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 also affects its emissions.
- Avoid rapid acceleration and deceleration
- Avoid very low-speed traffic congestion when possible (<20 miles per hour)
- Avoid speeding
- Speeds of 40-60 miles per hour are optimal for limiting emissions
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.
Idling is anytime a vehicle’s engine is running but the vehicle is not moving. While a vehicle is idling it is generating air pollution, thus limiting your idling time can help improve air quality.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Making sure that your vehicles are running properly will help ensure that the vehicle is running as efficiently as possible and thus generating less air pollution. Keep your tires properly inflated, change your oil regularly, and make sure that you promptly take your vehicle to a mechanic if your “check engine” light is on.
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).
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.