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Easy ways you can reduce emissions

The way you drive and maintain your car or truck affects your vehicle's fuel efficiency and how much you spend on gas. By taking simple steps, you can reduce vehicle emissions and save money at the pump.

1. Love your tires.

Check pressure on all four tires once a month. Tires rarely stay the same pressure and can lose air over time. Properly inflated tires save money, provide more traction, last longer, reduce emissions, keep you safe, and improve gas mileage.

2. Stop at the click.

Don't top off your tank when filling up. This will help keep fumes from escaping and absorbing into the air. Tighten your vehicle's gas cap all the way to prevent gasoline and pollutants from evaporating and damaging the air.

3. Avoid long waits at drive-thrus.

Go inside and avoid long idling times at banks and fast food restaurants. Turning off the car and restarting it uses less gas than idling for 30 seconds or more.

4. Relax.

Aggressive driving—like accelerating quickly and braking hard—increases emissions and lowers gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town.

5. Keep it light.

Avoid keeping heavy items in your vehicle. An extra 100 pounds can reduce fuel economy by up to 2%. Large rooftop cargo boxes increase emissions and reduce fuel economy by 6%–17% at highway speeds and 2%–8% around town.

6. It's cool to fill up when it's cool.

Get your gas in the morning or evening. High temperatures heat gas fumes, turning them into ground-level ozone that's bad for the air.

7. Get your vehicle fixed.

Fixing a vehicle that's failed an emissions test or is out of tune will decrease emissions and improve gas mileage an average of 4%. Repairing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, reduces tons of emissions and improve gas mileage as much as 40%. (fueleconomy.gov)

8. Change is good. For oil and filters.

Improve your gas mileage and do your part for cleaner air by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Look for motor oil labeled "energy-conserving" that contains friction-reducing additives. (fueleconomy.gov).

9. Keep it moving.

Got a lot to do? Combine errands. Several short trips, each beginning with a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one longer trip that covers the same distance.

10. Sharing is caring.

Share rides. Lone drivers put more cars on the road and emissions into the air. Take turns driving with other commuters, ride in a vanpool, or consider carpooling with friends to events or on nights out.

11. Bike, walk, or take public transit when you can.

Biking and walking give off zero emissions and can make you healthier. Riding on public transit takes cars off the road and is ultimately good for the air.

12. Upgrade your ride.

When it's time for you to buy a vehicle, check out cleaner, low-emission options. Electric and hybrid cars are great alternatives. Make sure to check out the new labels when you go car shopping, too—there's now more information about fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions.

13. Drive less on ozone action days.

Ozone Action Days are determined when ozone conditions could be at unhealthy levels. You can do your part by maintaining your vehicle and driving less on these days. Learn more about daily air quality levels in your area at AirNow.gov.

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