By Jack Lee
Are you ready for some good news? Clean air policies are starting to have an impact, and, as far as I can see, this is only the tip of the iceberg. In the past few years, environmental issues have moved from the background to the forefront for many industries, and, while we have a long way to go, it looks as if we have made progress. And, the best is yet to come if we work together to cut toxic emissions.
According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, efforts to cut air pollution in the past few decades have helped increase life expectancy in the general population. The report gives comprehensive evidence that shows air quality improvements can have a measurable effect on health. The research group discovered that, on average, reductions in fine particulate air pollution in the past few decades increased life expectancy by some five months for those living in 51 US cities researchers included in the study.
"This tells us that continued efforts to improve air quality—even in only moderately-polluted cities—should result in improved life expectancy," said author Arden Pope. Much of the fine particulate matter in the air we breathe comes from industrial activities and burning fossil fuels. "The evidence clearly suggests the reason we're seeing increases in life expectancy is because we have a reduction in an important risk factor, in this case air pollution, to cardiopulmonary disease generally," said Dr. Pope, who is a professor at Brigham Young University in Utah.
Five Easy Ways to be a Part of the Clean Air Solution
It might seem that our own small contributions don’t count for much. But, we don’t live in isolation. Our actions are an example to others—both negative and positive. Your single action is magnified by the example it sets for others to follow.
And, it’s no different when you consider how you manage your fuel. Automated systems are available that help you understand exactly what your fuel consumption needs are and where fuel is being wasted. When you cut consumption, you cut toxic emissions. Here is what you can do:
• Adopt new eco-friendly refueling practices. You can save 10 to 15 percent of the fuel you consume if you have fuel delivered rather than driving to card-locks or storage tanks to fill up. And, with that, an equal amount of emissions are eliminated. When calculating those numbers based on the size of your fleet over a period of months, the reduction in greenhouse gases is staggering.
• Improve fuel efficiency by smarter driving habits. Poor driving habits waste fuel. Excessive idling and jack-rabbit starts are the two biggest culprits. Pre-planning routes will cut unnecessary miles and save fuel.
• Set up a training and rewards program for your drivers. Make everyone aware of how they can cut greenhouse gases by practicing eco-friendly driving habits. Reward performance with a “Green Driving Award” monthly.
• Measure it and reduce it. Fuel management systems can give you accurate data on each truck and piece of equipment to help cut fuel and emissions. And, it is delivered by e-mail. Once you know where fuel is being wasted you can better manage it—cutting costs, consumption and emissions.
• Use cleaner, greener bio-fuels when possible. Renewable fuels are available and they are not more expensive—they also can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint.
And, what about other environmental risks? Fuel often is looked at as a “dirty business.” It’s difficult to erase the images of oil spills from our minds, and we are afraid of causing the smallest fuel spills, which can stain the environment and have costly cleanup bills. With a fuel management system, you no longer have to take a chance on using unqualified people handling, transporting and refueling. Some refueling companies train and certify their drivers so there are virtually no risks to the environment. Certified refueling professionals will safely deliver and refuel your trucks, equipment or tanks efficiently and safely—eliminating all risks. If there is a spill, and this rarely happens, your refueling company is responsible for the cleanup—not you.
Now we can all live longer, breathe better air and pass on a greener environment to our children. But, there is one more benefit—with a fuel management system working to cut fuel consumption and emissions, you will save thousands of dollars on your fuel bill. Now that’s a breath of fresh air!
About the author:
Jack Lee is the president and CEO of 4Refuel Inc., a fuel management company. Lee can be reached at AskthefuelExpert@4refuel.com.
For more information about 4Refuel or other automated systems, click here to go to Utility Products' Buyers Guide.