Climate Change: What You Can Do On the Road
By: the Environmental Protection Agency
The burning of fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change, but these emissions can be reduced by improving your car’s fuel efficiency. You can take the following actions to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the nation's dependence on oil and save money. For more information, there are also a number of transportation tools available to estimate emissions from transportation and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that can be reduced through specific activities.
Before buying a new or used vehicle (or even before renting a vehicle), check out EPA's Green Vehicle Guide and the jointly-run EPA/DOE Fuel Economy Guide. These resources provide information about the emissions and fuel economy performance of different vehicles. The Green Vehicle Guide provides detailed information on emissions (including Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas scores for each model) and the Fuel Economy Guide focuses on fuel efficiency (including side-by-side fuel economy comparisons and a customized fuel cost calculator). These Web sites are designed to help you choose the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. There are a wide range of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles available on the market today that produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Many factors affect the fuel economy of your car. To improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy by as much as 5 percent. Use overdrive and cruise control on your car if you have those features. For more tips to improve your gas mileage, visit the Fuel Economy Guide.
Tune your ride
A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, is more reliable, and is safer! Keep your car well tuned, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and use the recommended grade of motor oil. Also check and replace your vehicle’s air filter regularly. For more details, including potential savings from these actions, visit the Fuel Economy Guide Web site.
Check your tires
Check your tire pressure regularly. Under-inflation increases tire wear, reduces your fuel economy by up to 3 percent and leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions and releases of air pollutants. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door to the glove compartment or on the driver's-side door pillar. More details on the Fuel Economy Guide Web site.
Give your car a break
Use public transportation, carpool or walk or bike whenever possible to avoid using your car. Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year. Whenever possible, combine activities and errands into one trip. For daily commuting, consider options like telecommuting (working from home via phone or over the Internet) that can reduce the stress of commuting, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save you money.
Use Renewable Fuels
Both E85 and biodiesel are renewable fuels that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from your vehicle. E85 is a fuel blend containing 85% ethanol that can be used in certain vehicles called Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). FFVs can be fueled with E85 or with traditional gasoline. There are approximately 6 million FFVs on the road today. To find out if you own one of them, check the inside of your car's fuel filler door for an identification sticker or consult your owner’s manual. If you own a diesel vehicle, consider filling up with a biodiesel blend such as B5, a fuel blend containing 5% biodiesel. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from agricultural resources such as vegetable oils. The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator can help you locate both E85 and biodiesel fuel stations in your area.