One of the biggest reasons that people opt away from taking public transportation is that they feel that it is unsafe and dirty. However, choosing to ride the bus, train, or subway can mean substantial monetary savings as well as make a big difference in how much negative impact a person has on the environment. It can also free the person up to do small tasks on the way into the office, rather than he or she being tied to the wheel for the entire commute. With there being so many wonderful reasons to ride the rail (or other form of public transit), it simply makes sense to consider the best ways to take extra precaution and safe guard against thievery and germs before hopping aboard. The truth of the matter is that one can ride any one of these public vehicles and remain perfectly intact, as long as he or she does a little preventive maintenance. This article addresses five things that all individuals should consider before buying the next ticket.
Take Advantage of What Science Has to Offer Cleanliness is a very hard thing to accomplish during cold and flu seasons. Even the less sickly months have many illnesses that could make work, family, and even those few minutes of fun impossible. While this should not deter you from riding public transportation, it should be a reminder to respect the fact that thousands of hands may be touching those same surfaces every day. Fortunately, science and manufacturers have brought us several wonderful products lately to help us battle germs and infection. First and foremost is antibacterial gel. These little bottles or wipes are wonderful for killing anything that might get on your skin while riding with all of those other passengers. Simply squeeze a dab on your hand and rub in, or use a wipe to clean your skin and the surfaces that you must touch.
Another group of great items on the market today are those vitamins, minerals, and medications that are used for preventative measures. Flu shots, high doses of calcium, and the use of a daily multi-vitamin can really do wonders for your immune system and make that travel a little less worrisome.
Dress Down Fine. Maybe you work in an office where the words “dress down” are rarely, if ever uttered, but that doesn’t mean that you need to or will want to showcase your status on the bus, train, or subway. Doing so could make you a sitting target for thieves. Rather than wearing your finest clothes when climbing on board, perhaps you would be better off wearing jeans, sneakers, and hiking shoes until you get to the office, and then changing into the suit, tie, and Rolex or skirt, blouse, and Pradas. You can look great all day long and still do your part to save the world each morning and night. Given the explanation for why you are doing what you are doing, who could argue?
People Watch This might be an activity that has gotten people in trouble in the past, but it is essential when travelling with hundreds of other passengers. This doesn’t mean that you need to consistently stare at those closest to you, but it might be wise to take a quick peek at the other passengers. Instincts play a big part in keeping a person safe, and if another person’s actions are causing you concern, then it might be best to stay away.
Travel Light, but Carry a Few Extras In a previous section, changing at the office was suggested. However, it is probably best to leave that change of clothing in your office rather than carting it along in a big bag. Try to keep your load light, so you can get easily in and out of the vehicle. The harder it is for you to get around, the more likely it is that you will get injured, run late, or become a target of the thief in the crowd. Not to mention the fact that you are far more likely to get discouraged with public transportation if you are forced to lug fifty extra pounds through stations and the two blocks to your office. Make it easy on yourself and the commute can be enjoyable and far safer.
Plan Ahead and Leave Early Another fear of public transportation is scheduling. It is rare that one can find a boss that doesn’t mind him or her being late to work. For this reason, it is important to ensure prompt arrival. That is most easily achieved if one takes the time to plan the route ahead of time and learn the exact timeline of the transportation. It is also good to have a backup plan in case a bus doesn’t arrive on time, or the subway is so jammed with people that you can’t catch the first car. Because we all know that this can happen, especially in situations of bad weather or large accidents, it is always best to leave early. If you have to be to work at 9:00, then plan on being there at 8:45. This allows a few extra minutes for travel and worst case scenarios, and your boss will be impressed at your dedication to your job.
Cars, trucks, vans, or motorcycles are essential for many because of the way that we live our lives today, but that doesn’t mean that we have to just roll over and accept the fact that they are leading contributors to the pollution of our earth. While carpooling, driving a more fuel efficient car, or opting for public transportation when available can help, those are the only ways that we can make our personal vehicles a little less guilty in the overall snapshot of the world.
Aside from the release of greenhouses gases into the air, there are other ways that cars pollute the earth. One of those is through their used oil. Although many of us would rather not have to change the oil every few thousand miles, it seems that it is a fact of life for most Americans. The disgusting syrup that is removed from the engine certainly isn’t pretty to look at, and it is even worse if leaked into the ground. Therefore, many organizations have started recycling oil for other uses.
