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From Teen Driver to Green Driver

2010 August 31

By Wendy Dew

Everyone is talking about how best to educate students about the environment. It seems to me one of the best ways is to let students take what they have learned and pass it on. Only teens can grasp the best way to reach out to each other and one amazing teenager did it through video!

Katherine Schultz, a newly-licensed seventeen year old driver, saw an opportunity to help a new generation of drivers become more environmentally responsible drivers. She created a video with the help of family and friends entitled “From Teen Driver to Green Driver.” She also stars in the video! The four minute video provides important tips for drivers to lower their fuel consumption and emissions. The video was done with the support and guidance of the State of Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles. She has reached out to driver education schools in Connecticut and offered them a free DVD of the video if they commit to using it with their students. Katherine has even been getting involved with promoting the green driver message in Connecticut state politics with her State Representative. Go Katherine!

Here at EPA, we’re not teen drivers anymore, but we have some green tips for all drivers.

Tips for Driving the Smartway®:

  • Buy smart

Use our Green Vehicle Guide as a resource in selecting your next vehicle.

  • Drive smart
  1. Be aware of your speed – obeying highway speed limits can save fuel, as well as prevent pollution.
  2. Avoid rapid accelerations and braking, which burns more fuel.
  3. Use cruise control and overdrive gears.
  4. When you aren’t in traffic, turn off the engine rather than idle for more than 30 seconds.
  5. Remove excess weight from your trunk, and if you have a removable roof rack and aren’t using it, take it off.
  • Take care of your vehicle
  1. Your vehicle is designed to perform best when maintained according to the instructions found in the owner’s manual. A poorly maintained vehicle can be more polluting and less fuel efficient than one that’s well-maintained. If the “Service Engine Soon” light comes on, you may have an emissions problem, so have your vehicle checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.
  2. Keep your tires properly inflated. Low tire pressure means lower fuel economy.
  3. Replace your air filter regularly. A clogged air filter can reduce fuel economy significantly.
  • Use your vehicle less
  1. Whenever possible, combine activities and errands into one trip.
  2. Take advantage of public transportation and carpooling.
  3. Bicycling or even walking can be suitable (and healthy) transportation alternatives.
  • Take care when filling up

Gas fumes are harmful to you and the environment. Topping off your tank beyond the automatic shutoff point will cause fuel spills as well as emit more toxic fumes into the air. In very hot weather, try to refuel early in the morning or late in the evening when less fumes evaporate. And if you live in an area that has Ozone Action Days, try to avoid filling up on those days.

  • Use Alternative Fuels

If you own a Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV), you can fill your tank up with a fuel blend containing 85% ethanol or with traditional gasoline. Ethanol is produced from renewable crops such as corn, and has lower greenhouse gas emissions. To find out if you own a FFV, go to the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. Their Alternative Fueling Station Locator will help you locate alternative fuel stations in your area.

About the author: Wendy Dew has been with EPA for 13 years and is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations 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.

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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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Patrice Vincent permalink
    August 31, 2010

    Congratulations to Katherine for such a great idea. To help new teen drivers become safer and “greener” drivers, AAA recently launched a new teen driver website that includes similar vehicle maintenance tips to help teens incorporate safe driving tips that could help teens save money, help the earth, and stay safe.
    • Drive the speed limit.
    • Avoid excessive idling when you start the car.
    • Accelerate smoothly and at a reasonable pace.
    • Avoid slamming the brakes unnecessarily.
    • Maintain a safe, constant cruising speed.

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    August 31, 2010

    Simulator. Greener, especially Boys-Girls Scout need Green Driving Simulation in their workshop-atelier. Learning by doing…

  3. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    September 5, 2010

    The work on the vedio is great. More teenagers should get involved in projects like this one. The two explosions in the Gulf of Mexico show it is also time to move away from gasoline and diesel to more environmentally friendly alternatives with much less danger and pollution potential, like all electric vehicles with the batteries recharged by solar power, hydrogen powered vehicles with the hydrogen manufactured by solar power, and hybird electric-hydrogen powered vehicles. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  4. how to play guitar permalink
    September 6, 2010

    It is really good idea if you will keep us update about this. Thanks!


  5. Jerry Morgan permalink
    September 7, 2010

    This is such a great story. All i know is that when i was learning how to drive i was tested in a gas guzzling Chevy Malibu… what a great change .

  6. tai permalink
    September 16, 2010

    that is nice story

  7. Car Servicing permalink
    October 23, 2011

    Wow, keep it up. Such great info! You should continue writing the way it is.

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