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Tag Archives: carbon emissions

Gear to Make Your Electric Vehicle Even More Eco-Friendly


EV UCLAAs a driver of an electric vehicle (EV), you've made the crucial leap toward eco-friendly transportation. Not only could you be receiving government subsidies for your environmentally-conscious choice, you're also emitting less carbon emissions that contribute to pollution and climate change. While you deserve a pat on the back for your eco-friendly choice, you don't have to stop at the purchase of an EV. Below are five upgrades, gear and tech on the market that will make your EV more eco-friendly.

Upgrade to Efficient Tires

Your old tires can drastically decrease your car's energy efficiency. Avoid neglecting your tires by monitoring for any potential wear and replacing them as needed. Vehicle tires sold by Continental offer eco-friendly options that lower rolling resistance while cutting down carbon dioxide emissions. With temperature-activated functional polymers, these tires offer strong traction and long tread life, allowing you to remain safe in your vehicle in even the worst weather driving conditions.

Install LED Lights

Light emitting diode, or LED, lights are not only environmentally friendly — they're also cost effective and efficient. LED lights have a longer life-span, lasting up to 25 times longer than their counterparts. They also don't contain any mercury, reducing their overall global footprint and environmental impact. LED lights also use less energy and emit less heat than traditional car lights. They're easy to maintain and highly resistant to breaking, allowing you the comfort of driving safely on the road for longer periods of time.

Use a Solar Charger

If you charge your electronics, including smartphones or tablets, using your car's power adapter port, you could be draining your car's battery and its efficiency. With a solar charger like the R7 7 Watt Rollable Solar Panel from Power Film Solar, you can charge electronics without draining your vehicle's battery. This means a longer life span for your car's battery and less periodic maintenance and replacement.

Invest in a GPS Tracking System or Route Planner

One of the easiest ways to make your vehicle more eco-friendly is to practice efficient driving. This includes avoiding speeding while accelerating and braking at a steady pace. A GPS tracking system, including systems sold by Mastrack, is great to keep tabs on your car. But it also provides you with alerts, including:

  • Real-time traffic
  • Google maps to provide you directions
  • Check engine notifications
  • Maintenance monitoring
  • Mileage tracker

You'll also receive alerts if you're driving too fast, which will allow to monitor your average speed and track your vehicle's overall efficiency. For those days you're running errands all over town, download a route planning app such as Route 4 Me that will plan the most efficient commute in just a few seconds. Finding a concise route will save you time and money, and shorten your drive time by up to 35%.



Transportation is Now Largest Source of Pollution in US

smogPhoto By Dave Herholz (flickr)

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the transportation sector in the US has produced more carbon pollution over the past 12 months than any other sector of the economy.

The new data from the US Energy and Information Administration (EIA) shows that carbon emissions from transportation have exceeded emissions from the electric power, industrial, residential and commercial sectors.

"These recent findings are an important wake-up call that highlights the need for urgent action to combat global-warming-causing pollution from transportation sources," said John Olivieri, National Campaign Director for 21st Century Transportation at the US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG). "Over reliance on single-occupant vehicle travel and a failure to prioritize non-driving modes of transportation like transit, biking and pedestrian alternatives is having a profound impact on the health of our planet and the health of our citizens."Smoggy LA

Here at UCLA Transportation, we are committed to getting solo drivers out of their car and into some form of alternative transportation. Not only can alternative commute modes reduce the impact of climate change and improve our overall health, it can save you time, money and the stress of driving in traffic.

To incentivize our commuters, we are constantly striving to offer promotional items such as free transit passesfree bicyclescarpool discounts (with guaranteed parking for eligible students) and one month of free vanpool.

Do you want to do your part to combat global warming and reduce carbon emissions? Find out about our alternative commute programs here.



5 Ways to Green Your Commute for Earth Day

globe in hand and spectacular sunset

What are you doing to make this planet a safer and greener place on April 22nd? With Earth Day rapidly approaching, what better way to celebrate than by playing your part in making Earth a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for all.

We've compiled a list of things we city folk can do to give back to this planet we call home year round. Go big or go home, right? Don’t be alarmed though: We promise this list does not require for you to get your fingernails dirty or your shoes wet.

