Why Drive Clean?
Californians cumulatively drive more than a billion miles every day, producing more than 1,000 tons of smog-forming pollutants and more than 534,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly half of California's smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 36% of greenhouse gases come from cars and trucks. That makes your car a great place to start cleaning the air.
Health wise, about 93% of Californians live in areas that fail to meet health-based federal or state air quality standards, creating an increasing hazard to everyone.
California and the world is already seeing the impacts of climate change—rising sea levels, extreme weather, increased wildfires and more. Only by reducing emissions now can we avoid more substantial, disruptive and expensive future changes. Read tips below to help reduce air pollution and keep California beautiful.
Here's How YOU Can Make a Difference
- Explore electric cars
If you really want to help the environment, go electric! A variety of technologies and more than 45 electric car makes and models with zero- or near-zero emissions are available to choose from. It’s easy to find one that’s right for you—and many incentives are available to save you time and money.
- Buy cars with the best ratings
Cars vary in pollution levels, even within the same make and model. You can lower your carbon footprint and make a big reduction in pollution just by comparing smog and greenhouse gas ratings on the federal Fuel Economy and Environment Label before you buy or lease.
- Increase your current car’s efficiency
If it's not time for you to buy a new car, then consider how your current car can be more efficient.
- Keep your car serviced
As engines deteriorate and wear over time, pollutants can increase, especially if a car is not properly maintained. Get oil changes and replace spark plugs, timing belts, hoses and filters at proper intervals. Be sure to act quickly when your check engine light comes on—something that definitely needs attention.
- Properly set tire pressures
About 40% of cars on the road in California have severely under-inflated tires—six pounds under manufacturer's recommendations. Under-inflation can seriously reduce vehicle handling, increase tire wear, force the engine to work harder and increase fuel use. If all U.S. drivers kept their tires properly inflated, some 2 million gallons of gas could be saved daily.
- Adopt an easier driving style
Go easy on the brake and accelerator and reduce idling time. Studies have shown that these three modifications alone can reduce overall emissions by 10%.
- Link your trips
Cold engine start-ups use twice as much fuel and pollute twice as much. Combine trips into one multipurpose trip that keeps your car engine warm and you will save on fuel and pollute less. Think before you drive: "Do I really need to make this trip?"
- Use your car less
The car trip not taken uses the least amount of fuel and creates zero emissions. When possible, consider walking, biking and public transit.
- Keep your car serviced