Climate for Action: Reducing your Carbon Footprint on the Road

About the Author: Loreal Crumbley, a senior at George Mason University, is an intern with EPA’s Environmental Education Division through EPA’s Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

There are many ways to reduce your personal impact on climate change. An easy way to decrease your contribution is by reducing your transportation emissions. When we drive we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There are many different steps you can take to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to save money!

There are plenty of alternatives to driving our personal vehicles. We can join carpools, which help save energy and produce fewer emissions. My county offers special carpool parking lots and designated highway routes for carpoolers. If you research carpooling in your area, you may find that your county provides benefits for carpool riders. Instead of driving a car you can walk or bike ride to school and work. Since summer is starting, walking or riding a bike also makes it easy to spend more time outside rather than cooped up in your car.

Another way to lessen your impact is to keep your vehicle well serviced. If you keep your car well tuned and follow the manufacturer’s guide to scheduled maintenance, you will produce fewer emissions. Not only will you reduce greenhouse gas emissions but you will have a more fuel-efficient car and it will be more reliable. You should also change air filters regularly and use the recommended motor oil. Having a well tuned engine can reduce fuel consumption. Regularly checking the amount of air in your tires can also decrease your fuel consumption, and the less fuel your vehicle consumes, the less it pollutes the air and the fewer greenhouse gases it emits.

Here are a few tips to becoming an environmental driver:

  • Avoid idling for long periods of time.
  • Turn off engine when sitting or waiting.
  • Reduce weight in your trunk and unload unnecessary items.
  • Be easy on brakes and gas pedal;, driving at moderate speeds uses less fuel.
  • Try smoother accelerations. They pollute less and save fuel.
  • Plan your trips and combine errands to reduce mileage.

For more information on climate change and what you can do while on the road, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/road.html

We can all do our part to help reduce climate change. Remember it’s never too late to start new habits! If you haven’t started driving yet, these tips could be helpful for your parents or friends who have their licenses. Spread the word. We all need to work together in this fight to reduce climate change!