I still remember my dad’s 1978 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Whenever he and I stopped along the way on our adventures, he would always back into the parking space. It was almost ceremonial; he would swing wide to line the car up just right, place the ball of his left hand on the wheel, and pass his right arm just over my head so his hand was on the passenger headrest. With a slow smooth turn of the steering wheel, the car would glide into the space just right.

Believe it or not, he was doing something sustainable. I know—you’re thinking, “The only way to get a ’78 Caddi green is paint it.” As it turns out, backing into a parking space can be good for the environment. Now that I’m an adult I find myself backing into parking spaces just like dad did (minus some of the finesse), but I always justified it as being safer than pulling in forwards. There is less chance of hitting another car while backing into a space than there is while backing out into traffic. Also, it’s easier to leave a dangerous situation if you can pull straight out.

Now I have another reason to swing wide and glide into a space: turns out, it more fuel efficient. Studies show that it takes considerably more fuel to back up when the engine is cold than it does when it is warm. This means you help the environment and save a little money. So if you haven’t been able to start your personal green initiative head-on, take a cue from my dad and back into it.