been linked to asthma, additional lung diseases and heart disease. A far more effective and considerably less harmful way to warm up a vehicle is to do so for 30 seconds and then drive slowly for the first few minutes.

Purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle

Drivers looking for their next vehicle can prioritize fuel efficiency if they want their driving habits to have a smaller carbon footprint. Electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and cleaner-burning gasoline vehicles are among the more efficient and less polluting cars and trucks.

Make fewer trips

Many driving trips are taken for social, recreational, shopping, or family/personal errands. By combining these trips, drivers can greatly reduce their driving miles. Fewer trips conserve fuel and can reduce air pollution. Opt for public transit, walking and biking instead of driving when possible.

If the ethical considerations are not enough to convince you to change your habits, maybe the financial benefits can give you a nudge in the eco direction! That’s right – eco-friendly driving will save you money. Driving in a better way for the environment means reducing fuel consumption. Less fuel consumed means fewer dollars spent at the gas station. It’s as simple as that!