How Earth Friendly Are You?

“Cars are multiplying faster than people. They’re outbreathing us, too. They’re using up our land area. They’re using up our economic strength.”
— Ernest Callenbach (Author of Ectopia)


The American Lung Association estimates that air pollution from motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial consumption costs the United States $40 billion annually in healthcare and lost productivity.

Each of the ten statements below is a general statement related to our lifestyle. Try to describe your current choices.

Answers range from:

 1  5  10
Never Sometimes Always

Read the 10 statements below. In the adjacent box, write the number corresponding to your answer. E.g. ‚ 1= Never. When you finish, add the numbers to get a score.

Questions Answers
I keep my car tuned up and keep track of gas mileage. 1. _____________
I check the inflation of my tires every two weeks. 2. _____________
I try not to let the car idle unnecessarily. 3. _____________
I try to replace my tires with steel belted or radial tires. 4. _____________
I make an attempt to have the car serviced where the motor oil and antifreeze are recycled. 5. _____________
I reduce auto weight when possible. 6. _____________
I don’t have the car’s air conditioner “serviced.” 7. _____________
I try using alternate means of transportation just one day a week. 8. _____________
I let politicians know I want more and better quality mass transit. 9. _____________
I plan errands so the fewest miles possible are driven. 10. _____________
Score of 20 -69? See tips.
Score of 70+? See resources for ongoing learning.

Tips for Living More Lightly

  1. A well-tuned car uses up to 9% less gasoline and if there is a sudden drop in gas mileage, you can catch it and get the problem fixed quickly.
  2. Under inflated tires can waste up to 5% of the car’s fuel.
  3. It takes less gas to start a car than to let it idle.
  4. Installing the most efficient tires can boost fuel economy of most cars 1-3 miles per gallon.
  5. The motor oil can be refined and the antifreeze can be re-distilled.
  6. An extra 100 pounds in weight decreases fuel economy about 1% for the average car.
  7. Coolants from auto AC units release CFCs into the atmosphere, contributing to 16% of the earth’s ozone destruction.
  8. If 1% of Americans left their cars idle for one day a week, it would save an estimated 42 million gallons of gas a year and it would decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 840 million pounds per year.
  9. A Greenpeace study concluded that it takes $100 million to build one mile of highway and $15 million to build one mile of light rail transit.
  10. Fewer miles traveled by car result in less gasoline burned; less smog, soot, and carbon dioxide pollution; and better health for our world.


The Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, The Union of Concerned Scientists, ISBN:0-609-80281-X