Out and About
Maintain Your Vehicle
With proper maintenance, such as changing your oil, checking your tire pressure, and replacing filters, you can reduce your cars emissions and improve gas mileage up to 5%, which can save you up to 24 cents per gallon of fuel used. A poorly maintained vehicle can release as much as 10 times the emissions of a well-maintained one. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on routine maintenance. If you drive a well-maintained car with a 13-gallon gas tank and fill your tank once a week, you could save $3.12 a week.
Annual Savings: $163
- Check Your Tire Pressure
To improve fuel economy and reduce emissions from your vehicle, keep your tires properly inflated. By keeping your tires at their maximum recommended pressure, they’ll last longer, they’ll deliver better gas mileage, and you’ll be safer on the road.
- Replace Air Filters
Check the air filter in your vehicle and replace it regularly. Clogged air filters cause engines to work harder, which requires more fuel. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy by as much as 10%. And you’ll lower your fuel costs, protect your engine, and reduce emissions from your vehicle.
- Pay Attention to the “Check Engine” Light
If your “check engine” light is on, get your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. By keeping your engine tuned, you can reduce emissions, as well as help increase gas mileage. Repairing even a minor problem can improve a vehicle’s gas mileage by as much as 4%. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.
- Avoid Overfilling the Tank
When filling your vehicle’s gas tank, don’t top it off, which can allow fuel to escape as vapor and also increases the chance for spilling gas. After you finish filling up, make sure you properly tighten the gas cap; otherwise, gas will evaporate from your car’s tank.
- Reduce Idling
If you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds, park your vehicle, turn it off, and go inside. Unnecessary idling wastes fuel and creates more emissions than restarting the engine. Whether you’re at a restaurant, a bank, or anywhere else you might wait in line, avoid unnecessary idling by parking and turning off your vehicle. You’ll dramatically reduce your fuel costs and help improve air quality.
- Change Your Oil
Properly maintain your vehicle and change your oil regularly. By following the manufacturers suggested maintenance schedule and using the recommended grade of motor oil for your vehicle, you can improve fuel economy. You save money by improving your vehicles performance and extending its life, while also reducing emissions.
Buy a "Cleaner" Vehicle
The next time you’re shopping for a vehicle, consider the benefits of one with a high fuel-economy rating. A fuel-efficient vehicle will reduce air emissions and reduce fuel costs. The difference between a car that achieves 30 mpg versus 20 mpg can amount to $968 in savings over one year. Over five years, a 30-mpg vehicle could save you $3,313 in fuel costs. In some communities, the TCEQ offers assistance for individuals who need to repair or replace older vehicles.
Annual Savings: $968
To reduce vehicle air emissions, you can carpool with a coworker, use public transit, or simply combine errands when possible. By ride-sharing every day, commuters can save up to $3,000 a year on gas, insurance, parking, and wear and tear on their cars. One Texan using mass transit for one year can keep an average of 4.9 pounds of nitrogen oxides from being discharged into the air.
Annual Savings: $3,000
Recycle Used Motor Oil
Two gallons of recycled motor oil can produce enough energy to power the average Texas home for one day, cook 36 meals in a microwave oven, blow-dry your hair at least 215 times, vacuum a house for 15 months, or watch television for 7 1/2 days straight! Whenever you change your oil or other vehicle fluids at home, make sure you recycle them. And NEVER pour used motor oil down storm drains, because the drains will carry the oil directly to Texas waterways. The used oil from one oil change can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh water–a year's supply for 50 people. Find a recycling center near you.
Drive the Speed Limit
By slowing down and avoiding aggressive driving, you can improve your fuel economy by 5% if driving in town, or by up to 33% on the highway. Slowing down and keeping to the speed limit also helps to reduce air emissions. Typically for every 5 MPH you drive over 60 MPH, its like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon of gas you use. If you have a 13-gallon fuel tank, you can save $2.60 per tank just by driving the speed limit.
Annual Savings: $135
Lighten the Load
By removing unnecessary items from your vehicle, you can reduce the amount of weight it carries and help improve fuel economy. Even an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your fuel mileage. In addition to saving you money at the fuel pump, this improvement in fuel economy can also help reduce emissions from your vehicle.
Drive a Clean Machine
To help replace older, more polluting vehicles from Texas roadways in counties with high ground-level ozone, and reduce emissions from vehicles that are already on the road, the TCEQ offers assistance to help replace and repair vehicles through the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program. Eligible individuals in 16 Texas counties can receive financial assistance to replace vehicles that are more than 10 years old, or to help repair vehicles that have failed an emissions test. Find out more about how you might qualify.
Learn more ways to do your part at Drive Clean Across Texas.