New Uses There are actually many ways that engine oil can be recycled and reused. Some industries are able to use it as a raw material (it is cleaned and reduced to a stock that can be used for lubrication of machinery) for different processes around their facilities. It can also be used as an energy source in some large industrial boilers, which provide heat and hot water to large commercial buildings. Even some smaller offices are able to put the used engine oil to work in smaller, specially designed heat systems. Two gallons of used oil can be used to create enough electricity to power an average home for an entire day.
Yet, that same oil, if released into a water source, could contaminate a whopping two million gallons of otherwise drinkable water. While most repair shops are already recycling their oil, many of the do-it-yourselfers out there are left to wonder what to do with the waste oil collected at home. By delivering that oil to recycling facilities, that person can save millions of gallons of clean water, protect their drinking water source, and can help defend other species against polluted rivers, lakes, and streams.
Furthermore, because much of that oil will be turned into fuel oil, that person will also help save energy. So, if you are one of those people that enjoys doing your own vehicle maintenance, be sure that you are properly collecting the waste engine oil and that it is not spilling, leaking, or splashing onto the ground where it will be absorbed. Then inquire about a facility near you, so you can ensure that the oil is put to good use rather than polluting our world further.
Getting Rid of the Gook Oil is nothing pretty to look at. Most people have no use for it around the house, so why wouldn’t one look into save ways to get rid of it. However, knowing of recycling centers that handle used engine oil is not always a common piece of knowledge. So, it might take a little investigative work to determine where that used gook can go. The organizations that started this movement have certainly made it easier for the public to participate. Already, most car dealerships and auto maintenance shops have started recycling the oil retrieved from the cars of customers, and some will even accept the oil collected by an individual outside of the organization (though not all offer this service, so it is always best to call first before delivering used oil).
In fact, some of those companies will even take the oil filters for recycling as well. If you aren’t doing your oil change on your own, be sure to ask the company that does the work for you what they do with their used oil. Not only will this provide you a level of comfort regarding the oil coming from your engine, but it can also provide you information about where to bring it should you decide to do your own oil change next time. There are some facilities that will collect used oil. It is best to contact the State Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection. They will be able to tell you of facilities near you offering collection and recycling services. There are also websites such as Earth911.com, which feature search bars that are meant to lead the user to recycling facilities for everything from Christmas trees to leftover house paint.
So, it is obvious that recycling used engine oil is the smart, eco-friendly, and moral thing to do and now you know who to call on when you need to find a facility near you. So, don’t dump it, don’t trash it, and don’t needlessly hold on to it. Your oil can be put to good use. All you have to do it send it on its way.
If you’re an environmentally-minded individual, you’ve no doubt been paying quite a lot of attention to the fuel-efficiency of the cars available for purchase. While traditional cars are becoming more fuel efficient, there are now more options for alternative-fuel vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars.
But which is the best option of the two choices? As with any decision, it comes down to your needs and budget. No matter which option you go with, since you are purchasing an alternative-fuel vehicle, you’ll most likely qualify for tax incentives to offset the initially higher purchase price. Since alternate-fueled vehicles are still new on the market, your choices are limited in terms of what types of cars are currently available.
An electric car, by definition, is one that requires to be plugged in, and runs purely on electricity. Electric cars are the most environmental option, creating no emissions, no need for gas, and are extremely silent vehicles, which cuts down on noise pollution as well. However, because of the way electric cars operate, they also don’t have the same power and acceleration as a traditional vehicle.
Since it needs to be plugged in, you not only have to live in a housing option that lets you easily charge it at night, but you also have to live in a city that has easy access to charging stations. That means you have limited range before charging (typically around 100 miles), and it typically takes six to eight hours to fully charge an electric car battery. So, if your situation is that you’re driving many miles on a regular basis, an electric car may not be the best choice for your situation.
Electric cars are still relatively new in terms of being released, and the typical bells and whistles you’re used to in a traditional car may not be readily available. Not only that, it will be more difficult to find an electric car to buy, and it’s likely to be more expensive to purchase compared to a hybrid, as well as more expensive to maintain if it does break down.
However, electric vehicles tend to be extremely efficient and save you money in terms of energy expended, making up for the initial purchase price. Because there are fewer parts in an electric motor, it is easier to maintain – once you find someone who knows how to do the maintenance.
