Transportation is California's largest source of carbon dioxide gas, the primary contributor to climate change. Cars and trucks that transport goods and people create approximately 38% of total climate change emissions. Driving green saves money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
No-Cost Steps to Drive Less & Drive Clean
Drive your vehicle less
- Encourage employees to use transit, bicycles, and walk to work, meetings and events. Consider providing incentives to promote less driving!
- Increase the use of email, video conferencing, and telephones to eliminate travel time.
Optimize vehicle use
- Schedule travel so that multiple tasks can be accomplished with one trip.
- Use available software to optimize fleet vehicle route to achieve reductions in fuel use and emissions.
Simple, Low-Cost Investments to Drive Less & Drive Clean
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Maintaining correct tire pressure and a tuned engine can save over a ton of greenhouse gases per year.
- Establish a policy against idling vehicles.
- Use cruise control on long trips and overdrive gears (if available).
- Remove excess weight from your trunk, and if you have a removable roof rack and aren't using it, take it off.
- Replace your air filter regularly. A clogged air filter can significantly reduce fuel economy.
- Provide employees with driver training and incentives for driving efficiently. Providing training in "eco-driving" behavior may result in average fuel savings of 5-10%.
- Change the oil according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Perform regular maintenance on all vehicles.
Longer Term Investments to Drive Less & Drive Clean
Use smaller, more efficient vehicles
- Downsize by matching duty requirements of staff to the smallest possible vehicle for the task. Smaller vehicles should be substituted for larger vehicle; phase in more fuel efficient vehicles as older vehicles are retired. Do not use 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles unless absolutely necessary.
- Include fuel efficiency standards in bid specifications to ensure the most efficient vehicles are purchased. Bid specifications can be written based on minimum engine power to ensure only the smallest, most efficient vehicles necessary are purchased.
- If lifecycle costing is used when purchasing vehicles, include the cost of fuel in the calculations.
Consider using alternative fuel vehicles
Alternative fuels are compressed natural gas, ethanol, liquid natural gas, and propane. These fuels do not offer the same level of greenhouse gas benefits as electric-drive technologies, but they can provide a wide range of air quality benefits. Visit the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center to find an alternative fueling station near you.
Consider purchasing electric drive vehicles
Electric vehicles powered by batteries and gasoline-powered generators (hybrids) save fuel costs and greatly reduce vehicle emissions (including local smog). They are appropriate for many tasks and, especially in the case of battery-powered electric vehicles, have much lower greenhouse gas emissions than standard internal combustion engine vehicles. Fuel-cell vehicles powered by hydrogen are even better and are increasingly becoming available.
- ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability 2001 Transportation Report While written for local governments, this easy-to-read report titled “Sustainable Transportation Options for Protecting the Climate” has practical, climate-friendly transportation considerations applicable for small business.
- Traffic Solutions promotes and encourages alternatives to driving alone, with the goals of reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and vehicle miles driven as well as improving the quality of life for employees, visitors, and residents of Santa Barbara County.
- 511 Regional Rideshare Program for Contra Costa County helps employers encourage alternate transportation options for employees like workshops, trainings, incentive programs, and on-site consultations.
- California Air Resources Board’s DriveClean Program
Seeks to provide information for all car buyers interested in clean technology vehicles. Use their comparison tools to find out how your current fleet vehicles, or vehicles you are considering buying, stack up in terms of smog and global warming pollution.
- The Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse
Serves as a one-stop source of information for the transportation community on transportation and climate change issues. It is intended for use by the transportation community including all levels of government, private industry and non-profits, and provides a forum to share information, learn about new research, and understand practices and approaches that are being used to address the linkages between transportation and climate change.
- Alternative Fuel Fleet Management Tool
NextEnergy, a nonprofit organization with a mission to become one of the nation's leading catalysts for alternative and renewable energy, developed an evaluation tool for fleet managers. Use the tool to explore alternatives from hybrids to alternative fuels and compare them to traditional gas and diesel vehicles, with access to hard data to help determine what will best fit your needs.
- U.S. EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership
Collaboration between EPA and the freight industry to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. The SmartWay site features many useful tools including a vehicle comparison tool, financial resources, and innovative programs to help small truckers stay on the road.
- U.S. EPA: Alternative Fuels
Information on alternative fuels, including fact sheets and information on vehicle emissions.
- U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center
Provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels, in addition to other petroleum reduction options such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction, and fuel economy.