Today I was at Walmart searching for, among other things, some new eco-friendly washer fluid for my vehicle. I typically don’t give much thought to purchasing washer fluid, but something struck me when I was looking at the 5 or so different choices.
There was an eco-friendly alternative for wiper fluids.
Of course, there was, why wouldn’t there be. It seems that going eco-friendly or “green” is in vogue, and consumers will gladly pay a premium for eco-friendly products. Such consumers typically buy and give little thought going into whether or not the product was actually produced as they claim. (I do this on occasion) At first thought, I figured this was just a well-disguised attempt to separate me from my scarce financial resources.
Upon further investigation, wiper fluid is typically hefty stuff, as the majority of the wiper fluids have some sort of anti-freezing agent in them. It used to be methanol, but due to its known harmful effects (blindness, among other things) now they typically use ethanol and ethylene glycol (more commonly known as antifreeze).
So, did getting the green washer fluid really matter in this case? The antifreeze is a key ingredient in the fluid in the winter (quick tip: if there’s frost on the windshield in the morning and you don’t have time to wait for the defroster to heat up, spray some wiper fluid on it. will melt the frost), and removing the things that make the wiper fluid not freeze would drastically decrease performance, and ultimately, my satisfaction with the product.
So, what’s a green-conscious consumer to do?
Well, as mentioned before, the eco-friendly wiper fluid only went down to 32 degrees. I bought two gallons of green washer fluid to use for the summertime, and when wintertime comes back (in 3 months) I’ll use the eco-unfriendly stuff unless I can find an alternative. Not only did I get the eco-friendly product, but it was also 50 cents or so cheaper than the regular washer fluid.
- Have things gotten too “green”? You can find green things everywhere these days, but who really cares if your wiper fluid is eco-friendly or your superman underwear contains 100% organic cotton
- Would you sacrifice performance to stay green?