If you want to use your vehicle for a regular, short commute and live in a community that has readily accessible charging stations, an electric car will be the best choice in terms of not only environmental impact, but also in saving you money as well. The fact that you live in a community that has put in the infrastructure needed for charging stations will mean you’re more likely to find a mechanic that knows how to work on electric cars.
A hybrid car is defined as a vehicle that uses more than one fuel source, typically electric/gas combinations. While there are some plug-in hybrids available, which brings up the issues stated above, most hybrids run on gas and use the electricity to do many of the tasks that power the motor. This can be in one of two ways – a series motor, where the gas engine turns a generator that charges the battery which drives the transmission; and a parallel motor, where the gas and electric motor are both used to drive the transmission.
Since a hybrid car does depend on gas, it’s not as efficient as an all-electric car, although it definitely is better in terms of emissions and gas mileage compared to a traditional vehicle. Hybrids have longer range than electric cars, though, and – outside of the electric battery – are very much like traditional cars when it comes to finding replacement parts.
While hybrids are still more expensive than traditional vehicles, they tend to be cheaper than electric cars in purchase price. Maintenance, however, is more along the lines of a regular vehicle plus the electrical side, and so could feasibly be more expensive to maintain.
If you are in a community that isn’t set up to easily handle charging a car on a regular basis, or if you drive long distances on a regular basis, your best bet if you want to use an alternative-fueled vehicle is to go with one of the many hybrid options that are available.
As demand for fuel-efficient vehicles increases, the options available for hybrid and electric cars will only become better. With rising gas prices and the need to become less dependent on foreign oil, manufacturers are taking note and releasing more of each type. But for now, unless you have a short commute with a charging station readily available, your best bet in the alternative-fuel car wars is to look at your options for a hybrid.
One of the ways the world can help turn the tides of global warming and make a positive impact on the environment is to harness the power of natural gas. Natural gas is a natural resource that is readily available, and it is also the cleanest fossil fuel. It’s a valuable source of energy, which can help reduce pollution and solve energy problems if used correctly.
First and foremost, natural gas is an abundant natural resource in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency has studied the use of natural gas and its effects on the environment, and has found that there are numerous benefits to using natural gas. It is made up of mostly methane gas and emits carbon dioxide and water vapor into the air after combustion occurs. These are the same components that humans emit every time we take a breath. Natural gas is considered a “clean” fossil fuel because it can be used as a source of energy, yet it doesn’t produce the same harmful emissions as coal or oil. Coal and oil are made up of numerous components and emit high levels of carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen into the air when used. Natural gas only releases very small amounts of nitrogen and sulfur when used, and practically no amounts of dangerous ash or carbon monoxide.
Natural gas has a lot to offer, which is why many governments around the world are suggesting using it as a source of energy instead of oil and coal. By burning natural gas instead of oil and coal, as well as other fossil fuels, we can lower the amount of harmful pollutants released into the air and help combat a host of current environmental issues. Some of these environmental issues include acid rain, smog, greenhouse gases, and a variety of pollutants from the transportation industry. Global warming is probably the most serious environmental issue facing the world today. It is the result of harmful greenhouse gases that have been released into the air for over a century. In the past, as the world’s population continued to grow and the use of oil and coal became a regular occurrence to provide energy for cars, houses, corporations and more, we have seen a rise in greenhouse gasses. As a result, the world has experienced dangerous climate changes that could drastically change our way of life as we know it. Swapping natural gas for oil and coal is just one of the many ways we can prevent disaster.
The transportation industry is a major player in the pollution game. Automobiles and airplanes that run on gasoline are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gasses. Industries all over the world rely on coal and oil to run their businesses. Natural gas could be substituted as a source of energy instead, and the positive impact would be tremendous. If every industry in the world switched over to natural gas, there would be fewer harmful emissions released into the air. Using natural gas as a form of electricity could also change the transportation industry for the better. Most of the pollution we see in the world is caused by the everyday use of cars, trucks, and other vehicles. That is why air pollution is heavily concentrated in the industrial areas of the world, especially large cities. Operating vehicles with natural gas would severely reduce the amount of pollution and harmful gasses emitted into the air. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the use of natural gas in vehicles will reduce the amount of carbon monoxide emissions into the air by a whopping 90 percent. And because natural gas is a natural substance, there aren’t as many toxic and man-produced components to it like there are when coal and oil is produced into fuel.
