Live Green ON THE ROAD

3:01 PM, Jul 8, 2009   |    comments
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1. Buy smart
Before buying a new or used vehicle (or even before renting a vehicle), check out EPA's Green Vehicle Guide and the jointly-run EPA/DOE Fuel Economy Guide. These resources provide information about the emissions and fuel economy performance of different vehicles. The Green Vehicle Guide provides detailed information on emissions (including Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas scores for each model) and the Fuel Economy Guide focuses on fuel efficiency (including side-by-side fuel economy comparisons and a customized fuel cost calculator). These Web sites are designed to help you choose the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. There are a wide range of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles available on the market today that produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

2. 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. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy by as much as 5 percent. Use overdrive and cruise control on your car if you have those features. For more tips to improve your gas mileage, visit the Fuel Economy Guide.

3. Tune your ride
A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is more reliable and safer! Keep your car well tuned, follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule and use the recommended grade of motor oil. More details, including potential savings from these actions, are available on the Fuel Economy Guide Web site.

4. 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 higher greenhouse gas emissions and releases of air pollutants. If you don't know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door to the glove compartment or on the driver's-side door pillar. More details on the Fuel Economy Guide Web site.

5. Give your car a break
Use public transportation, carpool or 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 1,590 pounds per year. The American Public Transportation Association's Public Transportation Web site provides links to information about public transportation in your state.

6. Combine your trips
When running errands, combine trips. Several short trips taken while your car's engine is cold can use twice as much fuel and produce twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. More information and ideas are available on the Fuel Economy Guide Web site.

7. Telecommute
Check out the Denver Council of Regional Governments' Ride Arrangers website to learn about commuting choices that can benefit the environment, reduce the stress of commuting, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money. Also consider options to work from home via phone or over the Internet instead of holding face-to-face meetings that involve travel.

8. Use Alternative Fuels
Find out if you own a Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV). FFVs can be fueled with a fuel blend containing 85% ethanol or with traditional gasoline. Ethanol is produced from renewable crops such as corn and therefore using it as a fuel for your car can lower greenhouse gas emissions. There are approximately 5 million FFVs on the road today. To find out if you own one of them, go to the Alternative Fuels Data Center. The Department of Energy's Alternative Fueling Station Locator will help you locate alternative fuel stations in your area.

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