Earth Day action item: Engine TLC
Fix your car if it needs a tune up or if it failed an emissions test. Such fixes can improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent and slash your car's pollutants.
Get in the spirit of Earth Day on April 22 by adopting some earthly actions. Other tips provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Earth Day Network:
- Don't keep your engine running while stopped to chat with a friend or to do a quick errand — you're wasting money and adding to air pollution. If you have kids, remind your school to turn off bus engines when buses are parked. Exhaust from idling school buses can pollute air in the bus and in the school.
- Keep your car tires inflated at proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. You’ll also reduce your carbon footprint 20 pounds for each gallon of gas saved.
- Wait for the storm to pass! Don't fertilize before a rain storm. Your fertilizer — along with your money — can just wash off your lawn and down the storm drain. Fertilizer runoff can pollute rivers, lakes, and bays, and cause problems in recreational areas or fishing grounds.
- Remove that roof rack on your car if it’s not used often — that’ll improve fuel economy by as much as 5 percent while also reducing pollution.
- Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with efficient, Energy Star-approved CFLs or LEDs — reduce your carbon footprint by 450 pounds a year.
- Move your thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer — reduce your carbon footprint by 2,000 pounds.
- Use a low-flow showerhead because the less water you use, the less energy required to heat the water — reduce your carbon footprint 350 pounds a year.
- Buy local products with less packaging and recycle paper, plastic and glass — reduce your garbage by 10 percent and your carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds a year.