What’s the impact of your daily commute? It’s bigger than you think. Your individual gas-powered vehicle creates a large amount of air pollution and greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The average commute to work is about 12 miles, and roughly 90 percent of us drive to work alone. In most urban areas, automobile emissions contribute to poor air quality and smog problems that can have potentially severe health effects for you, your family, and your neighbors.
Could one less day of driving really help? Yes. A third of carbon dioxide (C02) emissions in the U.S. come from daily driving. An
average car driven 12,000 miles per year emits about six tons of CO2. It would take 500 mature trees to absorb this amount of CO2.
If all 230 million cars operated in the U.S. were driven one less day per year, the nation would reduce its fuel consumption by 170 million gallons per year.
Initial estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from aviation are responsible for about 12 percent of transportation emissions.
Work from home: Do business from your desk or home office instead of flying and driving to meetings by using online solutions that let you chat, video conference, give presentations, and share/edit documents around the world. It saves time, money, and energy while reducing emissions. Plus, it’s convenient. Learn more about telecommuting.
Use your own steam: By simply walking or riding a bike, you have a positive impact on the environment and your health. While improving your cardiovascular health, you’ll generate zero emissions.
Plan your trips: When you’re running errands, plan your stops before you leave the house. Map out your most efficient route and combine trips when possible.
Get regular service: A well-maintained car improves performance by 40 percent. Get the oil changed, check the brakes, exhaust, and tire pressure. A well-kept car will consume less fuel, pump out fewer GHGs, and last longer, which helps the environment long-term.
Try an efficient option: Look for fuel efficiency when choosing your next car. Consider fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles that run on electricity and gasoline. Check out the EPAs Green Vehicle Guide and learn more about hybrid vehicles at HybridCars.org.
Be smart about the A/C: Don’t use air conditioning when you don’t have to. When you do, make fuel-conscious decisions. On short trips around town, you’ll use less gas if you keep the A/C off and roll down the windows instead. But when you get on the highway it’s the opposite. Driving with the windows up will reduce drag. Using the A/C on long trips will actually save gas.
Don’t idle the engine: An idling car emits up to 20 times more carbon than a car going 32 MPH. Idling wastes up to half a gallon of gas per hour. If you know you’ll be waiting in one place, find a parking place and turn off your engine.
Remove roof racks: If you have roof racks or cargo carriers on your car, remove them when they aren’t in use. They reduce aerodynamic efficiency, which increases fuel consumption.
Keep your car tires properly inflated. It’ll greatly increase efficiency and save you money.
Don’t rush. Smooth acceleration and braking save gas and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle. Drive 60 MPH on the highway. Cars run most efficiently at this speed, and you can save a whopping 20 to 30 percent on fuel by sticking to it.