Individual Actions You can Take to Improve Air Quality
As You Travel
Driving has hidden costs. Consider the tips below for saving money and emissions.
Take mass transit, share a ride or car pool.
Even if you do it just once or twice a week, youll reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and save money. It costs roughly between 49 cents and 72 cents per mile (depending on car size and type) to own and operate a vehicle.
Ride your bike or walk instead of driving. Its a great way to travel and it can help you and the air get into condition. Vehicles on the road create more than 25% of all air pollution nationwide.
Avoid rush hours and listen to the traffic report before you go.
Congested conditions with their slow speeds and stop-and-go movement increase air pollution and expose drivers to higher ozone and carbon monoxide levels. Start work early and leave early (or late) if you can to avoid congestion. Better yet, tele-commute, and see if you can occasionally work at home.
Plan your trips before you go. It's easy! Combining errands into one trip and listening to the traffic report before you leave home. When you know before you go, you get things done and it helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. When you first start a car after it has been sitting for more than an hour, it pollutes up to five times more than when the engine's warm.
Take it slow when you go.
Driving faster than the speed limit reduces your fuel efficiency and increases the pollution your car emits. Be kind to your engine and your wallet by avoiding jack-rabbit starts. When you accelerate gently and anticipate the need to slow down or stop, your vehicle will show its appreciation by giving you as much as two extra miles per gallon.
Fuel later in the day and tighten your gas cap.
Refueling during the evening and tightening your gas cap can prevent the creation of ozone by reducing harmful fumes from escaping and baking in the sun. You can save up to 30 gallons of gasoline a year by making sure your gas cap is properly sealed.
Don't top off your gas tank.
Ever wonder why the nozzle trigger doesn't catch when you first start pumping gasoline? Reason: the prior user topped off their gas tank causing gas to get sucked into the pumps vapor recovery system and temporarily clogging the line. When you use that pump next, the trigger clicks several times to clear the vapor recovery line. So those extra couple cents you thought you squeezed into your tank most likely were sucked back into the station. When the nozzle clicks off, stop so you can save money and save the air.
Don't let your vehicle idle for more than ten seconds.
Idling can consume as much as a gallon of gas per hour and wastes more fuel than restarting the engine.
Care for your car.
Regular maintenance and tune-ups, changing the oil and checking tire inflation can improve gas mileage, extend your cars life and increase its resale value. Properly inflated tires are safer and can save you up to 10% of the fuel your car would otherwise burn.
Consider everything before you buy.
If you move, choose a location to live that reduces the need to drive. Pick a place closer to where you work, businesses you frequent, and a bus line. Also, think twice before you purchase an additional car. Not having an extra car will discourage you from making unnecessary car trips and force you to make more effective use of the car you have. If you must purchase a car, buy a fuel-efficient vehicle (that gets at least 30 mpg).
Be an Eco-Driver.
Your personal style of driving could have a significant impact on the environment. The importance of eco-driving is often underestimated, but you can make a difference. By driving in a more careful and environmentally responsible way, you can be a safer driver while you cut exhaust emissions, save fuel, and at the same time -- save yourself some money at the gas pump.