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GASP’s Earth Week of Actions: How to Reduce Your Impact on Air Quality When You Go Mobile

This Earth Week, we want to challenge you to consider how much your transportation choices might impact local air quality – and what small changes you could take to make a big difference.

Case in point: If your main source of transportation is a car or truck, know that just 10 minutes of idling time contributes about a pound of carbon dioxide – a primary contributor to global warming – into the air. 

That’s why GASP has long advocated for anti-idling laws and partnered with local businesses and communities to help remind folks to turn off their engines by providing “No Idling” signage.

Most recently, we were pumped to partner with the City of Pittsburgh to create a Public Service Announcement to get the word out about the importance of NOT idling. We hope it also helped dispel the common misconception that idling is better for the car and the environment than shutting off and restarting your engine. 

You can check out the video here:

But when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, there are other transportation choice changes you can make:

  • Seems obvious but drive less. This could mean walking or biking when you can, utilizing Pittsburgh’s bike-share program or taking public transit, carpooling, or using a ride-sharing service when possible. Experts also advise folks to plan ahead to make the most efficient route when running errands, and if your employer allows it, consider skipping your commute entirely by working from home when permitted. 
  • Don’t drive like a jag. Seriously – the way that you drive can absolutely impact the emissions emitted. So go easy on that gas pedal and those brakes and remember that maintenance matters. Regular oil changes and tune-ups help ensure your vehicle is running as efficiently as possible.
  • Consider a more fuel-efficient vehicle. There are many “greener” driving options out there for consumers these days. There are electric cars, hybrid vehicles, and those that run on cleaner-burning fuel. If you are or will be in the market for a new vehicle, check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Vehicle Guide here.
  • Don’t forget about the air pollution implications of your home deliveries. Reduce your impact by asking to have your packages sent in as few shipments as possible and choose companies that use minimal and/or eco-friendly packaging.

We hope you take the opportunity to get out and explore some of those other local transportation options. Yes, there are ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft. But if you’re interested in getting into the biking game, check out our friends at Bike Pittsburgh – they have so many resources (including the Bike Commuting 101 Guide). 

We also recommend you register for Healthy Ride, our local bike share program, and rent a bike from any of Healthy Ride stations (P.S. they are available 24/7 for as little as $2 for every half hour or for free with a PAT ConnectCard).

The Port Authority of Pittsburgh provides public transit via bus, light rail, and inclines. Also wanted to know that PAT encourages riders to combine modes of transportation to reduce dependence on cars, so every bus provides a bike rack.

Editor’s Note: You can check out more Earth Week Actions on our blog. Here’s what you may have missed:

GASP’s Earth Week of Actions: How to Get Involved, Use Your Voice & Be in the Know About Air Quality

GASP’s Earth Week of Actions: Prioritize Recycling & Reusing

GASP’s Earth Week of Actions: Take Action to Stave Off Food Waste

GASP Earth Week of Actions: Everyday Choices That Can Help Improve Air Quality at Home & Work

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Group Against Smog and Pollution