Happy Earth Day to our fellow readers! Today is an opportunity to appreciate this beautiful planet we call home. According to the Earth Day Network, 1 billion people take part in Earth Day activities throughout 192 countries. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 after a major oil spill in Santa Barbara, California a year prior. This was a good opportunity to bring environmental concerns to the public eye. That first annual celebration soon led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
We have made some great progress in protecting our environment over the past few decades, especially in regard to air quality. According to the EPA, air quality continues to improve as the US economy, miles driven, energy use and population all continue to increase. However, the statistics seem to be somewhat hazy (pun intended).
According to the State of the Air (SOTA) 2018 Report, “ozone pollution significantly worsened in 2014-2016, while improvements continued in year-round particle pollution and fewer episodes of high particle days.” We know that climate change is causing the spike in ozone levels due to increased temperatures world-wide. Unfortunately, the warming climate is accelerating the formation of ozone.
On a more positive note, according to the SOTA Report, the year-round particle pollution decrease can be attributed to increased use of cleaner vehicles and technology. Compared to gasoline, ethanol produced from corn through the dry-milling process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34%.
If you have a Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV), using E85 in your tank is an easy and cost-effective way of reducing emissions. For those with a vehicle from 2001 or newer, 88 octane is a blend of up to 15% ethanol that is a cleaner, less expensive alternative to gasoline.
So, if you need to fill up your tank while taking part in Earth Day festivities, find a station near you. It’s an easy way to help our air quality.