Think green, even when you’re pumping gas

Photo courtesy of Eliza Beth at

When you visit the gas station, have you ever noticed an overpowering smell of fuel? The fumes that you smell come from evaporated gasoline. Once they get into the air, gas fumes can break down into some nasty byproducts that poison people and animals who breathe them, cause more global warming than an equal amount of carbon dioxide, and linger for years in groundwater.

Short of getting an electric car, there are some things you can do. One of the easiest is changing the time of day that you visit the gas station. By choosing to fill up your car only in the evening or on overcast days, you can significantly reduce the amount of smog in the air.

Since heat and sunlight are two of the necessary ingredients for smog formation, it is no surprise that NOx and VOC emissions released during the day will be more likely to become smog. If these emissions are instead released in the evening, they have time to dissipate with wind, before heat and sunlight are present to complete the reaction.

Because gas is sold by the gallon (and the gallon measures volume rather than mass) you can save money while you protect the environment. Buying cold, dense gasoline gives you more gas for the same price. It’s estimated that pumping “hot gas” costs American drivers more than $2 Billion a year.

You can also choose to use less volatile fuels. Lower octane fuels are less likely to evaporate and they cost less to begin with. If your car is designed to run on regular fuel, avoid using super premium gasoline. Using excessive grades of gas not only puts an avoidable dent in your pocket book, but it can also hurt the environment!

Photo courtesy of filmcan8 at

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