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Automobile pollution

Our cars, while necessary, are very harmful to the environment. The average American automobile emits its own weight in pollutants into the atmosphere each year. Auto emissions account for about 60% of air pollution (espcially ozone smog) in our cities. Reformulated gasoline and Inspection and maintenance programs such as Ohio's E-Check have been introduced in many areas to reduce emissions. These programs, however, are only short term solutions to the problem.

If your car is leaking fluids, these can contaminate the water and soil. Routine maintenance of your automobile creates other hazardous wastes, such as used motor oil, used antifreeze, tires, and other waste. It is important that we dispose of these wastes in accordance with state and municipal environmental regulations.

Read on to discover what you can do to to help reduce the impact of driving a car on our environment.

Tips for Starters:

Walk, ride a bicycle, use public transportation, or carpool whenever possible. Driving less is, not susrpisingly, the best way to reduce automobile pollution.

If you are buying a car, consider purchasing the most fuel-efficient model in its size/category.

Maintain your car in good, efficient working condition to decrease air and water pollution. More than 80% of auto emissions come from less than 30% of the cars.

Change your oil only when necessary. Independent tests by Consumer ReportsŪ magazine indicate that changing modern motor oils every 7,500 miles (synthetics at 12,000 miles) or at the automakers suggested intervals, is more than adequate under most driving conditions.* Also consider using 100% Synthetic motor oils to extend drain intervals on your vehicle. Companies such as AMSOil and NEO Synthetic are now manufacturing 100% Synthetic motor oils with drain intervals that can exceed 20,000 miles.* That could save you money, save oil, and most importantly reduce waste oil and its impact on the environment.

Recycle used motor oil. Each year over 140 million gallons of used motor oil end up in our landfills. When you take your oil to a recycling location, be sure to use a proper reusable container with a tight fitting cap.

Clean out that trunk! You get four percent less gas mileage for every 100 pounds of excess cargo in your automobile, and that means increased air emissions.

Automobile Pollution Factoids

Emissions from the nation's nearly 200 million cars and trucks account for about half of all air pollution in the U.S. and more than 80 percent of air pollution in cities. The American Lung Association estimates that America spends more than $60 billion each year on health care as a direct result of air pollution.

America's cars are more efficient than ever, but our rate of fuel use continues to grow. Since 1980, the miles-per-gallon rating of passenger cars has improved 39 percent, yet fuel consumption is up 19 percent. A key reason: we are driving 50 percent more miles.

Only 13 percent of the energy used by today's vehicles actually propels them forward; much of the rest could be saved with alternative technologies, many of which are currently available.

The development and use of alternative fuels would create new U.S. industries, while reducing oil imports, the trade deficit and air pollution.

The effect of these pollutants on the environment can be diminished if we each make an effort. There are many things that you can do to help!