Small Steps to Big Solutions for Air Quality
From the Texas Natural Resources Commission
In Your Car or Truck…
· Carpool. Boosting the occupancy of automobiles in rush hour from one to two persons would save 40 million gallons of gasoline a day in the United States, while reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
· Bicycle to work. All bicycle trips represent a 100 percent drop in vehicle emissions.
· Use mass transit. A transit bus with a full rush-hour load of 44 passengers uses much less fuel than 11 automobiles with four passengers each.
· Don’t let your engine idle unnecessarily. Idling engines waste gas; so don’t start your car until you’re ready to move, and avoid long idles. Another way to reduce unnecessary engine idling is to park and walk into buildings rather than using drive through lanes.
· Plan ahead to combine trips. The fewer trips, the less air pollution — and you save gasoline in the bargain.
· Travel light. The more weight your car carries, the less fuel efficient it becomes. Every extra 100 pounds costs you about half a mile per gallon.
· Postpone filling your tank on hot sunny days until late in the afternoon or in the evening to reduce the time ozone-forming pollutants can “cook” in hot weather.
· Don’t overfill or “top off” your car’s gas tank. Even if you don’t spill gasoline, ozone-causing fumes escape.
· Use an energy-conserving multigrade motor oil. These oils can improve your mileage by 1 to 2 percent.
· Make sure your tires are properly inflated. If your tires are under-inflated by just 4 pounds, it will cost you a halfmile per gallon.
· Keep car filters and catalytic converters clean. Dirty air filters increase fuel consumption, and your car’s pollution control devices need to be in good working order to be effective.
· Report Smoking Vehicles. The next time you see a Texas car, truck or bus with smoke coming from its exhaust for more than 10 seconds, get the license number and report it by calling 1-800-453-SMOG. In turn, the TNRCC will send the vehicle owner information about air contaminants in smoke from poorly-running engines, and potential ways to fix the problem.
· Drive smoothly. Accelerating slowly from a full stop takes a lot less gas. If you gain speed slowly, you’ll save as much as two miles per gallon. “Jackrabbit starts” use up to 50 percent more gas.
· Have your automobile inspected. Vehicle emissions inspection programs have been mandated in several Texas counties. These programs are designed to ensure polluting vehicles are identified and repaired. These repairs can improve fuel economy by 6 to 7 percent.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency, Your Car and the Environment
· Apply paint with rollers and brushes instead of sprays to cut down on fumes and save paint.
· Use latex rather than oil-based paints to cut back on ozone-forming emissions.
· Compost yard waste instead of burning it to reduce air pollution and preserve garden nutrients.
· Insulate and weatherstrip your home to avoid heating and cooling the outdoors.
· Run dishwashers and washing machines only when there is a full load.
· Take quick showers. They use less hot water than baths.
· Turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them. Close doors to rooms that you don’t use so that you don’t have to heat or air condition unused space.
· Wash clothes in cold water and hang them outside to dry to take advantage of free solar power.