I am going to talk about something a little unusual today. Something a bit off topic if you don’t mind. It is related to veganism in a way, in a way that we try to have less of an impact in the environment. For those of us that drive, and it is unavoidable for those of us who live in smaller cities and towns that don’t have a great public transportation infrastructure, there are certain things that are unavoidable for maintenance. Oil and tire changes, replacing brakes, and replacing your air filter. The thing is, replacing your air filter is avoidable. How you might ask? Well there are air filters that are cleanable. I personally have one, made by K&N.
Now the main drawback is there is a bit of an upfront price. $40+ (USD) to buy the filter, and you also have to clean and reoil the filter every 50,000 miles. The cleaning/oil kit costs $14 a piece, however they will last for 2-3 cleaning cycles. However if you compare it to the cost of a regular air filter that you are replacing every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, it is a lot cheaper in the long run, plus you are not throwing away an air filter either.
For the data people out there, let’s compare. Currently my car has 150,000+ miles on it, so I will use it as an example.
I think I paid around $50 for my filter, I have also bought 2 kits. Total $78.
If I had replaced a traditional air filter every 10,000 miles (note: depending on your vehicle, how dusty your area is, and other conditions this number is fluid) at $18 a filter this cost is $270
As you can see I have saved a potential $72-$192 depending on how often I would have needed to change my air filter. It can get windy and dusty where I live, so changing every 10,000 is not unreasonable.
Now, lets get into the vegan and environmental part of this. I would have had to buy around 15 air filters by now, these would have ended up in the landfill, plus the energy and materials used to make these paper and rubber filters, the energy used to deliver the filters, and all the other hidden environmental costs. So this one part that is considered disposable I have made into a reusable item. The K&N filter is made with cotton, rubber, aluminum, and oil and will last for the lifetime of your car. So it is pretty clear that this is can be something just a bit less impactful. Sometimes we don’t see the little things we do or a auto mechanic does for us and how much of an impact it has. Do you use a K&N filter? What do you with your car that helps the environment?
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