18 easy tips to reduce emissions as TxDOT launches clear air campaign


AUSTIN, Texas – 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. Download Roadcents.

Roadcents is a free app that helps you track maintenance, get service reminders, find nearby service stations, get roadside safety tips, and save gas. Little changes add up—download the Roadcents app and see for yourself!

2. Love your tires.

Check pressure on all four tires once a month. Tires rarely stay the same pressure and can lose air over time. Hot and cold weather also affect tire pressure, and underinflation can be a detriment to handling and can even cause tire failure. Properly inflated tires save money, provide more traction, last longer, reduce emissions, keep you safe, and improve gas mileage by 3.3%.

3. Stay chill.

Aggressive driving—like accelerating quickly and braking hard—increases emissions and lowers gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town. You don't have to drive at a snail's pace, but accelerating at the same pace as the other cars around you is usually a good indicator of an efficient pace, unless of course the cars next to you are racing.

4. Keep it light.

Heavy items weigh you down. An extra 100 pounds can reduce fuel economy by up to 2%.

5. Cargo? Car no.

Remove bulky cargo boxes. 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 late afternoon or evening. High temperatures cook gas fumes, turning them into ground-level ozone that's bad for the air.

7. Stop at the 'click'.

When the gas pump clicks and stops automatically, don't top it off. Fumes escape and can absorb into the air.

8. Tighten that cap.

Tighten your vehicle's gas cap all the way. A loose gas cap allows gasoline and pollutants to evaporate and damage the air. It can cost you up to 30 gallons of gas a year.

9. Get your vehicle fixed.

Fix your vehicle when it fails an emissions test or is out of tune. It's a simple solution that can help you prevent big problems. It can improve gas mileage by an average of 4% and reduces harmful emissions. Repairing a serious problem like a faulty oxygen sensor also reduces tons of harmful emissions and can improve your gas mileage by as much as 40%. See if you're eligible for Vehicle Repair Assistance.

10. Change is good. For oil.

Change your oil on schedule and use the manufacturer's recommended grade of oil. Look for oil labeled "energy-conserving" that contains friction-reducing additives.

11. Dirty filters have to go.

Replace dirty air and oil filters. It's important, simple, and cheap. Changing clogged, dirty filters can increase vehicle performance and gas mileage and extend engine life.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. Sharing is caring.

Share rides. Lone drivers put more cars on the road and emissions into the air. Cut weekly fuel costs in half, make friends, and save wear on your car by taking turns driving with other commuters or riding in a vanpool. Even if you can't share rides to work, consider carpooling with friends to events or on nights out.

15. Take public transit.

Ride the bus. Riding on public transit takes cars off of the road and is ultimately good for the air. Plus you can read and relax on your way. To find options near you, visit Find a Ride.

16. Bike and walk when you can.

Biking and walking can be fun. They also give off zero emissions and can make you healthier.

17. Upgrade your ride.

When it's time for you to buy a vehicle, check out cleaner, low-emission vehicle options. The driver of a car that gets 30 MPG pays hundreds of dollars less per year in gas than a driver getting 20 MPG. Electric and hybrid cars are also 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.

18. Drive less on 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 on these days. For more information on ozone action days visit TCEQ.

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