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Think You’re Truly Green? Your Dirty Car Will Prove It As Drought Forces Lifestyle Changes

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Workers wash a van at a car wash on January 29, 2014 in San Francisco.  Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency for California as the state faces water shortfalls in what is expected to be the driest year in state history. Residents are being asked to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20%. Some counties are imposing mandatory reductions and banning the watering of lawns.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Workers wash a van at a car wash on January 29, 2014 in San Francisco. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency for California as the state faces water shortfalls in what is expected to be the driest year in state history. Residents are being asked to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20%. Some counties are imposing mandatory reductions and banning the watering of lawns. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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EL CERRITO (KPIX) — Washing your car not only racks up your water bill, but it’s wasteful, not environmentally friendly, and could even become illegal as the drought worsens, but the East Bay Municipal Utility District found a few ways to improve the century-old weekend chore.

Water meter minders like Andrea Pook of the East Bay MUD said washing a car at home can be the most wasteful way to wash your car. A ten-minute spray with a regular garden hose can use more than 100 gallons of water.

COMPLETE DROUGHT COVERAGE: CBSSF.com/drought

In addition, it’s not good for the environment because all the oils, grease and soap get washed down the storm drain.

One water saving alternative is to use a low-flow nozzle.  For example, a five-minute wash will cut water use from 100 gallons down to just ten to fifteen gallons.

Professional car washes can be costly but many are water conscious.  A full-service car wash uses 8 to 45 gallons.  And most of the water used is recycled water.

But an even more drought resistant method these days is something called waterless car washing.  Anton Van Happen owns Eco Green Auto Clean which uses biodegradable solvents and only one cup of water.

“Instead of scrubbing, we’re just lifting loose dirt off the surface of the car, and with a dry towel, we’re drying it,” said Van Happen. Eco Green charges $15 to $20 per car for one of it’s green car washes.

But Pook said the best way to save money and water is to give up on car washes altogether. Pook said, “There’s nothing wrong with a dirty car during a drought.”

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