September 19-25th is the EPA’s Pollution Prevention Week, a time to consider the impact of daily habits and commit to making them a little more green.
Humans are constantly on the move. Unlike societies past, we’ve invented numerous ways to zoom from place to place. Trips that used to take days or even weeks are now accomplished in a matter of hours. The only problem is that most planes, trains, and automobiles require fossil fuels to run their combustion engines. And that means transportation creates a lot of pollution in our atmosphere.
The good news is, it’s easier than ever to travel green, reducing your personal contribution to global carbon emissions (and saving some money while you’re at it!)
1. Vehicle Maintenance and Driving Habits
Did you know that just keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance can help your car or truck achieve maximum efficiency?
* Getting regular oil changes and using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent.
* Keeping tires properly inflated and wheels aligned reduces tire drag on the road. Gas mileage drops 1 percent for every pound of air below the recommended tire pressure.
* Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
* Drive the speed limit; avoid high speeds. You can improve your gas mileage about 15 percent by driving at 55 mph rather than 65 mph.
2. Public Transportation
When available, utilizing public transit systems like high-speed rail and buses is a great way to drastically reduce transportation pollution while also helping to support local infrastructure. By leaving your car at home just two days a week, you can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds per year.
In areas where public transportation options are limited or unavailable, consider bike sharing, walking, car pooling or using a car sharing service to help get you where you’re going without the high cost of maintaining a personal car.
3. Change Your Car
If it’s not possible for you to go carless, think about changing the type of car you drive. Hybrid vehicles are quite common and dropping rapidly in price. These cars combine an electric battery with a combustion engine to help save gas and limit emissions.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, and all-electric vehicle like the Nissan LEAF or Chevy Volt make it possible to drive without creating any pollution at all. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if your electricity comes from a coal-fired or nuclear power plant, there are still some emissions associated with driving an electric car…but it’s a vast improvement to gasoline!
Do you have other tips for greening up your transportation routine?
Article by Beth Buczynski, appearing courtesy Crisp Green.