According to the EPA, driving is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making up 27% of the total. Cars are a major contributor to air pollution, producing carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate. Particulate matter alone is thought to be the cause of as many as 30,000 premature deaths a year. A typical passenger car emits over 4 metric tons of CO2 a year! And that new car smell? It’s a result of phthalates found in plastic and vinyl off-gassing chemicals into the air.
Your car has also consumed significant energy and left an environmental footprint before it ever makes it to your driveway, in the use of plastics, toxic battery acids, paints and other materials that can have harmful lasting effects. But at least 80% of your car’s environmental impact is a result of emissions from fuel consumption that contribute directly to climate change.
Tailpipe emissions also include methane and nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbon from leaking air conditioners, all of which contribute to global warming. Electric vehicles are more environmentally-friendly than conventional cars, in that they don’t release tailpipe emissions, only water vapor, but emissions are still generated during the production and distribution of EVs.
Here are some simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
–Walk or bike to school or to the store or when possible. For every mile not driven, you save 404 grams of CO2 emissions.
–Use a bike-share program if your city or town has one
–Work from home if you have the option
–Take public transit
–Carpool with friends instead of driving alone
–If you have to drive, plan ahead and make multiple stops in one trip
-Maintain your current vehicle. An efficient engine will reduce pollution and under- or over-inflated tires cause your engine to work harder and burn more fuel.
-Only use your car’s AC when you absolutely have to. Air conditioners emit heat and use hazardous hydrofluorocarbons.
-Avoid idling. It’s a myth that restarting your car uses more fuel than letting it run.
-Purchase the most fuel-efficient car you can afford. Click here for a list of cars ranked by fuel economy: https://loom.ly/XbH5aM4