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Pollution Prevention (P2) for Consumers: Getting Around Town
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In 2004, the American Automobile Association (AAA) calculated that the annual cost of owning a car, accounting for depreciation of the car's value, was more than $8,000 a year, or about $0.56 per mile. Simple car maintenance, such as properly inflating tires and changing air filters, can help reduce these costs. Driving the speed limit and avoiding jerky stops and starts can further reduce costs. Driving 55 miles per hour instead of 65 can increase gas mileage by 15 percent, and one second of hard acceleration can produce the same amount of carbon dioxide, the main gas associated with global warming, as half an hour of normal driving.1 Minimizing driving by biking, combining trips, or using public transportation can further help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eliminating just one 20 mile trip each week can reduce global warming pollution by more than 1,200 pounds a year and save over $100 in gas expenses.2

When it comes to new car purchases, it is important to help consumers understand the environmental and financial implications of their choices. Before buying a car, consumers should consider what they really need. Is an SUV or truck necessary, or can one be rented or borrowed when needed? Smaller cars are generally more energy efficient. Hybrid gas-electric vehicles offer additional gas savings, and some tax breaks are offered for those purchasing hybrids. To research the fuel efficiency of vehicles, visit the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy's joint Web site at

1American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy,
2Environmental Defense, based on one gallon of gas producing 25 pounds of carbon dioxide.






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Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
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Hub Last Updated: 1/8/2013