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Ways to Reduce Your Driving Emissions without Reducing Quality of Life

    Use Parallel Parking

    Emission Reduction:5 pounds of CO, every 10 minutes it takes to find another parkingspace. This often forgotten skill is an easy way to slash five to ten minutes off your dailycity jaunts if you are lucky enough to find a space. Too often people drive around lookingfor the best deal on parking lot fees or an easy pull-in parking spot,when they could justpull into a convenient parallel space on the street and feed the meter.

    Use More Right Turns

    Emission Reduction:Several hundred pounds of CO, over the course of a year. Itmakes complete sense if you think about it. Turning right is often the easiest, quickest,and most convenient way to get around the city under the current U. S. rules of the road.It involves less wait. You don't have to worry about oncoming traffic (although you dohave to watch for pedestrians),and you don't have as strict of traffic light rules to obey.

    Reduce Engine Idle Time

    Emission Reduction:220(4-cylinder) to 440 (8-cylinder) pounds of CO, a year forreducing just five minutes of idle time each day. The next time you are waiting for a train,dropping a friend off, or sitting in an unmoving traffic jam, shut your engine down untilyou're ready to go again. According to the EPA,the breaking point where idling time usesless gas than restarting your vehicle is around one minute. The Ford Eco-driving programin Europe claims just 20 seconds. Whether it is 20 seconds or one minute is arguable, butthe point is,there is a lot of unnecessary idling going on these days when people are notgoing anywhere

    Turn Your Air Conditioner off Before You Get Where You're Going

    Emission Reduction:Several pounds of CO, over the course of a year. The extra gasused for your running the air conditioner on your vehicle does account for a slight increasein emissions. For each gallon of gas a vehicle burns,it is emitting about 20 pounds ofcarbon dioxide. While the emissions savings in shutting off your air-conditioner are not awhole lot,I personally believe that every bit counts. In order to follow this tip,yousimply turn off your air conditioner,somewhere around five to ten minutes before reachingyour destination. Leave your fan on if you like, as the charge from your air-conditionerwill hold for a few minutes,allowing cool air to continue to circulate. You will reduceemissions,save gas,and become more acclimated to the outside temperatures before youexit your vehicle.

    Switch to Four Day Work Week

    Emission Reduction:3,000 metric tons per week statewide,if adopted by 20 percentof companies. Many companies are loosening their ties to the traditional five-day workweek and allowing their employees to adopt a four-week schedule where appropriate.Instead of going to work for an eight hour shift,you go for ten,and then get a three-dayweekend. Many companies are seeing the benefits of boosted employee morale with suchprograms and may consider it as a possibility if you only take the time to inquire about it.

    Slow Down and Smell the Flowers

    Emission Reduction:20 percent of your vehicle's current carbon footprint.  It isamazing to me that by just slowing down and driving moderately,we can reduce ourvehicle's carbon footprint by up to 20 percent. Such a step involves linking your brain,brake,and accelerator together. This is referring to becoming completely aware duringyour daily commute. Remember that accelerating moderately and braking minimally willreduce your engine's output significantly, as will anticipating changes in traffic. Beingaware of traffic when you may need to stop will minimize the all-too-common stop and go(pound accelerator/ slam brake) tendency of city driving.

    Switch to a Hybrid or New Energy Car

    Passenger vehicles account for 62 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U. S.The average vehicle spews out more than 8,000 pounds of COz each year for every 12,000miles it travels. While the future is looking bright for increased efficiency vehicles,rightnow it is hard to beat a hybrid Toyota Prius at 46 mpg. And if you think that aneconomical vehicle like the Prius will be roughing it, you really have not been for a ride inone recently. We are talking about such amenities as smart entry and push-button start(unlock and start vehicle without using key),DVD-based navigation, back-up camera,premium audio in-dash entertainment center (9一speakers),4-way adjustable bucket seats,automatic air conditioning,rear adjustable headrests,power door locks and windows, andtilt steering. All this,and they start at around$6,000 for a used 2001 model. Not all theabove mentioned amenities were around in the earlier models,but the used Prius still canachieve over 45 mpg with practically one tire tied behind its trunk!

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