Greening your lifestyle is tricky, but greening your auto is downright complex. Should you switch to electric? Is a hybrid good enough? And just where can you get biodiesel these days? It’s enough to make even the eco-friendliest heads spin. But have no fear. Popular Science knows that switching from fossil fuels requires some ingenuity, and we’ve culled some tips to make the, uh, ride smoother.

1. Run it on batteries

A small yellow-green convertible car with batteries under the hood and a man leaning over into the passenger compartment.
A hood full o’ batteries. Brandon Stafford

Say goodbye to gas altogether by converting your ride to run entirely off a hoodful of rechargeable battery power. Many different car models can be modded—check out for instructions, help finding parts, and listings of electric vehicles for sale.

2. Veg out

A car gas tank with an ear of corn stuffed into it.
Please don’t stick an actual ear of corn into your gas tank, though. Courtesy of

Biodiesel not eco-friendly enough for you? Head to to learn how to modify your engine so that it runs purely on even cheaper and quieter-running recycled cooking oil. It’s easier, too: To fill up, just head to a fast-food joint when the fryers are being cleaned out.

3. Only drive virtually

A man inside a driving simulator inside a real car.
That’s one way to cut down on your emissions. Courtesy of

The gearheads at hacked an old Renault and turned it into the ultimate driving simulator. The car’s original steering wheel and gauges all still function, but now they’re used to maneuver the driver through a virtual Nascar race.

4. Plug in your hybrid

A small silver electric car plugged into a roadside outlet.
It charges while you’re shopping. Frank Hebbert

Kick up that Prius to 100 mpg by skipping the gas tank for local driving. will show you how to load any hybrid with batteries and mod it to charge from a standard outlet. Keep your speed down to stay on electric, and over time you will defray much of the $5,000 cost of the project.

5. Make your own gas

A woman wearing clear safety goggles squatting next to a dirty white plastic container full of biodiesel.
You should know how to store the stuff, too. Courtesy of

Run your diesel car on homemade biodiesel fuel, which is cleaner, less expensive and better for your engine than the stuff you buy at the pump. Go to to get the delicious recipe of cooking oil, drain cleaner and methanol.