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Clean Car Awareness

Clean Car Awareness

Cars, trucks and other types of automobiles play a major role in today's society. Mobility is something we have all become dependent on.

But did you know the impact this mobility has on the air we breathe? Nearly two-thirds of the pollution released into our air is caused by cars, trucks and other mobile sources. This may be a surprise to many who typically think of factories & industry as the main source of pollution.

The type of vehicles we drive, the way we drive and how well our vehicles are maintained are all directly related to the amount of emissions released.

Consider Your Environment When Shopping for a Car

With California's stringent emission standards, many automobile manufacturers now offer vehicles that are 50 to 100% cleaner than the average car on the road. Becoming familiar with the marketplace choices allows you to select a vehicle that works best for your lifestyle and the environment. For a listing of low-emission vehicles now in the marketplace view the Drive Clean website, the Air Resources Board website or call the Air Resources Board at (916) 322-2990.

There have been a great variety of technology advancements in the past several years, such as the introduction of gasoline/electric hybrid engines, in addition to cleaner emission vehicles that run exclusively on gasoline.

There are three increasingly cleaner emission standards to look for when shopping for a car. These vehicles have even lower emissions than California's basic vehicle emissions standards.

Basic Car: Average new 2001 model year car

ULEV: Ultra Low-Emission Vehicles are 50% cleaner

SULEV: Super Ultra Low-Emission Vehicles are 90% cleaner

ZEV: Zero-Emission Vehicles are 100% cleaner. No tailpipe emissions!!

An easy way to determine the emission rating of a vehicle is to check the Vehicle Emission Control Information Label, which is located under the hood.

Another important consideration is the fuel economy of the car. Gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and pickups not only cost more to refuel but are also large polluters. If possible, purchase a smaller car for everyday needs and consider a rental when you need a bigger vehicle for occasional trips.

10 Clean Ways to Drive

Practice these 10 driving tips and see how far you can stretch a gallon of gas!

  1. Link your trips & consolidate errands!
    Drive to central location, park, then walk to various destinations.
  2. Use alternatives whenever possible!
    Vanpool, bike, telework, carpool, walk, and take public transit.
  3. Avoid idling and revving the engine!
    This saves fuel and reduces engine wear.
  4. Avoid strapping objects to the roof!
    roof racks = drag = poor mileage = more pollution & $$$
  5. Keep windows shut at high speeds to reduce drag!
    At speeds over 40mph, using the air-conditioner is more fuel efficient than rolling down the windows.
  6. Avoid high speeds!
    Every 1mph over 55mph = 2% loss in gas mileage.
  7. Don't drive jerky (accelerate and stop smoothly)!
    Saves as much as 2 miles per gallon.
  8. Don't overfill at the pump, and replace gas cap tightly!
    Every gallon spilled produces as much hydrocarbon pollution as driving 7500 miles.
  9. Report Smoking Cars to 1-800-CUT-SMOG
    Gross Polluters represent only 10 to 15 % of all California vehicles, but they produce over 50 % of vehicle smog.
  10. Avoid rough roads and potholes!
    They're hard on your tires and wheel alignment, which reduces gas mileage.

Maintenance Tips for a Cleaner Car

With proper maintenance and care, your car will last longer and deliver more dependable, economical performance while polluting less. Take care of your car and your car will take care of you. Always refer to your vehicle's “owner's manual” or “scheduled maintenance guide” for recommended maintenance intervals and product specifications.

Get Regular Maintenance Checks

The key components to maintain are:

  • air filter
  • vacuum and coolant hoses
  • oxygen sensors
  • oil filter
  • belts
  • spark plugs
  • and fluid levels: motor oil, engine coolant level, brake fluid level, power steering fluid and transmission fluid should be checked as often as your owner's manual requires.

Motor Oil (follow your owner's manual)

  • Use the correct viscosity
  • Don't over fill

Tires (follow your owner's manual)

  • Use the correct size
  • Balance, rotate, and check alignment
  • Check air pressure (remember the spare) every 2 weeks when the vehicle is cold (i.e; not driven for 3 hours or only driven a mile)

Properly recycle used oil, oil filters, tires, coolant, batteries and air-conditioner refrigerant.

For other energy saving tip visit the Flex Your Power at the Pump website.


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