The earth’s climate has changed many times during the planet’s history, with events ranging from the ice age to long periods of warmth. Historically, natural factors such as volcanic eruptions, changes in the earth’s orbit and the amount of energy released from the sun have affected the earth’s climate. Beginning in the late 18th century, human activities associated with the Industrial Revolution also have changed the composition of the atmosphere and are likely influencing the earth’s climate.
Environmentally Friendly Transportation Tips
Here are some action steps you can take on the road to help curtail a negative impact on our climate:
- Buy smart – Before buying a new or used vehicle, or even before renting a vehicle, check out the EPA’s “Green Vehicle Guide” and the jointly run EPA / DOE Fuel Economy Guide website.
- 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 increased emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants.
- Drive smart – 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. Gas mileage (MPG), greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings, and safety information for new and used cars and trucks can be researched at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fuel Economy website.
- Give your car a break – Use public transportation, carpool, 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. The Try Parking It website will help you see your contributions to clean air by giving you an estimate of miles saved and harmful emissions reduced, each time you submit your alternate commute.
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 percent 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 six 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 percent biodiesel. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from agricultural resources such as vegetable oils.