Annual Clean Air Campaign Kicks Off with Hybrid Car Giveaway
Summers are a time for family barbeques, weekends on the lake, and road trips. Along with these celebrations come a significant uptick in miles traveled and gas consumed on Texas highways.
Fortunately, organizers of the state’s Drive Clean Across Texas air quality campaign have plenty of practical advice for drivers looking to save money at the pump and reduce air pollution at the same time.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is launching its Drive Clean campaign on the first full day of summer. The annual outreach program encourages motorists to implement cost-saving changes in driving and vehicle maintenance behaviors to reduce harmful emissions.
“Making sure your vehicle is in good shape is something each of us can do to reduce damaging air pollution,” says Carlos Swonke, TxDOT’s Environmental Affairs director. “That means replacing dirty air and fuel filters, getting regular oil changes, and keeping the proper amount of air in your tires—all of which help reduce tailpipe emissions.”
Other tips for driving cleaner on Texas roads include carpooling, driving the speed limit, combining errands into a single trip, and reducing idling at drive-thrus. These simple steps not only help eliminate vehicle emissions, but also increase fuel efficiency in cars and trucks.
For Texas drivers looking to replace their vehicle this year, a low-emission hybrid car or truck is a good way to reduce air pollution. To reinforce this point, the Drive Clean Across Texas 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 September 23.
Reduce Air Pollution and Cut Fuel Costs:
Keep your vehicle in top shape
- Proper and timely maintenance of your car or truck will conserve fuel and reduce emissions.
- Regularly change air and fuel filters and service air conditioning.
- Keep your tires properly inflated; under-inflated tires require more energy (or fuel) to roll.
- Seal your gas cap tightly, refuel during late afternoon or evening, and don’t “top off” the tank.
- Lighten your load by emptying your trunk of unnecessary items; extra weight decreases gas mileage.
- 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.
- Take a bicycle or walk when at all possible; it is good for your health, too.
Drive a "cleaner" vehicle
When researching your next car or truck, consider a fuel-efficient or low-emission vehicle such as a hybrid-electric model. For more information, visit www.fueleconomy.gov. Or, enter for a chance to win a new hybrid vehicle at www.DriveCleanAcrossTexas.org.
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.
- Idling wastes gas. In fact, turning off the car and starting it again uses less gas than idling for thirty seconds or more.
Skip the drive-thru at the bank or fast food restaurant in favor of a quick trip inside.
- 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.
For more information, call TxDOT Media Relations at (512) 463-8700.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 11,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at www.txdot.gov. Fan us on Facebook www.facebook.com/txdot. Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/txdot.