At a meeting for ExxonMobil shareholders last Wednesday in Dallas, Texas, CEO Rex Tillerson informed his audience that an economy that runs on oil is here to stay, and cutting carbon emissions is a waste of time.
Mr. Tillerson asked, “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”
How do you begin to answer someone who refuses to acknowledge the growing destruction of our planet due to carbon emissions causing climate change?
Those assembled apparently agreed with him. Around 75% of Exxon shareholders rejected a resolution that would require Exxon to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its products. This was the seventh time they had taken this action.
For Tillerson, profit is clearly the only motive, and when/if we humans end up destroying our planet, well, he won’t be around to witness the event anyway, so why should he care?
The ExxonMobil CEO has it wrong.
How about working now for the existence of an earth where humanity can live safely?
Buying a hybrid or an electric car can produce significant benefits but so can small changes in your driving behavior.
1. Drive Sensibly. According to the U.S. Dept of Energy, aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and sudden braking, wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. It’s also true that one second of high-powered driving can produce the same level of carbon monoxide as 30 minutes of normal driving. Of course, sensible driving is also safer for you.
2. Slow Down. Cars all have slightly different speeds at which they reach their optimal fuel economy, but in general gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. When you slow down, you will also decrease the amount of pollution coming from your car.
3. Remove Extra Weight. Some of us like to keep our trunks jammed full all the time, just because we can’t be bothered to empty them. But an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could decrease your miles per gallon by two percent. This is related to the size of your car, and is truer for small vehicles than for bigger ones.
4. Plan Ahead. Avoid rush hour traffic with all its stops and starts if you possibly can. This goes along with remembering to take care of all your errands on one trip: you’ll create fewer emissions with a warmed-up engine. Then again, why not ride a bike if you can? When you leave your car at home just two days a week, you’ll help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1,500 pounds a year!
5. Avoid Idling. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of gas per hour, so turn off your engine when parked unless you know for sure that you will only be there a minute or two. It only takes a few seconds worth of gas to restart your car. Speaking of parking, on warm days, leave your car in the shade when you can, to avoid evaporation of fuel.
6. Check Your Tires Monthly. Having the proper tire pressure is a crucial safety issue. Next to the brakes, the tires are the most important safety devices on your car. With incorrect tire pressure you’ll find it harder to corner and brake. In the worst-case scenario, improper tire pressure can lead to a serious accident. In addition, every three pounds below your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure reduces your fuel economy.
7. Maintain Your Engine. Changing the oil every 3,000 miles will help your car last longer, and you’ll be saving at the pump. Same thing for tune-ups: taking care of these regularly can mean that you save up to four percent on gas mileage. Try to find an eco-friendly service station that recycles used fluids or safely disposes them.
None of us can save the planet alone, but we can all work together to create awareness of our environment. Drive safely!
Photo Credit: thinkstock
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