Here are 5 simple ways you can green up your commute:

  1. Go Electric. Electric vehicles are a man’s best friend. Yes, even above our own furry friends. These electricity-powered vehicles are able to transfer up to 80% of the energy stored in their small but mighty car batteries, unlike gas-powered vehicles that can only use about 14-26% of the total energy. And even better, electric vehicles emit 0 kg of CO2. Find your nearest EV dealer.
  1. Try an E-Bike. With so many shops here in LA solely dedicated to the sale and repair ofelectric and folding bikes, the time has never been better to try out your very own e-bike! With a brilliant combination of electric power and one's actual manpower, these bad boys will help you get in good shape for this summer—all while helping you do your part in reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. Check out LA’s very first electric bike shop.
  1. Drive at the Speed Limit. Yes, I know this one may sound like something we’ve all heard a million times, but there is a lot more riding on this law than just the safety of you and those around you. Driving the speed limit can actually reduce fuel consumption by 10% and can reduce GHG emissions by 0.12 tonnes per year! Now that sounds like a law worth following!
  1. Service your vehicle regularly. Truth is, many of the negative effects that come with driving our vehicles can be diminished with something as easy as checking your tires before work. Driving with one tire under-inflated by 20% can result in the consumption of approximately two weeks more fuel per year, which not only reduces your vehicle’s tire’s life by six to nine months, but also increases your vehicle’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Even things like replacing clogged air filters in your vehicle can improve fuel economy and reduce GHG emissions greatly. So what are you waiting for? Show your car the love it deserves!
  1. Scoot, Blade, & Skate. Tired of the usual bike commute? Why not try utilizing other inexpensive ways to get from point A to point B such as rollerblading, riding a scooter or skateboarding!
    • Rollerblading’s increased popularity has captured the interests of many California natives. Plus, it has been proven to quickly improve your fitness and cardiovascular health while helping you avoid that heavy carbon footprint.
    • Skateboarding may not seem to be for the faint hearted, but studies have actually determined it to be a relatively safe sport in terms of injuries sustained. Join the other 11 million participants worldwide who have made skateboarding their own unique way of giving back to planet Earth! Also, don’t forget to join Go Skateboard Day on June 21, 2016, by skateboarding to work or school!
    • Scooters are a very inexpensive way to get to your destination. They are also gaining some real traction as an alternate means of travel for people of all ages. Additionally, they come in a huge range cool colors and sizes. I mean, what else could you possibly ask for?


Guess What Happened Recently

BruinBus AVL Photo Shoot

BruinBus AVL Photo Shoot

We won another award! Specifically, UCLA Fleet and Transit took home the Sustainable Fleet Award at the 2015 Fleet Technology Expo in Long Beach a few weeks ago. Why? Because of our significant contributions to environmental sustainability and fleet efficiencies!

Here’s the gist: More than half of the vehicles in our fleet use alternative fuel, including every single one of our
buses. UCLA has measured an average 30% reduction in carbon emissions every year since 2012 because of our
sustainable programs and fleet, as well as our many far-reaching campaigns that encourage biking and walking instead of driving. Over the past 26 years, UCLA has seen a 23% decrease in the commuters who drive alone, saving a whopping 103,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from polluting the environment.

We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and we thank you all for contributing to our efforts. As for you solo drivers out there: It’s never too late to Be a Green Commuter!

Q&A with Juan Matute, Director of the UCLA Local Climate Change Initiative

Juan Matute is the Director of the UCLA Local Climate Change Initiative at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. We asked him a few questions about climate change, transportation and what we can do about it.

Tell us about the Climate Change Initiative at Luskin. 

The UCLA Local Climate Change Initiative does research to support California’s transition to a low-carbon economy while enhancing our quality of life. One of our next projects will look at walkability, bikability, job access, and transit access in different neighborhoods in the Los Angeles region. We want to identify neighborhoods where it’s relatively easy to live a car-light or car-free lifestyle.

Do you have any recent successes at Luskin that you can tell us about?

I recently released a report on hidden incentives that keep Californians driving, even if they’d rather switch to other modes. While many policies may seem innocuous, they end up spreading out cities (leading to greater trip distances and less walking), reduce demand for other transportation options (such as carshare and carpool) or strip some of the potential cost savings  from those who don’t use automobile infrastructure.

What kind of role does transportation play in climate change?

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California.  Successfully reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions will require substantial changes in how we get around each day. In the future, we’ll see far greater levels of walking for neighborhood trips than we currently do. This means substantial changes to the transportation and land use system will occur over the next few decades in order to make walking the preferred mode for more trips.

How do a person’s transportation choices factor into climate change? 

California can set an example for how a rich, auto-dependent economy moves beyond high-energy transportation modes toward a more sustainable means of getting around. UCLA has one of the oldest and most studied alternative commute programs in the country. By using discounted transit passes, biking, walking and even paying for parking rather than receiving it for free, UCLA students, employees, and visitors have managed to make commuting to UCLA far less energy and traffic-intensive than it would otherwise be.

How do you commute to campus each day, and what’s your favorite aspect of it?

I either bike or take the bus to campus. I really like to watch The Colbert Report on the bus, because it makes my commute experience orders of magnitude better than sitting in a driver’s seat, waiting for a queue of cars to get onto the freeway so that one person occupying 300 square feet of space can sneak under the 405.

What can members of the UCLA community do to support Luskin’s work on climate change?
Follow @UCLAClimate on Twitter and respond to the U.S. Census Bureau. Policy researchers love data.