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Question of the Week: What would convince you to change your driving habits?

2008 June 30

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Driving less, carpooling, and combining errands all mean less pollution. And with fuel prices rising, people are driving less, or driving smarter when they can. But many find it very difficult to drive less because of where they live or what they do.

What would convince you to change your driving habits?


En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

Actividades como el guiar menos, hacer carpool y combinar mandados todas contribuyen a reducir la contaminación. Mientras los precios del combustible están en alza, las personas están conduciendo menos y lo están haciendo de manera más inteligente siempre que pueden. Sin embargo, a veces se les dificulta guiar menos debido al lugar donde viven o por lo que hacen.

¿Qué le convencería para cambiar sus hábitos de guiar?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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180 Responses leave one →
  1. Frank E permalink
    July 8, 2008

    My beloved SUV still gets 16 mpg. If I dirve VERY consertively, I get 18 mpg. The change is that I now walk to the grocery which is 1 mile away at least once a week. Geez, a good workout for my mind and body!!!
    The price of gasoline is not all that much. It’s just that the US is finally catching up to the rest of the world after 2 decades. Time to be an “adult country” in using energy. Rising oil prices will have a most profound positive effect on the US as a whole.

  2. D Stupski permalink
    July 8, 2008

    Why even bother with buses if you had metro rail? Buses interfere with traffic (which slows everyone else down and causes accidents), are some of the worst polluters, and are basically unreliable timewise. If I had a metro near my house that went anywhere near where I work or downtown, I’d definitely use it. The bus line near me goes only east-west, but work is in the northern part – so I’d have to go all the way downtown, transfer, and then go all the way back out, for a total ride of about 1-1/2 hours. They’re proposing a metro line now for the first time in my area, but it’s so far from my house, I’d have to drive to get there — and then there’s no place to park because it’s fully developed already in that area of the city.

  3. Brenda permalink
    July 8, 2008

    Bus routes are not practical when I have a child to get to school and pickup and get myself to and from work. I do combine trips when I have errands to run or walk to stores that are close by and I don’t have a lot to carry back home. Plus I have family that is an hour’s drive away.

    Bus routes are too inconvenient so I would never want to totally give up my vehicle.

  4. Coby Smolens permalink
    July 10, 2008

    I am down to driving only when I have something big to haul around that I can’t fit on my bike. What got me to switch to my bike was the availability of a sweet electric conversion kit that turns my bike into a “hybrid”. It’s powered by carbohydrates (in the food I eat) and electricity at a cost of about $5.00 annually. I have a SF Bay Area commute of 22 miles each way (a jaunt across the Richmond Bridge on a transit bus bike rack). I am now working on other energy saving strategies: Plug bars with switches on all electronics, shutting down computers most of the time, takng “Navy” showers, most of the time. I also have a diesel VW Camper that runs on biodiesel which is going to replace a lot of airplane travel – we are taking a pan-Americas research tour in “Liesl the Diesl” starting in 2011 to document alternative fuels usage (and other topics of burning interest to us)in the western hemisphere.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    July 10, 2008

    Access to good and reliable public transportation is a key. The current state of public transportation is very bad although I live in a city that boasts of its “great” transportation access. I have used the public transportation for many years, and now having gotten tired of the so much time I waste waiting for busses and making connections, I have decided to make changes to my living arrangements so that I can easily drive to work. After all, a day has only limited number of hours and people have limited energy and time, if any, to waste.

  6. winnmasonry1999 permalink
    July 13, 2008

    I drive a 3/4 ton pick up because of equipment and materials I haul.My wife and I both use our 4 cyl. sportage when possible.We’ve both increased our MPG by 15-20% by the way we drive.Which also saves on the wear and tear on the brakes.My biggest beef with other drivers is with the ones who race from green lights to red lights. I’ve found it much more fuel effecient to anticipate the changing of the lights.

  7. Anonymous permalink
    July 13, 2008

    My concern is that the EPA is a political tool of the government rather than a leader in making responsible changes and policies to impact in a positive way the many environmental problems we have.

  8. Colleen J. permalink
    August 6, 2008

    Efficient public transportation. I would love to be able to travel the freeway routes between Oregon and Washington destinations by train, but the train schedules make it extremely impractical. I think people would travel those routes by train if they worked with the average workday, as well.

  9. Axell permalink
    October 3, 2008

    it is very difficult for people like us to make changes like these, but you can do and even more if it encourages people through media such as blog and forums, I use a blog called Super Replicas, and the truth after reading comments like these would put my grain of sand on that page.

  10. george permalink
    October 8, 2008

    A national effort to improve the rail system would be great, love trains but never on time and not may run when and where you want.

  11. Joseph Letzelter permalink
    May 21, 2009

    The rail system is a Efficient public transportation.

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  12. discount auto parts permalink
    September 24, 2009

    I can’t think of any. i lived in the mountains so definitely i have to drive more.

  13. Ben Hunt (web designer) permalink
    November 18, 2009

    I would love to be “encouraged” economically to drive less. In fact, the cost of fuel here in the UK is almost enough. It bothers me that it’s still cheaper to drive the 150 miles to London than to go to the train station and buy a ticket.

  14. Charles permalink
    November 18, 2009

    If the “leaders” were serious, they’d tax individual fuel purchases so heavily that driving becomes just a hair more expensive than public transport. They could funnel the tax money to train ticket subsidies and more trains in general which Murica needs more of. A round-trip train ticket from Washington DC to New York is over $200! Gasoline for one car for the same trip might cost about $40.

    We will have to be in serious trouble -over gasoline anyway- BEFORE they do anything that actually encourages less driving. In Murica the general mentality is, don’t touch my car.

  15. JStatson permalink
    December 16, 2009

    THe biggest thing that has changed my driving habits is urban renewal. The old method of suburban sprawl does NOT work anymore. If cities rebuild their inner cores as liveable communities, many less people would be dependent on cars.

    Look at cities like Dallas that are rebuilding form the inside out and building walkable communities. Have dense communities with safe public transportation hours is essential.

  16. michela permalink
    December 24, 2009

    I would like public transportation to be more available throughout the US.

  17. Eat Stop Eat Diet permalink
    October 3, 2010

    Greater public transport, especially rail transport, this would get a lot of cars off the road.


  18. Electronic Cigarette permalink
    October 19, 2010

    What it would really take for me is just some easily available public transportation.

    Where I live there are almost literally no choices.

    Carpooling is something I do pretty often though.

  19. permalink
    March 9, 2011

    Price of the fuel

  20. Programmable LED Signs permalink
    August 24, 2011

    I would love if public transportation to be readily available in all areas of the United States

  21. Realtors in Emerald Hills, CA permalink
    September 27, 2011

    Currently dealing with the local issue of the California High Speed Rail, which according to some is an effort to create more energy efficient mass transportation from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, but do the costs and noise nuisance merit the long term advantages? Only time will tell, after local housing prices have adjusted to the possible delays and construction issues should this project get funded.

  22. tvr dealer permalink
    December 8, 2011

    I doubt much will change in the way of legislation towards speed calming methods but if government is set on slowing people down then why not just limit the cars speed? I love fast cars but why allow them to do more than 55? It just doesn’t make sense.

  23. Web Design Brampton permalink
    March 27, 2014

    Useful topic! I like rail transport and I want to know more about easy rail transportation in the United States.

  24. jessica says travel permalink
    September 28, 2014

    Sarah, good luck with that! Little ones have SO MUCH gear!

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