At AskPatty.com, we recognize our responsibility to the world around us and are continually striving to reduce our environmental impact, both through the products we promote and through our own on-site processes.

The vehicles we recommend:

  • Utilize hybrid gasoline/electric power plants, or

  • Are powered by clean-burning natural gas, or

  • Produce the lowest emissions possible, thanks to PZEV and ULEV engines, or

  • Use sustainable flex-fuel options such as biodiesel or ethanol blends, or

  • Promise more than 28 miles per gallon.

What we are recommending that our Female Friendly Dealers do:

  • Use in-store bottle and can recycling bins for guests and employees;

  • Recycle scrap metal, car batteries, tires, and paper;

  • Reduce paper use: store reports on networks instead of printing, make two-sided copies, run fewer daily reports;

  • Turn off lights and electrical items in unused offices;

  • Use compact fluorescent and energy smart bulbs in fixtures wherever possible;

  • Encourage and incentivize ridesharing, mass-transit use, or bicycling/walking to work;

  • More initiatives are in-progress!

What can you do?

In the car:

  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Driving with your tires at the proper inflation can improve your efficiency by up to 3%. That's a savings of $30 to $70 depending on how much you drive, and can reduce greenhouse gasses by 1.42% to 0.69 percent. Under-inflated tires alone cost the country more than $3.5 million gallons of gasoline each day.

  • Observe the speed limit. As a general rule, assume that each On average, every one mph increase over 50 mph reduces your fuel mileage by .1 miles per gallon. That's one mile per gallon less for every 10 mph over the speed limit you drive. Depending on your driving style and how fast you drive, you could waste 20 to 70 cents per gallon.

  • Relax. Avoid hard or "jackrabbit" starts and stops. Aggressive driving can reduce your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.

  • Reduce excess vehicle weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your trunk. Each 100 pounds can reduce your economy by 2%

  • Keep your car properly tuned. A well-tuned car can run 4% more efficiently than one that is out or tune or has failed its emissions test.

  • Check and replace air filters regularly. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your fuel economy by as much as 10%

  • Don't idle. Idling for just 10 minutes per day can waste as much as 22 gallons per year. At $3.00 a gallon, that's $66 in your pocket.

Around the House:

  • Re-use a plastic bottle instead of reaching for a new one. 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to make bottles every year -- a waste that could provide electricity to 250,000 homes instead.

  • Plant trees around your home. You can reduce home cooling costs as much as 50% and grow yourself a little shade for those warm summer days.

  • Adjust your thermostat. Just one degree can reduce your cooling and heating costs by 3%

  • Wash your clothes in cold water and save up to $400 a year in heating costs.

  • Consider planting bamboo. Bamboo stores more C02 and generates 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.

  • Re-use grocery bags. Globally, we use as many as 1 million new plastic bags every minute at a cost of 2.2 billion gallons of oil each year.

  • Replace your incandescent light bulb with compact fluorescents (CFLs). If a million households each replaced four traditional bulbs with CFLs, we could eliminate 900,000 tons of greenhouse gases.

  • Turn off your computer. Computers use up to 70% less electricity when you put them to sleep instead of using a screensaver.

  • Consider solar power. If just 1 million homes switched to solar power, we could cut yearly CO2 emissions by 7 million tons.

5 Things Not To Sweat

  • Turning off your car's air conditioner - Yes, the AC does affect fuel efficiency. But Consumer Reports figures it amounts to only one mile per gallon, and edmunds.com says you could end up burning more if you open the windows and increase air resistance. The green experts at both groups say it's okay for highway drivers to use the AC on a low setting. Keeping cool makes sense because it'll make you a safer driver.

  • Filling up your tank with ethanol - The corn-based fuel is popular with politicians looking for votes from Iowa farmers, but environmental groups have opposed the subsidies because of all the land, water and energy needed to produce it. While using ethanol instead of gas may reduce greenhouse emissions by about 10 percent, the benefit is swamped by the adverse environmental consequences, according to an exhaustive study of biofuels last year by Swiss researchers.

  • Recycling everything - While it can make economic sense to recycle aluminum and paper, towns frequently lose money recycling glass and plastics because they're expensive to collect and aren't worth much. Go ahead and recycle plastic if it gives you pleasure -- you can feel virtuous about the energy savings. But there are easier and cheaper ways to reduce greenhouse emissions. And you may not be saving energy if you're making a trip to the recycling center to haul a few bottles.

  • Buying local food - If you want to support local farmers and love fresh food, fine, but don't assume you're helping the planet. Foods from farther away may be grown and shipped so much more efficiently (and cheaply) that they produce fewer greenhouse gases. "There are lots of good reasons to eat local," says David Victor, director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University. "But energy savings don't top the list, because local production often requires more trips than mechanized food production."

  • Going organic - Buying organic food makes sense if you believe it's tastier, more nutritious or safer than conventionally grown food (despite conflicting opinions on these points). But there is one major environmental downside: Since organic farms often yield less per acre than factory farms, organic food requires more land, leaving less room for forests that absorb carbon dioxide and wilderness areas that promote biodiversity.

  • Skip a Trip - Sitting in your La-Z-Boy instead of in an airplane seat is the easiest way to make a big difference in greenhouse emissions. Forgoing a single international trip might offset all the carbon dioxide you produce through your home and car during the entire year. Besides spewing CO2, jets emit water vapors and other greenhouse gases (like nitrogen oxides) that are believed to be at least as damaging as the CO2 (maybe even twice as damaging, by some estimates).

    The nonprofit group Environmental Defense calculates that an international round-trip between cities 4,000 miles apart (like, say, Al Gore's home in Nashville and Oslo, Norway, where he received the Nobel Peace Prize) produces approximately eight tons in CO2-equivalent gases per passenger. That's roughly the amount of CO2 produced yearly, per person, to power the average American car and supply heat and electricity for the average home.

  • Support Carbon Taxes - A wide range of experts, liberal and conservative, agree that imposing a carbon tax on gasoline, coal and other sources of fuel would be the simplest and most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. This would be a surcharge imposed on users of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas according to the amount of carbon dioxide produced. Some have proposed easing the pain by returning all the revenues of the tax to the public, either through other tax cuts or direct rebates. My favorite scheme to keep the money out of Congress's hands calls for divvying it up into retirement accounts for every American.

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