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State offers tips for driving cleaner

By Sonny Long
Aug. 21, 2012 at 3:21 a.m.
Updated Aug. 22, 2012 at 3:22 a.m.


ENTER TO WIN

To enter for a chance to win a 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com and click https://www.drivecleanacrosstexas.org/sweeps/.

REDUCE AIR POLLUTION AND CUT FUEL COSTS

Every driver can contribute to clean air in Texas. Here are some simple suggestions from the Drive Clean Across Texas campaign.

Keep your vehicle in top shape. Proper and timely maintenance of your car or truck will conserve fuel and reduce emissions. Drive less. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road, especially during peak periods, means less traffic and less exhaust. Drive a "cleaner" vehicle. When researching your next car or truck, consider a fuel-efficient or low-emission vehicle, such as a hybrid-electric model. Drive the speed limit. At high speeds, you'll burn more fuel per mile driven, thus creating more harmful pollutants in the air. Reduce idling. Idling wastes gas. In fact, turning off the car and starting it again uses less gas than idling for 30 seconds or more. SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

LEARN MORE

To learn more about the Victoria BlueSky initiative, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com and click victoriabluesky.org

Idling cars, like idle hands, are not a good thing.

Reducing vehicle idling time has been part of the Texas Department of Transportation's Drive Clean Across Texas campaign this summer. City of Victoria environmental programs coordinator Marie Lester wholeheartedly agrees with the premise.

"On-road vehicles, the cars and trucks we drive, are one of the top sources of ozone pollution in Victoria," Lester said. "Idling less is an easy way to reduce pollution - whether you are waiting in line at school to pick up your kids, at a restaurant or any other drive-thru."

Lester noted that with the start of school, often waiting with the car idling to pick up children during the hottest time of the day can be unhealthy.

"Kids are short - their noses and mouths are low to the ground and very close to the car exhaust. To protect their health and keep them safe, it's best to turn engines off," she said.

TxDOT's annual outreach program encourages motorists to implement cost-saving changes in driving and vehicle maintenance behaviors to reduce harmful emissions, according to a news release.

"Making sure your vehicle is in good shape is something each of us can do to reduce damaging air pollution," said Carlos Swonke, TxDOT's environmental affairs director.

For Texas drivers looking to replace their vehicle this year, a low-emission hybrid car or truck is a good way to reduce air pollution.

To reinforce this point, the Drive Clean Across Texas campaign will give away a 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid to one lucky Texan. The vehicle is being donated by the Dallas Cowboys Football Club.

Texas drivers ages 18 and up can enter to win the brand-new Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The deadline for entering the online sweepstakes is Sept. 23.

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