Archive for Thursday, June 21, 2007

Helping improve air quality can save motorists money

June 21, 2007

According to the Mid-American Regional Council's air quality index, the amount of ground-level ozone in the air in the metropolitan area Wednesday was "moderate." As MARC's Web site explains, the pollutant reaches higher levels during the warm weather months as emissions from vehicles, lawn mowers, power plants and factories react with sunlight and heat. The higher levels can make being outside miserable for all and dangerous for those with respiratory illnesses.

MARC suggests a number of things people can do to reduce the amount of ozone pollution, such as drive less, mow in the evening, get tune ups on mowers, vehicles and boats and don't top off tanks to reduce the change of overflow. There is common sense behind all these recommendations and many will save us money during the hot weather when gas prices always seem to rise.

Among the other suggestions from MARC is one to fill tanks and containers in the evening when fumes will dissipate quicker. Once again, fueling early in the morning or late in the evening might save drivers because gas expands as temperature rises, meaning there is less energy per drop. In fact, temperature increases above the 60-degree standard pump calibration could cost consumers from 3 to 9 cents at the pump.

Many motorists turn in when they see a few cents trimmed from the cost of gas but fueling on cooler days or cooler hours also could make a difference. It just requires a bit of planning. That it is better for the environment, is a bonus.

There's another selfish reason to practice MARC's common sense suggestions. Collective effort to improve air quality also could delay or prevent a move to special, more expensive, fuels.

For more on MARC's daily air quality report and tips on what individuals can do to help, see: www.marc.org/Environment/airQ/

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