If the transportation sector were to switch over to natural gas completely, the results would be astounding. That is why the United States government is so insistent that car manufacturers start creating environmentally friendly vehicles that can run on electricity and natural gas instead of gasoline, which is a byproduct of oil. Switching over to cars that run on electricity and natural gas is just the beginning. Hopefully, the transportation industry will evolve so that everything runs on natural gas in the near future. Natural gas is a wonderful natural resource, and it has the potential to provide an abundance of energy for a variety of industries all over the world. As we move forward in the fight against global warming, we will see the transition to natural gas over other fossil fuels begin to take place. It’s a vital step that will ensure the stability and future of our world for upcoming generations, so that pollution will eventually become a thing of the past. Protecting the environment and the preservation of the earth has never been more important than it is now.
It was the early 1990s, you were at the top of your game and it looked like the rest of the decade was going to sit in your lap and give you a kiss. You decided to celebrate by buying that SUV you always wanted. Everyone else was doing it; it was an accepted form of being ostentatious so you went down to the dealership and rolled back in a luxurious behemoth. You were happy with your purchase. You had spent time at the dealership and talked with the sales person for a least an hour to get all of the information possible on the vehicle itself and how it compared to other vehicles in its class. You felt safe behind the wheel as it was a big sturdy vehicle that would, for all intents and purposes, be an extremely safe vehicle. The mileage was a little costly, but you were heavily invested in technology and you could afford the trip to the gas station. But now nearly twenty years later, the economy has taken a turn that no one expected and issues related to the health of the planet have caused us to reexamine our priorities and the size of our vehicles.
You know this and want to leave a world behind that your children will be able to enjoy; you want to sit down and make a good decision. But what information do you need to make the right decision? First, look at fuel mileage. The bigger the vehicle, the more fuel it will need to propel itself. One statistic that may get your attention is that 95% of the energy created by the ignition of fuel in your engine is used to propel the vehicle. This means that the fuel mileage is even worse for the larger vehicles. If you look at this as a conservation issue, the SUV uses more fuel than a car. The pollution generated by both types of vehicles is also disparate in quantity. Considering that you are burning more fuel in an SUV, you are also producing more exhaust. Therefore, you are damaging the atmosphere more than you would if you were driving a car. For instance, according to recent studies there is a wild difference in the amount of airborne pollution put into the atmosphere by cars and SUVs. SUV’s are reputed to emit over forty percent more airborne pollutants that collect in our atmosphere. To be more specific, the SUV puts out over twenty pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of burned fuel. That may seem insignificant, but consider that in North America alone, there are almost four hundred million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by cars and trucks each year. If you take a look at the large number of SUVs within that contingent, the elimination of unnecessary SUV usage would result in the reduction of millions of tons of released CO2.
You may think that a larger and heavier vehicle is safer than a smaller car. There is only one advantage that comes to mind, if you are involved in an accident with a smaller vehicle. The sheer size differences will leave you unscathed in a majority of mild to medium MVAs. However, the SUV has a danger all of its own. The SUV has a high center of gravity and considering how heavy it can be, it may be extremely dangerous to operate when fully loaded. There were studies done on SUVs from most of the major North American auto manufacturers and it was discovered that if the vehicle carried only the listed maximum number of passengers plus four pieces of luggage, the vehicle was dangerously overweight. Since a car is lighter, it is inherently easier to handle and with its lower center of gravity, it doesn’t flip as easily.
You now need to consider something else that isn’t discussed much in the media, especially the marketing sectors that are either in complete denial or desperate to keep the truth from us. What truth is this? The cost of some vehicles (whether you are talking personal monetary costs or environmental costs) does not begin with the purchase. The cost begins long before that. There is energy applied when the engineers begin to design the vehicle; there is energy applied in the production and manufacture of the parts that make up the vehicle; there are costs associated with the assembly of the vehicle; and there are costs in the distribution of the finished automobiles. It would be interesting to see if someone could put together these numbers, as most of the statistics are readily available, and come up with the real cost of an SUV. Add that cost to the ten thousand dollars a year you will spend on driving and maintaining it and you will be amazed how much less a car will cost you and the environment. Ditch the SUV already.