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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

April 17, 2009

Live Green!

Give your car a vacation

by Merry Rankin, director of sustainability

Take a moment to look at your car's social calendar. Looking pretty crazy?

Giving your car a break also can give you and the environment a break. Reduce your driving and you'll also reduce the following:

  • Carbon footprint. Burning one gallon of gas in your car puts an average of 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (a dominant greenhouse gas in global warming) into the atmosphere. Transportation accounts for one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, surpassing factories, homes and office buildings.
  • Dependence on non-renewable energy. Every day, cars and light trucks in the United States consume an average of 8.2 billion barrels of oil.
  • Water pollution. Hundreds of thousands of tons of pollution in the form of road runoff enter our waterways annually. The pollutants include oil, other automotive fluids and chemicals used to maintain roads. Transportation-related runoff is considered the leading source of pollution to U.S. waterways.
  • Expense. While it's very easy to tally the costs of fuel, maintenance and parking for your vehicle, it's difficult to track the true cost of driving. For example, what about the cost of time lost sitting in traffic, the trickle-down costs of roadside cleanup and repair, or remediation costs of water, air and noise pollution? Find out what it really costs you to drive online.

You have options

  • Carpool. Buddy-up with colleagues, neighbors or commuters who have similar transportation needs and take turns driving. You easily can reduce your costs by 50 percent or more. Or join an organized car pool, such as ISU's van pool. You won't even need to use your car. Contact Transportation Services, 4-1657, for more information.
  • Take public transportation. In Ames, we have an excellent opportunity to use public transportation through CyRide (and Veishea is a perfect time to give it a try). CyRide is free for students, and during a trial period this summer (May 15-Aug. 15), it also will be free for all riders. Check online for more information.
  • Burn your metabolic energy. Dust off the bicycle or treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes and use your own propulsion for transportation. Not only does this cut your driving costs to nothing, it also simplifies your exercise regimen.


Live Green!

More information on Iowa State's "Live Green!" initiative is online.