Beyond the Blue Bag – How Green is Your Vehicle?

Earth Day is that time to revisit and evaluate our environmental habits and how we contribute to a cleaner Truckee and Lake Tahoe. Often overlooked, but one of the biggest contributors to pollution in California is your vehicle.  Keeping up on regular maintenance is a driver’s responsibility to the environment and can make a bigger impact than all your other eco-friendly habits combined.  An unmaintained, poorly running vehicle omits more pollution into the air, burns more fuel and breaks down more often.  Unfortunately, most drivers never consider the environmental effects when they skip maintenance intervals suggested by the manufacturer or drive with the check engine light on.  

Maintenance intervals are designed to keep your vehicle running efficiently.  The check engine light is your warning that the vehicle is not running efficiently and emitting more pollutants into the air than the standard.  This is why a vehicle with a check engine light illuminated can never pass a California Smog test.  Unfortunately, the effect of a dirty car is further reaching than just more pollutants into the air. 

When a vehicle is running poorly, gas consumption increases.  Not only is more fuel being burn, that fuel has to be transported from someplace requiring, you got it, more fuel.  Vehicles that are leaking fluids such as oil, radiator and brake fluid contribute to water contamination.  If repairs are needed due to lack of maintenance the repair shop will likely need to dispose of fluids and replace with fresh fluids.  Multiply this by the 13 million autos operating in California and you can see this makes an impact on the environment.  

Becoming “auto green” is easy but requires an investment of time.  For those who say it costs too much, consider the cost on our environment and the likely higher vehicle repair or replacement cost down the road.  This Earth Day, in addition to your eco friendly habits, take a pledge to keep a cleaner running vehicle. Your vehicle and the environment will thank you.

 

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