Did you see that sign on the freeway informing you that tomorrow will be another “High Pollution Advisory Day” and urged you to rely on public transit, carpool, or telecommute? While we all can do a little something to help reduce our carbon footprint, public transportation and other options such as purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle aren’t always viable options. So, what can you do to “do your part?” Drive green. By making simple adjustments to your driving style or making other minor changes, you can help reduce the amount of pollutants your car emits. Just think, if everyone would apply these simple changes, we may all be able to breathe cleaner air and experience fewer High Pollution days.
Phoenix is ranked number seven in the most ozone-polluted metropolitan areas. With 1.6 million residents in the Phoenix Metro area, driving and sitting in traffic, it’s no surprise, really. Ozone is an invisible and odorless gas that can be hazardous to our health and the health of our planet. Luckily, automotive manufacturers are producing more Earth-friendly vehicles from more efficient emissions systems to entirely electric engines. Follow our top green driving tips:
- Buy a car that is fuel-efficient with low emissions. Certain engine types such as diesel vehicles, for example, are more efficient than gasoline. Power also fuel efficiency; 4-cylinder engines are far more efficient than V6 or V8 engines. More often than not, vehicles that are more fuel-efficient are also likely to have lower emissions. Because of recent mandates by the EPA, more and more car makers are producing more fuel-efficient vehicles while also reducing greenhouse gases.
- Better your driving habits. While what you drive can make an impact, how you drive that car also makes a difference in reducing your carbon footprint. Avoid quick takeoffs and slamming on the brakes. Also, on long, flat stretches of roads, use cruise control. Cruise control assists your car in saving fuel by maintaining a constant speed. Do not allow your vehicle to idle for any period of time over one minute. Instead, turn off your engine if you intend to stay put for any length of time. Reduce the weight your car carries by removing heavy objects and unnecessary items from your car or trunk.
- Avoid the rush. During rush hours and in heavy traffic, there is an increase in acceleration and braking, wasting fuel. If you’re able to travel during times when traffic is lighter, you won’t constantly be hitting the brakes and giving it gas.
- Don’t make special trips. If you have a bunch of errands to run, create a plan to drive to each location as efficiently as possible. Not only is zig-zagging about town a waste of your gas, but it’s also releasing more emissions into the air.
- Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained. Manufacturers have programmed your vehicle’s internal computer to operate efficiently. However, in order for your vehicle to sustain these operations, it must be finely tuned from time to time. Keeping up with routine maintenance keeps your vehicle functioning optimally.
- Inspect your tires on a regular basis. Tires in poor condition or that are not properly inflated are not only a risk to your safety on the road, they can also reduce your gas mileage and cause your vehicle to release more harmful emissions into the environment. The optimal PSI for your tires is posted just on the inside panel of the driver’s side door. Using a tire gauge, check to make sure your tires fall in the correct range and add air as needed.
- Use a quality oil product. Using the proper oil recommended by your vehicle manufacturer will benefit your vehicle’s efficiency and performance. Many vehicles today require full-synthetic oil which is better for your engine and is also more environmentally friendly.
- Use other methods of transportation. Ride your bike, walk, take the bus, or carpool whenever possible. By using one of these alternative options, even just once or twice a week, you’ll be able to help reduce pollution and emissions.