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The Green Life: How We Roll: 5 Great Eco-Products for Cars

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July 10, 2013

How We Roll: 5 Great Eco-Products for Cars

Of course you'd rather take the bus. Or the train. Or ride your bike. Or walk! But the reality is that 97% of Sierra Club members own at least one car, and presumably drive it occasionally. It's a statistic we hope gets better soon. But until it does, those of us who still burn dinosaur bones to get around can make sure that our car-care products, at least, are responsible. These five vehicle accoutrements will help green your ride. 

Yokohama tireFuel is made of petroleum. So are most tires. But natural rubber helps YOKOHAMA'S Avid Ascend tire prevent using up more than 100 gallons of gas — and letting out more than 2,100 pounds of CO2 — over its life. That says a lot, given that this reinvented wheel goes 17,000 miles farther than most. Its rolling resistance rate is 20% lower than that of conventional tires, but performance doesn't suffer: Grooves channel water away while orange oil improves grip and reduces the need for virgin rubber. Price varies by region; check with dealers (If you prefer to invest in high-quality used tires, check out champtires.com.) Waterless car wash

Running your vehicle through a car wash uses more than 45 gallons of water and lots of chemical suds. The hose-in-the-driveway method can waste even more, and the grimy runoff goes into storm drains. Instead, use the Waterless Car Wash by ECO TOUCH, a popular product that evokes Karate Kid Zen: Just spray on, then wipe off. Your car will look shiny, clean, scratch-free. And the liquid is biodegradable, phosphate-free, and nontoxic, since its key ingredients are plant-derived. Thanks to citrus essential oils, it smells nice too. $13 for a 24-ounce bottle Valvoline

You'd think nothing could be more petrochemical than motor oil, but VALVOLINE has good options both conventional and synthetic. The brand's MaxLife NextGen High Mile Motor Oil is 50% recycled and double-refined to extend engine life and improve fuel efficiency. It's manufactured via a process that uses 90% less energy than cranking out standard engine oil. $5.50 for a 1-quart bottle Lubricheck

If you could give your car a blood test, would you? Sebastian Blanco, the lead blogger for AOL's AutoblogGreen, alerted us to a device called LUBRICHECK. "In only a few minutes," Blanco says, "it'll help you tell if your oil is still good, which could spread out your trips to the service bay." Pull out your car’s dipstick, drip a few drops onto Lubricheck’s gold-colored sensor pad, and it spits out a 1-to-10 digit that lets you know whether you can keep riding on your lube: The lower the number, the less urgent your oil change. $40 Amala

Forget those dangling trees. They may be shaped like the Sierra Club's logo, but there's nothing natural about those chemical-swathed "pines." To freshen your car, choose an organic plant-oil spray like AMALA's spritzable mists in peppermint, lavender, or rose (all of which work on clothes too—so long, Febreze!). The German company never tests on animals and is certified by Natrue$24

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