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Agriculture Today

Statewide initiative offers Texans cost-saving clean air tips

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August 31, 2011 | 2,977 views | Post a comment

High gas prices and the higher ozone levels that accompany scorching temperatures are causing a growing number of Texas drivers to think “green” this summer. That’s welcome news for organizers of the state’s “Drive Clean Across Texas” air quality campaign.

Officials at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) say it’s easier than many motorists realize to save money at the pump and help reduce air pollution at the same time. That’s why they’re kicking off the annual Drive Clean campaign by encouraging motorists to implement cost-saving, no-cost, and low-cost changes in their driving and vehicle maintenance behaviors to reduce harmful vehicle emissions. In some places in Texas, emissions from cars and trucks make up half of all the air pollution.

“For better gas mileage and cleaner air, we recommend that drivers change their air and fuel filters regularly, keep tires properly inflated, and get their vehicle serviced on schedule,” said Dianna Noble, TxDOT’s Environmental Affairs Division director. “A poorly maintained car or truck can release 10 times more pollution than one in top condition.”

Among other suggestions to “drive green” are to carpool, drive the speed limit, refuel in the evening, combine errands into a single trip, and avoid idling at drive-thrus. These simple steps not only can help eliminate tailpipe emissions, which create unhealthy air, but also will increase fuel efficiency in a car or truck.

For Texas drivers looking to replace their vehicle this year, a low-emission hybrid car or truck is a good way to drive clean. To reinforce this point, the campaign will give away a 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid to one lucky Texan. The vehicle is being donated by the Dallas Cowboys Football Club.

Texas drivers ages 18 and up can enter to win the brand-new Ford Fusion Hybrid, and get more tips on helping improve air quality, at www.DriveCleanAcrossTexas.org. The deadline for entering the online sweepstakes is Monday, Sept. 26.

Reduce air

pollution, cut fuel costs

Every driver can contribute to clean air in Texas. Here are some simple suggestions from the Drive Clean Across Texas campaign:

1) Keep your vehicle in top shape. Proper and timely maintenance of your car or truck will conserve fuel and reduce emissions.

•Keep your car or truck engine well-maintained to lower exhaust emissions.

•Keep your tires properly inflated.

•Regularly change air and fuel filters and service air conditioning.

•Seal your gas cap tightly, refuel during late afternoon or evening, and don’t “top off” the tank.

•Lighten your load by removing roof racks and emptying your trunk of unnecessary weight.

2) Drive less. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road, especially during peak periods (rush hour), means less traffic and less exhaust.

•Combine your errands into only one trip.

•Carpool, vanpool, or ride public transit.

•Work an alternative/flex-time work schedule so you don’t have to drive in congestion.

•Become a telecommuter or start a telecommuting program.

•Take a bicycle or walk when at all possible; it is good for your health.

3) Buy a “cleaner” vehicle. Help make the air healthier for yourself and others by considering the purchase of a fuel-efficient or low-emission vehicle, such as a new, hybrid-electric car. For more information, visit www.fueleconomy.gov. Or, enter for a chance to win a new hybrid vehicle at www.DriveCleanAcrossTexas.org.

4) Drive the speed limit. At high speeds you’ll burn more fuel per mile driven, thus creating more harmful pollutants in the air. It is safer to drive the speed limit, too.

•Accelerate and decelerate slowly and smoothly.

•Anticipate stops and coast to a stop gradually.

5) Reduce idling. Idling wastes gas. In fact, turning off the car and starting it again uses less gas than idling for 30 seconds or more.

•Park and go inside rather than using the drive-thru at the bank or fast food restaurant.

•Anticipate delays and take an alternative route to avoid stop-and-go or stand-still traffic ... or travel earlier or later when congestion is less.

•After starting the engine, do not warm it up; modern engines do not need it.

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