Tag Archives: biking

Celebrate Your Newfound Independence from Fuel this July

Clean transportation has the power to get you where you want to go! 

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State University is here to remind you that you can find increased independence from fuel– even if you own or drive a gasoline powered vehicle. 

Pollution from gasoline-powered vehicles is a major cause of health problems such as asthma. Everyone can benefit from clean air and, no matter who you are, there are actions you can take to reduce the amount of pollution caused by cars. You can help make a difference today by adopting clean transportation technologies and behaviors.

There are a wide variety of clean transportation technologies and behaviors available for nearly every application and lifestyle. If you have questions about which clean transportation option is best for you, Fuel What Matters is here to help you figure out the option best suited for your needs and interests.

Reduce Fuel Consumption

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) found Americans used about 135 billion gallons of gasoline in 2021, including 134.83 billion gallons of finished motor gasoline – that’s about 369 million gallons per day. Additionally, total gasoline consumption accounted for about 58% of transportation sector total energy consumption and 16% of U.S. total energy consumption, and 45% of total petroleum consumption.

Light-duty vehicles account for about 91% of all gasoline consumption in the United States, according to the EIA. Most gasoline is used in cars, sport utility vehicles, recreational vehicles and boats, light trucks, and motorcycles. Luckily, you can help reduce fuel consumption by changing your driving behaviors and improving your driving efficiency.


If you are in the driver’s seat, you can learn how to adapt your driving behaviors to have a positive impact on fuel economy and adopt techniques that will save you fuel and money. 

  1. Slow Down and Drive Conservatively
  2. Combine trips
  3. Reduce Vehicle Load
  4. Get Direct Feedback
  5. Observe the Speed Limit
  6. Avoid Excessive Idling
  7. Use Cruise Control

The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), a resource of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office, has more information about techniques for drives to conserve fuel. You can also visit FuelEconomy.gov for information about driving efficiently.


Rideshare programs help connect people traveling to the same or similar destinations so that they can travel together whereas carsharing is a form of shared vehicle ownership which provides members with vehicles for personal use without the costs and commitment of individual car ownership. 

Some local and regional governments provide incentives to encourage ridesharing, such as access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, discounted fees on roads or lanes, special parking privileges for vehicles with multiple passengers, or tax breaks for companies with a high level of pooling among employees.

To learn more about employee rideshares, ridematching systems, ridesharing resources, and carsharing programs, visit the AFDC website.

Explore Alternative Transportation Options

Alternative transportation options are a great way to save fuel, improve environmental health and even improve your personal health. Some of these options even require little to no upfront costs. According to the American Public Transportation Association, a household can save nearly $10,000 by taking public transportation and living with one less car. 

Clean transportation options such as biking, riding transit and walking can help to improve the air quality in areas of high congestion. ​​WalkBikeNC.com provides resources on biking in North Carolina, including an interactive map to explore regional bike routes as well as nearby destinations.

Use Alternative Fuel 

Alternative fuels are cleaner than regular gasoline or diesel. As AFDC explains, more than a dozen alternative fuels are in production or under development for use in alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technology vehicles. Using alternative fuels including electricity and advanced vehicles instead of conventional fuels and vehicles helps the United States conserve fuel and lower vehicle emissions. 

All-electric vehicles use a battery pack to store the electrical energy that powers the motor. According to the AFDC, although electricity production may contribute to air pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency categorizes all-electric vehicles as zero-emission vehicles because they produce no direct exhaust or tailpipe emissions

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use batteries to power an electric motor, as well as another fuel, such as gasoline or diesel, to power an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source. PHEVs can charge their batteries through charging equipment and regenerative braking. PHEV fuel consumption is dependent on the distance driven between battery charges so it is best to consistently charge the vehicle to maximize the electric benefits.

Today’s hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are powered by an internal combustion engine in combination with one or more electric motors that use energy stored in batteries. HEVs combine the benefits of high fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions with the power and range of conventional vehicles.

The electric vehicle (EV) market is rapidly growing as transportation electrification paves the way towards an emissions-free future. Drivers who purchase EVs are eligible for tax credits and incentives for making the green choice. Some all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles purchased new are eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. In North Carolina and many other states, qualified EVs may use HOV or carpool lanes, regardless of the number of occupants, allowing them to bypass high congestion traffic areas. 

