Did you know that “what you drive, how you drive, and what fuel you use can impact both the environment and your pocketbook?” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put together a Green Vehicle Guide website that provides useful information and answers to all your questions about how you can go green on the road and save money too.
Even if you currently own a conventional vehicle that uses fuels like gasoline or diesel, you’ve probably already starting thinking that you’d like your next vehicle to be one that uses an alternative. And you’re probably also wondering what that means. What are the alternatives?
Most of us have heard about electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). With EVs you can plug in at home and/or recharge at over 7,000 public charging stations across the nation. The PHEVs use both electric and gasoline, making them versatile when passing through areas where there are no charging stations, a preferred choice by those who need to travel further.
You may also be familiar with propane or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, but have you heard about fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)? FCVs are just beginning to enter the market and use pressurized hydrogen to power fuel cells which then generate electricity to power the vehicle; there is even one facility in California that is producing hydrogen from wastewater. FFVs can use gasoline or E85, a mix of 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol (created from cereal grains, sugar crops, and cellulose from waste/residues, energy crops, and woody biomass); there are currently over 2000 stations across the nation. FFVs have been manufactured since the 1990s and there are millions of them on the road, yet many owners aren’t even aware that their car might be one; EPA recommends checking your fuel door or driver’s manual to find out.
Biodiesel is another alternative that can be used for most diesel engine vehicles (check with your vehicle manufacturer or warranty). Biodiesel is produced by refining oil from oilseed crops, waste grease/tallow, and algae, and can be dispensed just like gasoline; it is available at many public stations either as 100% biodiesel or other blends like B20, a mixture of 80% diesel and 20% biodiesel.
Not only do the alternatives help reduce negative impacts on the environment, especially the EVs and PHEVs, but they can also reduce the cost of driving your car, by 50% in some cases. And even if you currently drive a conventional vehicle, you too can do your part to minimize harm to the environment while saving some greenbacks.
Did you know that leaving your car at home just two days a week can reduce your GHG emissions by over 3,000 pounds per year? Whenever possible choose alternate modes of transportation, such as public transit or carpooling, or how about walking or biking, which won’t cost anything other than the calories you’ll burn. Also, remember to keep your vehicle well-maintained by going for regular oil changes and maintaining the recommended tire pressure.
Another way to save money is to obey speed limits and drive sensibly. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph; aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town. Sensible driving and obeying speed limits can improve your gas mileage by 10%, which is like saving $0.08 to $0.27 per gallon at the pump. Besides, smart driving is safer, which means you could also be saving yourself from paying for speeding tickets, accident repairs and medical expenses, and increased insurance premiums.
Click here to learn more about green vehicle solutions, including what role the EPA plays, what else you can do to drive green and save green, what to expect in the future, how to find an EPA Certified SmartWay Vehicle, where to locate alternative fueling stations near you, and to access fun facts, “infographics,” and related links.
STP has recently released an update to its publication Vehicle Maintenance Facilities in California: A Federal and State Compliance Guide and also publishes the following related guides: