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Do an Emissions Test – Online!

10 November 2009

There is a cool Department of Energy website that personalizes your car’s fuel efficiency and carbon/petroleum footprint.  If you go to the “Compare Side-by-Side” link, you can choose your car’s make and model and find out the following: fuel costs per year, gas mileage, barrels of oil your car consumes per year, and tons of CO2 emitted per year.  The visuals are quite effective.  I did it for my car at home, a 1998 Honda Civic, which uses 12 barrels of oil, emits 6.6 tons of CO2, and costs me $1400 a year! Luckily, I take the bus to my internship.  I compared it to a Prius, which uses 7 barrels of oil a year, and gets 50 mpg  instead of 30 mpg.

Even if you don’t have an extremely fuel efficient car, there are still a few easy things you can do to lower your fuel costs and carbon emissions. First, drive safely.  This is obvious, hopefully, but if you avoid sudden accelerating and braking, and if you don’t speed, you can increase your fuel efficiency by 33% on the highway!  Also, don’t drive faster than 60 mph.  Why?

You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas.

That’s almost a quarter more for every 5 mph over 60!  If you want to keep that money in your pocket, also get rid of excess boxes or stuff in the back of your car, and use the cruise control on long trips.  You can keep an extra dime if you keep your tires properly inflated.

Now that you know, update your Energy Challenge pledge to reflect your new knowledge about driving and fuel efficiency.

:: Dept. of Energy

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