Roughly 20 percent of all vehicle trips in the United States are under a mile

One thing you can do: Drive smarter The New York Times | Eduardo Garcia and Lisa Friedman

Transportation creates more greenhouse emissions than any other sector of the United States economy. That’s in part because the number of cars on the roads keeps increasing. […] “Good driving behavior can help increase the efficiency of your vehicle by between 20 and 30 percent,” said Dave Cooke, senior vehicles analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “That’s a big range, and it really puts a lot of the onus on reducing fuel emissions on the driver.” Changing your vehicle’s oil regularly, inflating the tires to the recommended pressure and unloading heavy stuff from the trunk will help you optimize your car’s fuel efficiency even before you get behind the wheel. Once you hit the road, make it a smooth ride. According to the Department of Energy, aggressive driving – things like speeding, rapid acceleration and abrupt braking – can lower your gas mileage by up to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic. […] Many modern vehicles have start-stop technology that turns off the engine when the car isn’t moving. If you have an older car, shutting down the engine when you’re not in traffic – say, in parking lots – is probably the best way to reduce emissions. The Energy Department estimates that eliminating idling of personal vehicles would be the same as taking five million vehicles off the roads. That’s equivalent to every car in Sweden. […] If you follow these tips, you won’t need to fill up as often. But when that time comes, bear in mind that not all engines are created equal and the one in your car is optimized for a particular type of fuel. You should use it. If the manufacturer recommends regular gasoline, for example, using mid-grade or premium would be less efficient. Finally, consider walking, biking or taking the bus when feasible. That won’t always be an option. But, sometimes, it might be. Roughly 20 percent of all vehicle trips in the United States are under a mile. “When you get into the car, the first question that you need to ask yourself is: Do I really need to drive there,” Mr. Cooke said. “If everyone was to cut just 10 percent of the car trips they take, that would lead to a pretty significant reduction in emissions.”