This week’s task is to try and improve the environment through better driving. Since Ashley and I drive little Saturn vehicles, I did not think we could do a whole lot more to improve, but I was 100% wrong and astonished with the information I found. I understand that the less gas we use the less impact on the environment and will convey what I learned about a driver’s impact on the environment.
What is the impact that one gallon of gas has on the environment and why is it important to conserve gas? According to Slate, one gallon of gas equates to 19 pounds of greenhouse gases. The average person drives about 12,000 miles and Google.org indicates that the nation average mpg for trucks and cars are 19.8 mpg. This equates to 606 Gallons of gas per year or approximately 11,500 pounds of green house gases per person per year. If a person drives for 50 years, this ends up being 575,000 pounds or 287 tons of CO2 per driver over a lifetime. With over 190.5 million drivers in the US, this adds up to 2,190,750,000,000 pounds CO2/year or 109,537,500,000,000 pounds over a lifetime. Holy Greenhouse! This seems high to me and if anyone notices my math is messed up, please let me know!
OK, so now that I am dizzy with numbers, what can we do as one person? How about this short list:
- Make sure your tires are filled. Properly inflated tires result in a savings of 20 gallons of gas every year or saves 380 lbs of greenhouse gases.
- Keep your engine tuned. Using statistics found here (based on 12,000 and 19.8mpg), keeping your engine tuned can save you about 24 gallons of gas a year or 456 lbs of greenhouse gases
- Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving lowers your mpg. The sited link indicates a driver can increase efficiency from 5-33%. Using an average of 15% (based on 12,000 and 19.8mpg), that is 91 gallons of gas or 1729 pounds of greenhouse gases.
- Follow the speed limit. Apparently fuel efficiency dramatically drops after 60 mph. The link indicates a fuel economy benefit of between 7-23%, but I am just going to average it out at 10%. This ends up being 61 gallons or 1209 pounds of greenhouse gases.
- Remove excess weight – Do you have extra heavy stuff hanging out in your car that could be removed? This can provide 1-2% fuel economy or about 12 gallons/228 pounds of greenhouse gases.
- Avoid idling – You get 0 mpg if you are standing still.
- Use your Cruise Control when appropriate – This will save you gallons on the highway.
Just by following these few simple tips, we can reduce our greenhouse gas output by 4002 pounds per year! Every driver can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 TONS if they take just a few steps. Once again, the numbers I have found amaze me. I can be responsible for tons of waste spewing in the air. Over 50 years of driving, that is 100 tons of greenhouse gases.
To be proactive on this topic, I am going to act like my late grandpa (love and miss ya Ralph!) and start a log to keep track of my mileage. Like my grandpa, I am assuming that I will save boatloads of money every year, but possibly I am making a huge impact (or lack of) on the environment also. If you know of other things a person can do to increase mileage or have any additional information about my information, please post in the comments area below.