With the cost of gas hovering near $4 per gallon, driving isn’t anyone’s favorite activity. But for most of us, commuting to and from work, school and errands is a necessary part of our daily routine. Although you can’t stop driving altogether, there are lots of ways you can send less pollution into our air and water – and get the most out of those 70 bucks you just poured into your gas tank.
Here are a few things you can do (or not do!) on the road to reduce your impact on the Chesapeake Bay – and save you a few extra gallons at the same time.
Collectively, personal vehicles are the single largest contributor to air pollution in cities across the United States. When we drive, vehicle exhaust goes into the atmosphere and poisons the air we breathe.
But what goes up must always come down. Air pollution becomes water pollution when it falls back onto the land in the form of rain or snow. Stormwater runoff carries this fallen exhaust pollution, as well as oil and fuel that’s leaked onto the ground, into the Chesapeake Bay and its local rivers.
Airborne nitrogen – a type of nutrient that can be harmful to our waterways in large doses – accounts for up to one-third of all the nitrogen that pollutes the Chesapeake Bay. Nitrogen fuels the growth of algae blooms, which block sunlight from reaching bay grasses and lead to low-oxygen areas where no life can exist.
The most obvious way to save gas and reduce pollution is to cut back on driving. For lucky urbanites, access to public transportation and the conveniences of city living may make this easier. The rest of us have to get creative.
Here are a few ways you can drive less, no matter where you live:
Okay, so maybe it’s a bit too cold to hop on your bike, or you just have to run out to the store for that last minute-item. No matter how much you drive, there are still some important tips you can follow to make your commute more Bay-friendly.
Maintaining your vehicle is also a critical part of increasing your fuel efficiency and reducing harmful pollutants. Here are a few features to check out on your own vehicle: