Transportation & Travel
19. Do not “top off” gas tanks.
Make sure not to “top off” your tank because it can result in paying for gasoline that is fed back into the station's tanks when your tank is full. It also leads to more air pollution due to evaporation of excess gas (source).
20. One or more household members live within 15 miles of the workplace.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends more than 100 hours a year commuting to work. Residents of Maryland have the second longest commute time of all the states, averaging 30.2 minutes (source). Long commutes take more money, energy, and time and generate more air pollution. When choosing a new job or a place to live, make sure to take your commute time into account.
21. Calculate and track your vehicle’s gas mileage.
Tracking your average miles per gallon (mpg) can alert you to possible problems, such as low tire pressure or dirty filters. It can also motivate you to adopt efficient driving practices. If your vehicle does not automatically calculate your mpg, you can do so by writing down the mileage and gallons of gas purchased each time you refuel. Calculate the miles driven between each refueling and then calculate your mpg using this formula:
______Miles per gallon = ________ Miles driven ÷ ______ Gallons of gas used
22. Use fuel efficient driving practices.
The way that you drive can make a big difference in the amount of fuel that you consume and emissions you create. Use at least three of the following efficient driving practices to save fuel:
Click for more tips on fuel efficient driving practices.
23. Refrain from idling your car.
Allowing your car to idle for more than 10 seconds burns more fuel than stopping and restarting the car. Idling also releases toxic fumes like sulfur oxides, ground-level ozone, and nitrogen oxides which are detrimental to human health. Instead of allowing your car to idle or starting it early to warm it up, shut off your engine when going to a drive-through, waiting for a passenger, or waiting in line at the gas station (source, source).
24. Maintain proper tire pressure.
Maintaining proper tire pressure makes your tires last longer and improves gas mileage, saving you gas and money. Most cars display a required tire pressure on the inside of the driver’s door, inside the glove compartment, under the center console cover, or in the owner’s manual. Tire pressure should be checked monthly or at least seasonally and before long trips. When you take your car in to a shop for any kind of maintenance, ask them to check your tire pressure. Most places will do it for free.
25. Perform regular vehicle maintenance.
Keeping vehicles properly maintained improves their gas mileage, saving you energy and money. Get an oil change approximately every 3 months or 3,000 miles, or as recommended for your vehicle (source). Other vehicle maintenance items may include air filter change, battery change, engine flush, tire rotation, and more. For maintenance information specific to your vehicle type, ask your local mechanic or click here.
26. Use low rolling resistance tires.
Friction between tires and the road is responsible for 5-15% of a light-duty vehicle’s fuel consumption. Low rolling resistance tires are made of a unique rubber compound that minimizes friction, thereby increasing fuel efficiency. Switching to low rolling resistance tires often increases fuel efficiency by 1.5-4.5% (source). While this may not seem like a lot, it can save you a few tanks of gas each year, which adds up to bigger savings over the lifetime of the tires. Next time you need to replace your car’s tires, ask your repair shop for advice and do some of your own research to help you to choose a low rolling resistance tire that is right for your car. Read more on low rolling resistance tires from treehugger or Aol Autos.
27. Purchase carbon offsets for travel.
Traveling by air, train, or bus consumes a large amount of petroleum fuel and generates pollutants and greenhouse gases. You can purchase carbon offsets for travel; the funds generated support a variety of environmental initiatives that compensate for the negative environmental impacts of travel. There are many carbon offset providers, and you can often choose which projects you want your purchases to support. Some travel providers even allow you to purchase offsets when you purchase your tickets. Click to learn more about the carbon footprint of different modes of long-distance travel.
28. Choose a “staycation” instead of flying to a vacation destination.
The staycation, or vacation at or near your hometown, has become very popular in recent years. The benefits of a staycation include saving fuel and electricity, eating more healthy and local foods, supporting local businesses, and gaining appreciation for attractions near your hometown. Click for ideas on what to do during a staycation.
29. Telecommute at least once a week.
Telecommuting is a term that means simply, “working from home.” The EPA states that telecommuting improves customer service, reduces traffic congestion, and reduces energy consumption (source).
30. Carpool at least once a week.
If you carpool to work every day with a co-worker, you could cut your gas consumption and vehicle emissions in half! Talk to your neighbors about sharing rides to common or nearby destinations. Ask the parents of your children’s friends and teammates if you can share driving duty for school and extracurricular activities. Click to learn about the Commuter Choice program, which can help you start your own carpool.
31. Use public transportation at least once a week.
Instead of driving a car to work and school every day, use buses, metros, trains, and other forms of public transportation as much as possible. Click for more information on public transportation in Frederick County.
Click to learn about Commuter Choice, a program that provides incentives for Marylanders using public transportation and carpooling to get to work.
32. Use alternate transportation such as walking and biking to get to work, school, and other locations at least once a week.
You can eliminate your fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions related to transportation by walking or biking to work or school every day. Click for more information on biking and pedestrian transit in Frederick County.
33. Drive a hybrid, electric, or alternative fuel vehicle.
A hybrid electric vehicle contains an electric engine which allows a smaller and more efficient combustion engine to be used. Hybrids emit fewer tailpipe pollutants than vehicles with traditional combustion engines, and they use less fuel (source). An electric vehicle uses an electric engine powered by a rechargeable battery pack. While electric vehicles often use electricity that is generated by burning coal and other fossil fuels, they do not emit tailpipe pollutants, and they have the potential to run on electricity generated by renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal (source). Other alternatives to traditional gasoline fuel include: diesel, biofuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cells (still in developmental stages). Click for more information on efficient and alternative fuel vehicles, fuel economy and labeling, and the carbon footprints of different vehicle types.
Total “Transportation & Travel” Green Points: