1. Over 40% of the U.S. population lives in areas with unhealthy air.
Answer: True. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), 126 million Americans live in 124 counties that are designated as not meeting national ambient air quality standards. http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/ The American Lung Association has designated May to be National Clean Air Month. Contact your local lung association to find out how to participate in events they have planned (http://www.lungusa.org/site/apps/kb/zip/zip.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=37083).
2. Emissions from passenger cars and trucks account for more than 25% of all air pollution nationwide.
Answer: True. In many U.S. cities, the personal automobile is the single greatest polluter, and emissions from millions of vehicles on the road can really add up. According to the U.S. EPA, in 2002, on-road vehicles produced 27% of all VOC emissions and 35% of all NOx emissions (http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/). Keeping your car properly maintained, and choosing to bicycle and walk to get around, helps improve air quality and reduces traffic congestion in your community.
3. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10%.
Answer: True. According to a U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. EPA Website, www.fueleconomy.gov, changing a clogged air filter can save you as much as 55 gallons of fuel, or at least three trips to the gas station over the course of a year-it also helps protect your engine.
4. Properly maintaining your vehicle, especially when the "check engine" light comes on, is one of the most important ways you can help improve air quality.
Answer: True. Vehicle inspection and maintenance (I&M) programs have been able to reduce air pollution by up to 30% in some states. Without I&M programs, the smoggiest cities would not be able to achieve and maintain clean air (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cfa-air.htm). Also, conducting routine vehicle maintenance will save you money on gas and expensive repairs. National Car Care Month is held in April, which-with your help-could greatly benefit your community's air quality over the ozone season. For event ideas and marketing materials, visit the Car Care Council's website: http://www.carcare.org/NCCM/National_Car_Care_Month.shtml.
5. Bicycling is the second most preferred form of transportation after the automobile, ahead of public transportation.
Answer: True. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics' October 2000 Omnibus Household Survey, 41.3 million Americans (20%) used a bicycle for transportation in the 30 days measured in the survey. Over 9.2 million (22%) of the 41.3 million people who bicycled did so more than ten of the 30 days (http://www.bts.gov/programs/omnibus_surveys/household_survey/2000/october/summary_report.html). Since 1955, the League of American Bicyclists (www.bikeleague.org) has celebrated May as National Bike Month. In 2006, the week of May 15 is Bike-to-Work Week and Friday, May 19, is Bike-to-Work Day. To get involved, contact your state or local bicycle advocacy groups (www.bikeleague.org/linksstateadv.htm).