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  • Resolve to Drive Less and Smile More in 2021

    Jan 04, 2021 | Read More News
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    Pima County, Ariz. (January 4, 2021) – It’s that time of the year when we consider making positive changes in our lives for a better future. Because of COVID-19, many of our transportation habits changed in 2020. For those who are fortunate enough to have a job where they can work from home, the drudgery of a daily commute was eliminated. Fewer miles on the car, less wear and tear on the tires and engine, fewer stops at the gas station - all add up to money saved. You may not have realized it, but reducing the time spent driving may have reduced your level of stress and allowed you to feel a little happier in spite of the pandemic. 

    Numerous studies from many countries indicate that driving has a negative effect on our physical and emotional well-being. According to a study from the United Kingdom, average happiness levels begin to fall and anxiety levels rise after the first 15 minutes of the commute to work. Other studies show driving increasestraffic on busy street heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, anxiety and depression risk, mostly due to the unpredictability and loss of control we experience. Studies concluded that those who commuted by car had lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety on average than non-commuters. By making a resolution to continue driving less in 2021, we may be able to improve our health and increase our wealth and happiness throughout the year. 

    A large portion of air pollution in the Tucson area is caused by using our motor vehicles, so whenever we can skip a trip or share a ride, it will benefit the air we all breathe. According to information from Pima Association of Governments, every 1.17 miles driven creates about one pound of air pollution, including greenhouse gases. 
    And your vehicle doesn’t have to be moving to pollute the air -- idling vehicles create air pollution in a concentrated area.  Research by Argonne National Laboratory indicates that idling your vehicle’s engine for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and emits more carbon dioxide than turning the engine off and restarting it. In addition, vehicles warm up faster by driving slowly than by idling. So, if you choose to use your vehicle, reduce idling by avoiding drive thru lanes and warm up the engine while driving instead of sitting in the driveway. 

    Working from home, carpooling with people within your "bubble" and following CDC guidelines, riding the bus or streetcar being COVID-compliant, walking or hopping on a bike are all effective ways to reduce vehicle wear and tear, gasoline use, and air pollution. And you may find that you enjoy the chance to save money, reduce stress, make new friends, get some exercise and feel good about the transportation choices you make in 2021. While you are enjoying your commute and smiling more, you can make plans for what you will do with all that money you’ll save! That’s definitely a resolution you’ll benefit from all year long.