Earth Day Special: 7 simple steps to less driving

1. On a map of your town, find the location of your home. Place the point of a divider compass there, and draw a circle with a two-mile radius.

2. Now mark with a highlighter the places that you regularly visit: your workplace, grocery store, place of worship, day care center, and any other place you visit at least once every two weeks.

3. Choose one of the places that falls within the circle and commit to walking, biking, or taking transit to it instead of driving. (More than one-quarter of Americans’ daily automobile trips are a mile or less. Almost 14 percent are less than half a mile, a 10-minute walk.)

4. Take note of the unbeatable benefits of walking. "Walking helps put me back in touch with nature, back in touch with myself," writes car-free commuter Troy Holter from Montana. "I notice the more subtle aspects of the natural environment: a change of color, delicate sounds, the feel of air on my skin, my body connecting with itself."

5. Every couple of weeks, commit to walking, biking, or taking transit to another location within the circle.

6. Begin choosing places outside the two-mile radius and see if you can find a closer alternative.

7. Now assess your new transportation needs. Total up all your household’s driving and calculate whether occasional taxi rides and car rentals wouldn’t be cheaper than paying all the bills for two—or even one—car.

The list above is from Katy Alvord's book, Divorce Your Car! Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile.