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Your vehicle and sustainability.

As the earth warms, global warming and sustainability has become a big news maker. People often ask me what they can do to help fight global warming and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some have gone so far to get a hybrid vehicle, others have taken to walking more, riding the bus while others are puzzled what they can do with little money that would make a difference.

sustainability billboard

What I am going to suggest is how to get the biggest amount of good for the least amount of money. Not everyone can afford to buy a new car.

The easiest way is to do very small steps. When a tire is not inflated properly, it requires more energy to make the car move and maintain speeds. An informal study found the majority of the vehicles in the US are only inflated to 80% of capacity. Property inflated tires can increase fuel mileage by 3.3%, an under inflated tires can lower fuel mileage by .4% per pound. Putting that an average driver who drives 12,000 miles per year, that would be an extra 144 gallon of fuel and up to 2,880 pounds of greenhouse gases and the waste of $300-$500 dollars per year!

Low tire pressure can also wear out tires prematurely and will allow the tire to build up heat which can lead to a blow out. Check your tires pressure monthly and if you find one consistently low, have a tire shop repair it. It is an accident waiting to happen.

Correct tire pressure for your vehicle is found in the drives door jam, owner’s manual or glove box door. Do not use the pressure that is written on the tire, that is the maximum pressure for that tire. (On bicycles, use the pressure written on the tire)

Other small tips that will help the vehicle have lower emissions and improve fuel mileage are:

  • Have your “Check engine light” fixed if it is on. The reason it was put there in the first place (An act of Congress) is to lower emissions.
  • Smooth driving, anticipate traffic light, no quick starts
  • Have vehicle maintained
  • Use proper oil
  • Use cruise control on freeway
  • Don’t warm up you vehicle, just drive easy until temperature gauge is to the normal range
  • Empty car of unnecessary weight
  • Remove ski rack, bike racks, and cargo carriers when not in use. This is most important on freeway driving.
  • Combine trips, a cold engine gets poor fuel mileage
Talk about a small steps that anyone can help with improving the quality of life in Eugene/Springfield area and the rest of the world.


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