CarbonCurb Action 26 - Lighten Up, No Pressure
Over one-third of CO2 emissions in the United States come from the transportation sector. That means making minor changes to the way you get around can have a significant impact on your total personal carbon footprint. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle increases the amount of fuel your vehicle uses by roughly 1%. Many people always have sports equipment, books, boxes, trash, etc. in their cars. This all adds up. Remove unnecessary items and clutter to keep your car weight lower. If you're truly committed to the CarbonCurb initiative, you'll remove the spare tire from your car and have a backup plan for the rare occasion you might need it. You can also consider removing unused seats in vehicles that allow you to do so. For the sake of this Action, however, it will be assumed that most people can't remove 100 pounds of material from their vehicle.
If you enjoy going for bike rides, you're likely well aware of the importance of tire pressure. Underinflated bike tires will have you huffing and puffing, and wishing you'd topped off your tubes before departing. Vehicles are no different. A great way to keep your vehicle operating efficiently is to check your tire pressure every month. Go ahead, set a monthly calendar reminder. Your car will thank you, and won't get thirsty as quickly. Another benefit this will have is that it will increase the lifespan of your tires. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates roughly 1% of total gasoline consumption is wasted each year on underinflated tires. Know the recommended pressure for your tires. Tires can lose multiple pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure each month. Some people are driving around unknowingly wasting more than 5% of their gas on underinflated tires.
Road rage, aggressive driving, and commuter impatience is prevalent across the entirety of the U.S. This issue makes Americans particularly inefficient commuters. The typical vehicle reaches optimal fuel economy around 50 mph. The faster you are going beyond 50 mph, the more wasteful you are being. Observing the speed limit can easily improve your fuel economy by 5%-10%. Additionally, be a smooth driver. Rapid acceleration and braking are hard on your vehicle and your fuel consumption. If you accelerate reasonably, anticipate stops and changes in traffic, and do your best to conserve momentum, you can easily improve your fuel economy by an additional 3%.
There are lots of other things you can do beyond this Action to ensure your vehicle is operating as efficiently as possible. By monitoring and correcting your tire pressure once a month, by keeping your car empty, and by driving sensibly and efficiently, you will notice significant savings. Lighten up, no pressure, this isn't that difficult. We're going to be conservative and assume a small improvement in your fuel economy for this action. The impact of committing to Action 26 and reducing your fuel consumption by just 5% is:
205 kg CO2e
1.2% of your GHGs
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