Climate Change

What You Can Do: On the Road

Photo of a person checking tire pressureDriving your vehicle releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change—but you can take simple, easy steps to cut your emissions, reduce our nation's dependence on oil, and save money.

1. Buy smart: Purchase a fuel-efficient, low-greenhouse gas vehicle

When shopping for a new or used vehicle (or even renting a vehicle), choose the cleanest, most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. With a wide range of clean, fuel-efficient vehicles available today, it’s easier than ever to go green—for the environment and for your wallet. Check out EPA's Green Vehicle Guide or to find the best, most comprehensive information on vehicle emissions and fuel economy.

You can also learn more about the fuel economy and environment label that you’ll see on all new vehicles. The label has been redesigned and See larger image with details        Gasoline Vehicle Labelupdated for even easier comparison shopping. These new window stickers provide fuel economy and environmental ratings for all new vehicles, including advanced technology vehicles like electric cars and plug-in hybrids. And while at the showroom, you can scan the QR Code® on each vehicle’s label to be connected to additional information online, including personalized cost and energy-use estimates.

2. Drive smart

To improve your fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce your time spent idling (no more than 30 seconds), 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. Use cruise control if you have it, and for vehicles with selectable four-wheel drive, consider operating in two-wheel drive mode when road conditions make it safe to do so.

For more information, take a look at these tips for driving more efficiently.

3. Remember maintenance...

Get regular tune-ups, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule (which can be found in your owner’s manual), and use the recommended grade of motor oil. A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, is more reliable, and is safer!

For more details, including potential fuel savings, check out these tips for keeping your car in shape.

4. ... and don’t forget your tires!

Check your tire pressure regularly. Under-inflation increases tire wear, reduces your fuel economy, and leads to higher greenhouse gas and other air pollutant emissions. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door to your vehicle’s glove compartment, or on the driver's-side door pillar.

And when it’s time for new tires, consider purchasing tires with “low rolling resistance,” an energy-saving feature.

5. Give your car a break

Use public transportation Exit, carpool Exit, or walk or bike whenever possible to avoid using your car. Leaving your car at home just two days a week can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 2 tons per year.

Also consider telecommuting (working from home via phone or the Internet), which can reduce the stress of commuting, reduce harmful emissions, and save you money. And when driving, try combining your errands and activities into one trip.

6. Use renewable fuels

Give E85 and biodiesel a try. Both are renewable fuels (made from renewable sources such as corn) that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from your vehicle. E85 is a fuel blend containing 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that can be used in certain vehicles called Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). FFVs are designed to be fueled with either E85 or traditional gasoline. There are millions of FFVs on the road today—to find out if you own one, check the inside of your car's fuel door for an identification sticker, or consult your owner’s manual.

If you own a diesel vehicle, consider filling up with a biodiesel blend such as B5, which is a diesel fuel blend containing 5% biodiesel.

The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fueling Station Locator can help you locate both E85 and biodiesel fuel stations in your area.

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