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10 Simple Steps to Reducing Climate Change

Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air, which is the largest contributor to climate change. But these emissions can be reduced by improving your car's fuel efficiency.

  1. Buy a Fuel-Efficient VehicleGo to to find information on the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. Driving a car that gets 30 MPG instead of one that gets 20 MPG would save $400 per year (assuming 12,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $2.00 per gallon) and almost 2 tons of CO2 emissions.
  2. Leave Your Car at HomeCarpooling, using transit, walking, bicycling, or telecommuting–just one day a week for a year–can save typical commuters about 1,200 miles on their vehicles and reduce their CO2 emissions by over half a ton per year.
  3. Maintain Your Vehicle – Watch for your car's "check engine" light. A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient, more reliable, and safer! Regular maintenance can also extend your car's life and increase its resale value. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an air pollution emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent and prevent over 2 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
  4. Drive SmartAggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon, so turn off your engine in drive-thrus – or better yet, order inside. It will probably be quicker and you'll reduce CO2 emissions.
  5. Check Your TiresProperly inflated tires are safer and last longer. You can improve your gas mileage by about 3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Check them every time you fill up to reduce CO2 emissions.
  6. Trip ChainCombining errands into one trip saves you time and money. Trip planning ensures that traveling is done when the engine is warmed-up and efficient. Remember, the best way to warm up a car is to drive it, not to idle.
  7. Telecommute – Work at home sometimes. You'll save time and money, and reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Americans spend more than 200 hours commuting each year – equal to 5 weeks of vacation! (The average daily round-trip commute takes about 50 minutes.)
  8. Lighten your load – Remove roof racks when they're not in use and unload unnecessary items from your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent.
  9. Know before you go – If your area has a travel and transit information network, use it by calling, visiting the website, or tuning into the cable station. Get travel and transit updates and you won't get stuck in a jam.
  10. Spread the Word – If everyone took just a few of these simple, easy steps, it could make a big difference in reducing CO2 emissions and global climate change.

It all adds up to cleaner air.
FHWA Highways and Climate Change website provides information on:

Circle image with icons. Globe of Earth in the center surrounded by an airplane, a bike, a boat, a train, a truck, a car, and a bus.

USDOT Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse provides information on:

It all adds up to cleaner air.

April 2009

Updated: 12/23/2016
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