DYK – Did you know that Americans have been keeping their vehicles longer than we used to? From 2002 to 2020, the average age of in-use light-duty vehicles grew by two and a half years, reaching a new high of 12.1 years. The period from 2009 to 2013 experienced a more rapid rise in average age than the rest of the series. This shows that a number of reasons, with 2009 – 2013 likely driven by the impacts of recession, are contributing to drivers deciding not to replace cars as quickly as prior to 2002.

How can drivers with older vehicles reduce air emissions? A few ideas include:

  • Vehicles that are model year 2001 and later can use E15, with 2007 and later model years able to use ethanol blends up to E30. If you’re in greater Lansing, fill up with mid-level ethanol blends at Carbon Green BioEnergy in Lake Odessa. “Flex-fuel vehicles” are those that are built to use ethanol blends up to E85 (85% ethanol to 15% gasoline). Check for a sticker in your fuel door to ID your car as a FFV.
  • Use your vehicle less often – walk, bike, bus or carpool whenever possible.
  • Don’t idle your engine. Turn off your vehicle when waiting in a drive-thru or waiting to pick up/drop off your riders. It takes less fuel to stop the engine and start it up again than it does to run the engine while you’re not driving.
  • “Eco-drive” – use driving habits like coasting to a stop at red lights and easing on the gas when the light turns green. You can get better fuel economy, thus lower emissions from your vehicle.