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Need to get places but want to go easier on the environment and natural resources? Here are a few things to consider when buying a greener car.

Buying a car is a big deal, and so is protecting the environment from the effects of automobile emissions. You can combine the two by shopping smart and shopping green. Many models and makes are now available that reduce emissions without sacrificing speed, style, and efficiency. Before you start shopping for a new set of eco-friendly wheels, here are a few things to consider when buying a greener car and things you can do to make your standard car run cleaner.

Electric Cars
It finally feels like we're living in the future now that electric cars are available. Quiet, smooth-running, and incapable of producing carbon monoxide and other toxic gases produced by internal combustion, electric cars are mostly green. They also tend to be manufactured from materials that have been recycled and can be recycled again once their working lifespan is over. That takes a very long time, though, since the batteries that run electric cars are far more efficient and longer-lasting than typical car batteries (and they can be recycled as well). While not perfectly clean—the batteries produce some gases that aren't great for the environment, and they do require electricity, which means resources are being used up at the power station—they're a vast improvement over gas burners and save on resources. You do need access to a charger, and it takes a while to charge up, but it'll cut down on your weekly trips to the gas station and save you money.

Hybrid Cars
Hybrids combine electric and gas engines. Hybrid prices run lower than those of electric cars. They're just about as eco-friendly since the cooperation between the gas and electric engine means you're burning less fuel and making fewer trips to fill'er up. They share the quality of being quieter with electric cars, and by most reports, require less upkeep because the gas engine isn't overtaxed. Once again, the benefits of a hybrid are revealed in the price, and you may need to find a mechanic who knows their way around your new car's engine, but in the long run, you're doing a good thing for the planet's future.

Driving Smarter
But say you can't pick up a fancy new electric or hybrid car. That's all right because there are plenty of modern makes and models that are fuel-efficient and produce low emissions. Volkswagen, Honda, Chevrolet, and BMW, among others, all produce vehicles that get maximum miles per gallon both in the city and on the highway. But whatever car you drive, here are a few other things to consider when buying a greener car or a standard one. Drive less and take public transportation more often. Finally, bring in your car for regular maintenance, keeping the tires at their proper pressure and all the fluids clean and topped off. Doing so will help your vehicle run more efficiently and cleaner than if you don't.