What It Is
Vehicles, like cars and trucks, are staples in developed countries. However, for all their convenience, vehicles take quite a toll on the environment. Regular vehicle maintenance can help reduce your vehicle’s emissions, which will help curb air pollution. Switching to greener vehicles, like hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, will also help reduce your organization’s carbon footprint.
Why It Matters
Greener vehicles save fuel costs over the long run and can showcase your commitment to sustainability. On a larger scale, they reduce emissions and health problems due to air pollution.
- Keep your vehicles maintained. They will run more efficiently and last longer.
- Keep tires inflated properly to improve gas mileage.
- Check for leaking fluids and have them fixed. It could be a signal of a bigger problem, and leaking vehicle fluids pollute the local soil and waterways when it rains.
- Wash your vehicle at a car wash that recycles water, or wash it over the grass. The grass and soil can filter the soapy water to keep it from entering directly into the waterways from the storm drain.
- Find out the fuel economy of your business vehicles at this US Department of Energy site: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml
- If you use a vehicle for business, consider a high-mileage, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicle for your next upgrade. The EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide can help you find a vehicle that fits your needs.
- The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) offers a tax credit for purchasing hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. Click here for more information about the alternative motor vehicle credit.
- Search for high mileage vehicles, or find out the miles per gallon of your current fleet by clicking here (from www.fueleconomy.gov).
Alternative fuels: These include fuels other than conventional petroleum-based fuels and nuclear fuels. Alternatives include ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, fuel cells, biomass sources, and non-petroleum based natural gas and methane. Sources vary on what is considered an alternative fuel. More information can be found at the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Air pollution: Air pollution comes from many different sources such as factories, power plants, dry cleaners, cars, buses, trucks, and even windblown dust and wildfires. Air pollution can threaten the health of human beings, trees, lakes, crops, and animals, as well as damage the ozone layer and buildings. Air pollution also causes haze, reducing visibility in national parks and wilderness areas.
Fuel economy: The number of miles per gallon of fuel that a vehicle obtains. CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards are set by congress. For the current policy standards, see this link.
Fuel efficiency: The efficiency of the process that produces energy from a set amount of fuel. Fuel efficiency is most commonly used to refer to automobiles and other forms of transportation. Find more information or learn to improve your fuel efficiency at http://www.fueleconomy.gov.
Hybrid vehicle: A hybrid vehicle combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor using battery power storage to increase efficiency. Click here to learn more about how hybrid vehicles work.