Trip Linking

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Enviromentalists call it “trip linking.”  You can call it “Savings.”

Most motorists don't realize that a single one-mile trip to the dry cleaners emits up to 70 percent as much pollution as a ten-mile excursion with several stops. If motorists cut their “cold starts” – starting a vehicle that has been sitting for an hour or more – many tons of pollutants could be removed from the air each day.  Just that simple change can make an enormous impact.  In fact, a study conducted in the San Francisco Bay area showed that if residents reduced their number of “cold starts” by 25 percent, they could remove up to 97 tons of pollutants from the air each day. What an achievement!

Even better, “trip linking” saves time, money and reduces air pollution – creating savings all around.

TripLinking Tips

Motor vehicles are one of the largest contributors to air pollution. An effective way for non-commuters to reduce automobile pollution is to "Trip-Link," or to combine several small car trips into one larger trip.

Non-commuters include parents taking their kids to school, seniors, shoppers, weekend travelers, church goers . . .in effect, everyone who drives. Commuters, too, add to the non-commuter problem when they leave their office by car during the day to run errands or go out to lunch.

If you must drive, you can reduce your vehicle’s emissions by minimizing "cold starts" and short/single-errand trips. A cold car, one that’s been sitting for an hour or more, pollutes up to five times more than a warm car. This is because the engine's air pollution control device, the catalytic converter, takes several minutes to warm up and work efficiently. By linking trips together and keeping your car engine warm, you can avoid cold starts.

Trip Linking is easy, and it will save you time and money.  Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Keep a running list of errands you need to do.
  • Give yourself enough time and plan ahead.
  • Think before you drive:
"Do I really need to make this trip?"
"How can I combine this errand with another trip I'll be making this week?"
  • Try to match items on your list that are located near each other. 

For example, if your child's school is located near your dry cleaner and post office, three trips could be linked together into one!