It pays to ride green

Some colleges and universities are rewarding students who use greener transportation. San Diego City College has reserved 33 prime parking spots for hybrids and other high-fuel-efficiency vehicles, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The paper also reported that Stanford University actually pays students and employees up to $282 a year for not driving at all or for carpooling. And freshmen at Ripon College in Wisconsin who agreed not to drive received a Trek mountain bike, helmet and lock—all worth about $450.

Bike-sharing programs are also taking hold at places like the University of California-San Diego, and car-sharing service Zipcar is available at more than 100 college campuses in the nation.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Va., began Fuel $mart Fridays, which allows students to take all their classes on Fridays, saving the average student from driving an estimated 80 miles a week, or 1,280 miles a semester.

And the University of Nevada, Reno offers discount RTC bus passes to students through its Wolf Pass program, as well as discounted passes for the Carson City-to–Reno commuter bus. The Sierra Spirit, which runs from the university to downtown, is free.