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Choosing an Automobile - Environmental Information to Help You Choose Your Next Car!

Choosing and Maintaining an Automobile

Environmental Factors and Information to Consider in Choosing Your Next Car or Operating Your Present Car

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Choosing a car

  • Your choice of vehicle makes a difference for the environment. Use the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide to choose the cleanest vehicle (year 2000 or newer) that meets your needs. The guide helps you to choose the cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs. Low emissions and good fuel economy are both important for the environment. Using the information in this guide, you can choose the cleanest vehicle available that meets your needs. The choice you make will affect the quality of the air we breathe, because passenger cars and trucks are major contributors to air pollution. Even with continued improvements in air quality, almost 100 million people still live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution, much of which can be attributed to the increased use of passenger cars and trucks. Children and the elderly are the most at risk from air pollution. For older cars, look up the list of emission test data which EPA publishes annually. Please note that this data is not ranked in any way, and thus may be less user-friendly.
  • Electric Vehicles (EPA 400-F-92-012, August 1994) [124K PDF]
  • Different versions of the complete Green Vehicle Guide can be viewed or downloaded here. First select the model year that you are interested in. Next, select the way you would like to see the data sorted. Then, select the report type that best suits your needs: Adobe Acrobat PDF, MS Excel spreadsheet, or tab-delimited text file. Finally, press the "View/Download" button.

    To download Adobe Acrobat Reader: Download the Acrobat Reader!

    File Format:

    Maintaining and using your current car

    • The tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks account for almost a third of the air pollution in the United States.
    • Tips to Save Gas and Improve Mileage
    • Be responsible about using and caring for your vehicle and it will reward you by polluting less and lasting longer!
    • Choose a more fuel efficient vehicle
      The better gas mileage a vehicle gets, the less fuel it burns. Less fuel burned means fewer natural resources are used and less pollution is created from the extraction and processing of the fuel. Less fuel burned also means that less carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is added to the atmosphere. To help you select a more fuel efficient vehicle, EPA and the Department of Energy publish an annual Fuel Economy Guide, available at .

    • Drive fewer miles
      Vehicles make up almost one-third of smog-forming emissions nationally, and because we are driving more and more miles every year (up 127% since 1970), vehicles continue to be a significant contributor to air pollution. Whenever possible, take public transportation, car pool, and combine activities into one trip (such as shopping trips).
    • Commute to work
      Best Workplaces for Commuters
      EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
      The Best Workplaces for Commuters program was established by EPA and DOT to recognize employers who voluntarily meet the National Standard of Excellence in employer-provided commuter benefits. Providing commuter benefits helps employers address limited or expensive parking, reduce traffic congestion, improve employer recruiting and retention, and minimize the environmental impacts associated with drive-alone commuting. The Web site provides information on the program for employers, employees, supporters, and commuters.
    • Maintain your vehicle properly
      Your vehicle is designed to perform best when maintained according to the instructions found in the owner's manual. A poorly tuned vehicle can pollute significantly more than one that's well-maintained.
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    Pollution Prevention (P2) for auto repair and fleet maintenance

    The fact sheets below provide complete environmental, technical and economic evaluations of the top Pollution Prevention "fixes" for auto repair and fleet maintenance operations. You can also order our videos that feature these same P2 "fixes" at work in auto repair shops and fleet maintenance operations, and that include operator testimonials and case studies.

    These materials are meant for state and local environmental agencies and technical assistance programs that want high-quality, tested materials to use in their outreach efforts; trade associations looking to provide state-of-the-art Pollution Prevention information to their members, and auto shops and fleet repair facilities who need cost-effective solutions for their environmental problems.

    We continuously add new materials to this site; research reports, field data, case studies, and links to other related sites, in an effort to keep you up-to-date and informed. As users, you can help us. Please send us your success stories and any important information you think we should post. We're especially interested in how this information helps you reduce waste, and save you money!

    Links to related sites:

    Fuel Economy

    This provides comprehensive information about the U.S. EPA's Fuel Economy Program. EPA is responsible for providing the fuel economy data that is used by DOE to publish the annual Fuel Economy Guide, by DOT to administer the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, and by IRS to collect Gas Guzzler taxes.

    In addition to the information contained on this web page, EPA, in partnership with DOE, supports the website where consumers can compare the fuel economy of light-duty cars and trucks as well as view the annual Fuel Economy Guide and get detailed information about advanced technologies such as hybrids and fuel cells.

    Index of Fuel Economy Topics

    About PDF Files

    horizontal ruleFuel Economy Guide

    Fuel Economy Guide data is derived from vehicle testing done at the EPA's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and by vehicle manufacturers who submit their own test data to EPA.

    • Fuel Economy Guide
      Download the latest Fuel Economy Guide

    • Press Release (October 23, 2003)
      "29th Annual Mileage Estimates for 2004 Model Year Cars"

    • Fuel Economy Guide Reports -- Downloadable text files, formatted for printing -- by model year

    • Fuel Economy Guide Data -- Downloadable, delimited text files for import into databases or spreadsheets ) -- by model year

    • Copies of Fuel Economy Guide booklets are available from:
    bulletNREL Fuel Economy Guide Request
    1617 Cole Blvd, MS1633
    Golden, CO 80401
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    Fuel Economy Test Car List

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    Fuel Economy Trends

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    Consumer Information

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    Fuel Economy Regulations

    Overview: Pollutants and Programs