Under the hood: Taking the environment into consideration
Good stuff, Leo! I’ll try to better consider the environment in my answers.
In the case of the larger engine for the truck, I think it’s justified, as one should go with the most suitable engine for the task at hand — in this case, heavy hauling. If I were this driver, however, I’d try to drive a Prius or Leaf during my daily commute and other light-duty trips and save the carbon dioxide-belching truck for its intended purpose.
Let’s look at some things the typical vehicle owner can do to reduce their environmental footprint:
Consolidate trips or carpool
Engines emit far more pollutants and burn more fuel when they are cold-started. Combining errands leads to more warm starts. Under such conditions, the engine’s combustion process, rather than wastefully letting hydrocarbons pass through unburned, creates torque by burning air and hydrocarbons.
Maintain correct tire pressure, drive strategically
Underinflated tires roll less easily across pavement, wasting fuel. And by anticipating the traffic ahead, you can avoid unnecessary braking and accelerating, which are also fuel-wasters.
Worn sparkplugs, dirty fuel injectors, and carbon-coated pistons and valves can lead to misfiring, wasting fuel, and significantly increased exhaust emissions. A dirty air filter or clogged crankcase ventilation system can also waste fuel and increase emissions.
Change oil as specified to keep the variable valve timing system fully functional. Look for and fix fluid leaks so coolant and various lubricants don’t find their way to storm drains and our bays and oceans. Fix a leaking air conditioning system right the first time so it doesn’t continue leaking refrigerant and require repeated recharging.
At any sign of engine chugging or shaking, seek repairs right away to prevent massive hydrocarbon emissions and damage to the catalytic converter. An illuminated check engine or service engine soon light indicates an engine or transmission management fault is perceived to be increasing emissions more than 50 percent above federal test standards. A flashing check engine light indicates a catalyst-threatening (severe) misfire is occurring. Consider a tow or try a more gentle path home that might drop the lamp back to being continuously on (less severe or no misfire).
Purchasing a newer vehicle, perhaps a hybrid, virtually guarantees less smog and greenhouse gasses emitted, in addition to less fuel consumed. In addition to fuel economy ratings, look at and compare a prospective new vehicle’s emissions information on the window sticker. There’ll be ratings for carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions and smog. A larger engine typically emits more grams of emissions per mile than a small one, in addition to using more fuel.