You don’t have to stop driving in order to reduce air pollution; driving clean can make a big difference.
High emission driving practices, idling, and out-of-tune vehicles are just a few things to avoid in order for a cleaner drive. Here are some more tips that will help you take care of our air, even when you have to drive.
Avoid High-Emission Driving Practices
The way you drive your car affects its emissions. Obeying the speed limit, accelerating and braking gently and gradually, and reading the road ahead can improve the fuel economy of your vehicle by 15%–30% at highway speeds and 10%–40% in stop-and-go traffic.
Speeds of 40-60 miles per hour are optimal for limiting emissions. Check traffic conditions before you leave so that you can avoid very low-speed (<20 miles per hour) traffic congestion, when possible. Learn more at the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center. Additionally, on unpaved roads, drive slower to avoid excess dust emissions into the air.
Idling your vehicle—running your engine when you’re not driving it—truly gets you nowhere. Idling reduces your vehicle’s fuel economy, costs you money, and creates pollution. Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions, that contribute to air pollution, than stopping and restarting your engine does. Researchers estimate that idling from heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles combined wastes about 6 billion gallons of fuel annually. Learn more about idling and idling reduction tips from the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Making sure that your vehicles are running properly will ensure that the vehicle is running as efficiently as possible. Keep your tires properly inflated properly so that they last longer, increase fuel economy, and are safer. Change your oil regularly and use the vehicle manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Regular engine tune-ups ensure that your vehicle is running efficiently and can save you time and money in the long run. Make sure to address a "check engine light." Learn more at the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Buy Cleaner Gasoline
Higher grades of gasoline usually have lower sulfur levels, which helps keep your vehicle's pollution control system working efficiency. During peak ozone season, you can help reduce your vehicle's emissions by purchasing higher grades of gasoline (medium or premium).
Buy and Use Cleaner Vehicles
When you are purchasing, renting, or using a vehicle, consider using the cleanest vehicle available. Look up the vehicle’s emissions information under the “Energy and Environment” information at www.fueleconomy.gov. Any vehicle that scores a “6” or higher on its “EPA smog rating” will reduce NOX emissions by over 40% compared to an average vehicle, while any vehicle that scores a “4” or lower will have at least 40% higher NOX emissions than an average vehicle. Cleaner vehicles are also usually more fuel-efficient, which can save you money.
Drive a Clean Machine
If you live in Travis and Williamson Counties, you are required to pass an annual emissions test if your vehicle is 2-24 years old, but there is also financial support for qualified citizens to repair or replace vehicle.
Report Smoking Vehicles
Section §547.605 of the Texas Transportation Code prohibits motor vehicles with excessive visible smoke emissions from operating on Texas roadways. Law enforcement authorities statewide may issue citations, punishable by a fine of not more than $350, to the owner of "a vehicle that emits visible smoke for 10 seconds or longer”. If you see a vehicle with excessive exhaust smoke please report it. TCEQ Smoking Vehicle Program 1-800-453-SMOG.