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Celebrate the Environment: Getting There in an Environmentally Friendly Way

2008 November 24

About the Author: Mitch Greenberg is the manager of the EPA SmartWay Program in the Office of Air and Radiation.

Remember those ads that feature the surprise car in the driveway, complete with a big red bow on top? While I’m sure a new car is on many holiday wish lists this year, maybe even mine, in tight times like these we all have to be extra careful to make a wise investment in our wheels. If you have a shiny new car to buy for someone in your family, check out EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide to help you choose the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicles available.

No matter what size car, SUV or pickup you’re looking for, you may have smarter, greener options. Maybe you’ve seen our ads? You know, the ones for EPA’s SmartWay Leaf. If you haven’t seen them, the ads highlight the SmartWay brand and encourage all of us to look for the SmartWay leaf to help identify cars and trucks that are more environmentally friendly.

If you’ve been to a NASCAR race recently, you’ve probably already seen many of these cars. NASCAR and their auto company partners have been hosting auto shows at their tracks, allowing fans to get up close and personal with SmartWay-certified vehicles.

If you’re not in the market for a new car, you can still squeeze a few more miles per gallon out of the car you already own. During the holiday season, you can combine shopping trips to maximize efficiency. If you’re traveling out of town, carpool or take public transportation when possible. There are many ways to increase your car’s mileage (and reduce the amount of pollution it emits at the same time). Check out what you can do, but it all boils down to driving smart, taking care of your vehicle, and using it as little as possible.

To see what others are doing and to tell us how you’re traveling green this holiday season, check out this week’s  Question of the Week.

Remember green travel isn’t just for the holidays. You can do it year-round. Check out some of our previous posts to see how you can make your new holiday travel habits permanent.

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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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Sven permalink
    November 24, 2008

    It is great to see EPA doing a series of informative announcements and blogs on how to green your holiday season. Maybe they are finally putting the environment back in enviromental protection. I recommend checking out this site:
    There is a series of posts that expand on some of the ideas talked about in EPA’s series of blogs and announcements.

  2. Diesel Power permalink
    November 25, 2008

    I can’t agree enough, my wife is now driving a toyota hybrid and I am running on ethanol. If everyone would just pitch in a little bit we can clean this country up slowly but surely.

  3. George permalink
    December 5, 2008

    We recently took a 500 mile trip to DC and took the train (Amtrak). It was great, met some nice people and enjoyed the ride. We plan to use the train to NY next time.

  4. auto parts green permalink
    May 14, 2009

    let us keep going clean the environment by purchasing hybrid cars because it has a lesser CO and other greenhouse gas emissions.

  5. Paige permalink
    May 26, 2009

    The Mercedes Benz smart car the smart fortwo is a smart alternative.
    From its initial conceptualization to manufacturing, smart has adhered to strict environmental guidelines in an effort to protect the environment, reduce energy consumption and innovatively preserve natural resources. Its “eco balance sheet” offers fascinating insights into the future, from the demands on raw materials to a projection of future waste. The entire vehicle bodywork of smart is powder coated rather than painted. Powder coating uses 40% less energy than conventional painting methods with zero solvent emissions and no water consumption. Powder “overspray” is collected and is 98% reusable. This is a great example of eco-friendly solutions that also provide excellent finish quality. If you are truly eco-friendly, your attitude stretches beyond the product itself to everything you do. In the smartville production center, they have analyzed and increased the thermal insulation of thier buildings to minimize heat loss. They collect the excess heat generated from injection molding machines to heat the paint booths. They even have thier own natural gas fired thermal energy station that supplies hot water and some electricity. Environmentally sound buildings + intelligent people = technologically advanced car. Smart uses 100% recyclable synthetics for things like dashboards and wheel housing covers. They have reduced the number of components and how to assemble them. Examples include the dashboard air system that was reduced from twenty separate pieces to one single molded part. Even the exterior door panels can be easily changed and recycled. When you own a smart, you’ll find yourself pointing things like these out to your friends – they become part of your environmental statement.

    Here is the stated smart Environmental Policy: “With our products, we are setting a milestone for environmentally-compatible individual mobility. Every day, we live an efficient and dynamic environmental management system that is aligned towards on-going improvement.”

    The “smart” environmental management system was certified to DIN EN ISO 14001 standards in February 1997 at the Böblingen facility. Annual internal and external audits ensure that this system is consistently applied.

    In celebration of the smart fortwo’s first year anniversary in the United States, smart USA will plant a tree in honor of every vehicle sold in 2008. In partnership with American Forests and Daimler Financial Services, smart USA will plant approximately 25,000 trees in the Cache River State Natural Area, located in southern Illinois, about 150 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. smart USA plans to continue this initiative for every vehicle sold in 2009 as well. This partnership not only celebrates the smart fortwo owner, but also helps the environment, much like the environmentally friendly smart fortwo.

    Simply by purchasing this vehicle, smart fortwo owners have already played an active role in supporting the environment. In addition to great fuel economy, the smart fortwo is up to 95% recyclable, and is certified as a SmartWay vehicle for its low air pollutant and greenhouse gas scores by the Environmental Protection Agency. The smart fortwo leaves a small carbon footprint on the American landscape.

  6. discount auto parts permalink
    July 16, 2009

    if you really want to be part of the green living society and are serious about every aspect of your life being environmentally friendly, consider buying electric cars.

  7. Jack permalink
    October 3, 2009

    Yes, great EPA jobs we can do now is make our plastic scraps recycling and reuse them again

  8. permalink
    November 20, 2009

    let us keep going clean the environment by purchasing hybrid cars because it has a lesser CO and other greenhouse gas emissions.

  9. Consolidated Shuttle Operations permalink
    November 23, 2009

    We are next-generation providers of integrated passenger scheduling solutions, covering all aspects of Vehicle and Passenger Scheduling, Routing, Vehicle Tracking and Mobile Communications and the partner of choice for many of today’s leading commercial companies and government organizations.

  10. jason xu permalink
    September 16, 2010

    If everyone would just pitch in a little bit we can clean this country up slowly but surely.I can’t agree enough, my wife is now driving a toyota hybrid and I am running on ethanol.

  11. Metal finishing permalink
    March 8, 2012

    Agreed Paige. Through all Metal Finishing techniques, the ultimate purpose is undoubtedly to get a perfect finish. If the job is done in an Eco-friendly way, it definitely takes the overall job to he next level.

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