Driving Change

Video by Julia Blakely and John Perrino

How many gallons of gasoline did you put into your car during your last fill-up? Multiply that number by 20 and you’ll have the amount of CO2 emissions that will be released into the air by your car.

That’s right, every gallon of gasoline emits 20 pounds of CO2 into the environment.

A gallon of gasoline only weighs a little over 6 pounds, but CO2 is created from combining the carbon with oxygen in the environment which means that the weight of the gasoline in your car more than triples in the amount of emissions released through your exhaust pipe.

What Changes Can We Make?

We all have a number of options to lower the amount of vehicle emissions released each day. Below are four simple ways to stop emitting 5 – 9 tons of CO2 automobile emissions each year.

  1. Choose a car that gets better mileage.
    Having a car that gets better mpg means you are putting less vehicle emissions into the air. The EPA and U.S. Department of Energy have a great comparison tool to help consumers find the right car for them when considering gas mileage.
  2. Walk, bike, or take public transportation.
    If you’re close enough to walk or bike to work, or even to the store, you are making nearly a 100% difference in the amount of vehicle emissions you are producing. Even if walking or biking to work is not feasible, consider taking public transportation when you can. You will not only be helping the environment, but also your wallet.
  3. Carpool
    Get to work in the fast lane and split save money and reduce pollution doing it. Carpooling is a great option if you are looking to save money, the environment, and have a few buddies at the office who live nearby you. Many areas have carpool lanes that will let you get to and from work much quicker, and everybody will be splitting the fuel cost.
  4. Use low-carbon fuels
    Using ethanol, CNG, or other even cleaner automobile fuels (electric car?) can help reduce CO2 pollution when you are driving.

What will fuel your change? 

John Perrino is a senior majoring in Political Communication at The George Washington University. Julia Blakely is a senior majoring in Journalism at The George Washington University.

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