When and how you fill your car with gas actually does make a difference for the environment and your wallet. When fueling up, follow these tips…
Obviously the greenest way to fuel up is to not fuel up – or fuel up less: The more you bike, walk, skateboard, and take public transportation the less you’ll even need gas. You can also combine trips – i.e. hit the bank and store all at once, move closer to public places you visit (like your kid’s school and the store).
Replace your vehicle gas cap: Replacing that cap tightly after fueling up is a great way to save fuel. Leaving the cap off or loose can leach gasoline vapors into the atmosphere which contributes to ozone problems. Many newer cars come with attached gas caps which is handy. If your car lacks this feature, consider a dot of brightly colored paint on the cap to remind you or a note on the dash of your car.
Get gas when no one else is: If you go when everyone else goes to get gas you’ll spend large amounts of time idling in the gas station line. Get gas when it’s not at all busy. Yup, not when you’re on your lunch break or at 5pm.
Don’t fuel up on ozone action days: Ozone action days or Air Quality Action Days usually occur on hot, muggy days with little wind. This sort of weather can cause ground-level ozone levels to reach less healthy than usual amounts. According to the EPA, symptoms of breathing ground level ozone are chest pain, coughing, nausea, throat irritation, and congestion and aggravate bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma. You can sign up for alerts about ozone action days at AIRNow. The EPA further notes that if you have to fuel up on an ozone action day you should do so in the early morning or later evening.