People are extremely dependent on their vehicles these days. Sometimes they rely on them too much, and that’s not good for their carbon footprint. This has an impact on the environment that can have lasting effects for years to come.
A passenger car carrying one person emits 40 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every 160 kilometers driven, while a full bus, by comparison, emits only 6 kilograms. Walking two and a half kilometers means 75% less greenhouse gases than would be produced by driving the same distance. This is what is behind the campaign of the non-governmental organization “For the Earth” for clean air in the city under the title #Smokeless.
The campaign challenges participants to move #SmokeFree for one week by choosing a mode of travel that pollutes the air as little as possible: public transport, carpooling, bicycle, on foot. So the next time one is thinking about jumping behind the wheel to go on a short trip, it’s better to put the keys away, put on the walking shoes on and to enjoy a healthy stroll.
If after all the destination must be reached by car, it is important to limit the time the car idles. In the US, over 18 million liters of fuel are wasted every day just because cars are idling. That’s enough to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools!
Idling contributes to environmental pollution and unnecessary waste of resources and money. This waste often doesn’t happen on purpose, people just don’t think about it. A recent study shows that in New York City alone, idling cars and trucks produce 130,000 tons of CO2 per year. To offset this amount, an area the size of Manhattan would need to be planted with trees each year.
During the times when waiting cars pile up, for every 10 minutes the engine is off, we save half a kilogram of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. It’s important for people to remember this when they are stuck in heavy traffic or spending a long time waiting to cross a state border.
How to prevent the car from idling?
For starters, the ignition can turned off if one has to wait more than 10 seconds. Contrary to popular belief, restarting the car does not burn more fuel than letting it idle. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting the engine. Frequent restarts are no longer difficult for the engine and battery of modern cars, and in comparison with the wear and tear costs and the fuel costs, the fuel costs are many times higher. Idling actually increases the overall wear and tear on the engine by making the car run longer than necessary.
In the winter times, people often leave their cars idling to warm up the engine and interior. It is better for the engine to warm up while the car is moving, not for this to happen while idling. Modern electronic engines do not need preheating, even in winter. A car’s engine heats up twice as fast while driving. The car’s heating system delivers warmer air faster when it is moving. If you have to wait a long time in one place, it is better to park and enter a store or a warm building.
Keeping tires properly inflated
Another way to reduce emissions from your car is by keeping your tires properly inflated. This can reduce the car’s carbon footprint by an average of 150 kilograms per year. In addition to saving fuel and money and minimizing emissions, properly inflated tires are safer and less likely to fail at high speeds.
In order for a person to check and adjust their car’s tire pressure, they must first remove the valve cap and firmly press a tire pressure gauge onto the valve. It should add air or nitrogen to achieve the recommended pressure. If the tire is above the recommended pressure or is accidentally overinflated, air must be deflated by pressing the metal stem in the center of the valve with a tire gauge, fingernail, or the tip of a pen. When the pressure is correct, the valve cap is placed.
The same actions are repeated for each tire, including the spare. In this exercise, it is important to check the tires for leaks, tread wear, nails or other objects stuck in the tires, cuts or dents, uneven wear, bulges, tread separation and other irregularities. In addition to being good for the environment, this is important for the safety of the car’s occupants.
If a person makes small changes in their actions, such as choosing to walk more often, not allowing their car to idle or checking that their car tires are kept at the correct pressure, this can have a positive effect on air quality, on the environment in general, but it can also have an impact on saving resources.