CLEAN AIR TIPS
Keep your vehicle in shape.
Your owner's manual will tell you how often you should change your oil and air filters, service your air conditioner, and get regular engine check-ups. Fixing a vehicle that’s failed an emissions test or is out of tune will decrease emissions and improve gas mileage an average 4% (fueleconomy.gov). You'll not only be doing the air a favor, but also your vehicle will run better, and you'll save money by getting better gas mileage.
Check your tire pressure at least once a month.
Tires typically lose about a pound of air pressure every month. The label located on the edge of the driver's door will tell you what tire pressure the manufacturer recommends for your car or truck. When you check your tire pressure, make sure the tires are cold, meaning you haven't driven your vehicle for a couple of hours.
Keep your tires properly inflated.
So what does tire pressure have to do with air quality? When your tires are low, they produce more drag. More drag makes your engine work harder, and that produces more emissions. Properly inflated tires save money, provide more traction, last longer, and are more fuel efficient than underinflated or overinflated tires. Keep tires properly inflated to reduce emissions and improve gas mileage up to 3.3% annually (fueleconomy.gov). Bottom line: the right amount of air inside your tires is good for the air outside your tires.
Change your oil and air filters regularly.
Replacing air and oil filters regularly is one of the most important, simplest, and least expensive maintenance acts. Changing clogged, dirty filters can increase vehicle performance and gas mileage and extend engine life. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended schedule or track maintenance using roadcents.org.
Get oil changes.
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).
Plan your fill-ups.
- Fuel when it’s cool — either late afternoon or evening. High temperatures cook gas fumes, turning them into ground-level ozone that’s bad for the air.
- Stop at the "click" when filling up to avoid fumes escaping and absorbing into the air. And don’t top off the tank.
- Be sure to tighten your vehicle's gas cap all the way, too. A loose gas cap allows gasoline to evaporate and can cost you up to 30 gallons of gas a year to the air.
Driving just 5 mph over the speed limit increases emissions and can cost you 7% to 14% more in gas each year (fueleconomy.gov).
Adjust your driving style.
Aggressive driving — such as speeding and rapid starts and stops — increases emissions and lowers gas mileage 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town (fueleconomy.gov).
Observe ozone action days.
Ozone Action Days are declared when ozone conditions could be at unhealthy levels. On an Ozone Action Day children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce exposure to ozone by avoiding prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. You can do your part by maintaining your vehicle and driving less. Sign up for ozone alerts at roadcents.org.