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April 01, 2009

Saving Money While Saving The Environment

This post was written by guest writer Megan Fletcher, an intern for Global Warming and Energy.

Don’t let retail costs of energy efficient and environmentally friendly products fool you. Investing in clean energy products will actually save you cash and save the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Purchasing something as small as reusable grocery bags and as large as fuel efficient vehicles are great investments that will save you money in the long run.

The average family uses roughly 1,000 plastic bags annually to haul their purchases home from supermarkets and drug stores. While the cost of a plastic bag to the consumer may seem “free”, the environmental costs are high. A reusable canvas bag will help cut our greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the energy and petroleum needed to make plastic bags. A reusable bag usually costs about one dollar to purchase and every time the bag is reused, about five cents per bag is deducted from your purchase. If you reuse the bag at least 20 times, it has paid for itself and then begins to pay you

Once you have committed to one dollar reusable bags it is time for a larger purchase - energy efficient light bulbs. Energy efficient bulbs save consumers money on energy bills because they use 75 percent less energy and last up to ten times longer than standard bulbs. Per bulb, a consumer will see a $30 price savings on energy bills in its lifetime. Energy efficient light bulbs are not only friendly to your pocketbook but to our environment. If every household in America replaced just one light bulb with an energy efficient bulb, the emissions reductions would be equivalent to emissions of 800,000 cars. 

Another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money is to purchase a fuel efficient car. A 2009 Toyota Prius will cost a consumer $22,000 to purchase. With fuel economy at 48/45 it will cost consumers on average $640 per year in fuel costs. Compared to a popular car, the Chevy Malibu, it will cost the consumer relatively the same amount to buy the car, but with a MPG rating of 33/22, the Malibu will cost between $1,200 to $1,500 in annual fuel costs, not including higher environmental costs associated with more greenhouse gas pollution.

Don’t let up-front costs fool you - there are simple ways that you can save money while protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Even in an economic recession you can make smart purchases that will return your investment in an environmentally friendly way.



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