Dear motorists, let’s do our part in making the air safer to breathe We all know that the world’s air is getting dirtier. Yet despite so many cleanup measures all over, it doesn’t look like the quality of air is improving. According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, close to 300 million children worldwide are breathing polluted air. Air pollution often plagues industrialized cities, and Metro Manila is no different. And do you know the biggest contributor to the degrading air quality? You guessed it – vehicles. A National Emissions Inventory was conducted back in 2012, and its partial results revealed that vehicles emissions comprised 71 percent of the pollutants in the country’s air. The numbers are even more alarming in Metro Manila, where a recent study  by the Environmental Management Bureau discovered that 80 percent of air pollution in metro is caused by vehicles. As motorists, we all have our part to play in keeping the air clean for the present and future generations. While most of us can’t afford to buy a hybrid or electric car, there are actually more than a few easy ways to reduce the amount of toxic fumes generated by your car. Follow these simple tips and start feeling good about yourself every time you take out your vehicle for a drive.

1 Avoid idling

An idling vehicle wastes fuel and releases harmful emissions unnecessarily. More than 10 seconds of idling consumes more fuel than restarting, so the next time you’re at a traffic light, waiting for someone at a driveway, or stuck in a traffic jam, turn off the engine. This is even more advisable for modern cars that have an automatic start/stop button. Pushing that button off is all it takes to save money on fuel and prevent harmful gases from escaping into the air.

2 Turn the air conditioner off when you’re near your destination

Around five to 10 minutes before you get there, shut your A/C off. Don’t worry, your cabin will still remain cool enough to keep you comfortable in that span of time before you’ve parked. True, the emission savings you earn by doing this doesn’t amount to much, but with the world’s air quality getting worse by the minute, every bit of savings counts. Aside from reduced emissions and saving gas, shutting off your A/C early also helps your body acclimate to the outside temperature, reducing your discomfort when you exit the vehicle.  

3 Clean and replace your air filter regularly

If you follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule to the letter, your vehicle technician is already doing this for you. If not, then you have to perform this maintenance step on your own. Ideally, you should clean your air filter every three months or 5,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. Likewise, replace it every 12 months or 20,000 kilometers, again, whichever comes first. By keeping your air filter clean and good as new, you keep it working effectively to keep out dust, dirt, and other contaminants out of your engine. This ultimately helps your car run more efficiently and produce a much cleaner exhaust.  

4 Change engine oil as required

Dirty engine oil leads to the accumulation of gunk and carbon in your engine, making it less efficient and prone to producing more harmful emissions. You should replace the engine oil in your car every 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers, depending on how frequently you drive, your personal driving habits, and the age and type of vehicle you own. On that note, it pays to drive safely and efficiently to reduce emissions and save money on fuel costs simultaneously. Always go easy on the gas and brake pedals—avoid harsh acceleration and sudden stops.  

5 Don’t drive too often

One guaranteed way to reduce your vehicle emissions is to simply leave your car in the driveway. Consider walking, biking, or using public transportation. Most forms of public transportation produce lower emissions per passenger than private vehicles. Carpooling can also be a viable transport alternative worth considering. On that note, if you have to attend a meeting, why not host it via video-conferencing or telecommuting? The fewer days your vehicle is on the road, the lesser emissions it will release into the atmosphere.  

6 Buy a more fuel-efficient car

If it’s time to replace your car, look for fuel-efficient vehicles that promise low emissions. These cars can potentially save you money on fuel costs while helping the environment. If you have the money to swing it, then you might as well take a look at hybrid cars. – Carmudi feature  

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