NCCETC published a resource for both commercial and public sector customers interested in purchasing an EV or installing a charging station. The new guidance document – Electric Vehicles & Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Incentives in North Carolina – will help customers navigate the variety of direct financial incentives for electric vehicles (EVs) and supporting EV infrastructure and planning offered throughout North Carolina. Incentives are available through federal, state, regional and electric utility funded programs. 

Renewable energy can also help diversify the nation’s reliance on petroleum products. Coming from sources that are naturally replenishing but flow-limited, renewable resources are virtually inexhaustible in duration. Renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are often domestically produced, making them more accessible and reducing transportation costs for businesses and consumers.

We can all take steps to reduce pollution from cars and trucks. All of the options mentioned above may not work for you all the time, but reducing your dependence on gasoline will ultimately help avoid more pollution from vehicles. Get the basics and find resources for you, your family or work to learn how clean transportation can get you where you want to go. 

Submit Your Artwork for the 2020 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

Due to interruptions caused by COVID-19, we have extended the submission deadline to around the end of the 2020 school year, Friday, June 12, to give students more time to submit their art.

Unfortunately, as of right now due to recent funding changes, Student Art Contest winners’ art will no longer be able to be featured on billboards this year. Winners in each category will still be featured in a blog post and receive a special certificate for their achievement. We apologize for the changes and any inconvenience this may have caused. 

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has officially launched the 3rd Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, where students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork to show how to keep the air clean.  Winners will be featured in a blog post and receive special certificates.

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org.

The winner will be chosen based on:
• Relevance and appropriateness of the message
• Visual design
• Public votes on our Facebook account (link to vote to come once all submissions are received)

See last year’s winners here.

Art submissions will be accepted through Friday, June 12. Please submit here or by emailing Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu. Public voting will begin on Monday, June 15 and last through Sunday, June 21 – stay tuned for a link to vote once all submissions are received!

Artists who are over 18 or parents/legal guardians submitting on behalf of their children can submit artwork by directly emailing Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu. You are agreeing to the legal terms below. Teachers submitting artwork on behalf of their students must return a signed permission form.

Winners will be announced in July. Stay tuned on nccleantech.ncsu.edu and FuelWhatMatters.org!

For more information or any questions, email Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu.

Legal Terms
By submitting this photograph, image, graphic, or video (collectively the “work”) you hereby agree to the following:
• You certify and warrant that you are the legal guardian of the minor who is submitting the artwork or are the artist and are legally an adult.
You certify and warrant that the work is your work or your child’s own original creative work and does not violate or infringe the copyright or other proprietary or intellectual property rights of others.
You retain all copyright and equivalent rights but grant permission for NC State to use, reproduce, distribute, and/or release the work to the public in any manner and in any medium without payment of any fee, and in perpetuity.
North Carolina State University reserves the right to use contestants’ names and works for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes, including website or exhibition of winning entries. You understand that the works will be shared with reporters covering these awards and for promotion of the competition itself. You hereby give North Carolina State University nonexclusive rights to use yours or your child’s name, likenesses, quotes and submissions for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes. This includes but is not limited to website display, print materials and exhibits.
You hereby agree to indemnify NC State, its trustees, officers, agents, and employees, from any and all claims, demands, and liabilities (including attorneys’ fees) incurred as a result of a final judgment or settlement or any claim or legal proceeding arising out of or resulting from a breach or claimed breach of the foregoing representations and warranties.

Posted by Nicole Deck

National Bike to Work Day 2018

A bicyclist chats at a pit stop at last year’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC. Photo contributed by BikeRaleigh.

All month long, communities around the US have been celebrating National Bike Month 2018. May is halfway through, but there are dozens of bicycling events happening around North Carolina that are still to come — including this Friday’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC.

If you’ve never tried out a bike route to work, National Bike to Work Day is a great day to explore your options and meet other bicycling enthusiasts. Commuting with a bike can help you save money on gas, avoid traffic, get exercise, and be more environmentally friendly by not contributing to air pollution.

Fontaine Burruss, Bikeshare Coordinator for City of Raleigh Department of Transportation, said Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day event is for anyone from longtime bicycle commuters to those who are trying it for the first time.

Sign for a pit stop during last year’s Bike to Work Day in Raleigh, NC. Photo contributed by Bike Raleigh

“It’s a great way to both celebrate those who bike to work already, and also encourage people who are in interested in biking to work but maybe haven’t taken that leap,” Burruss said.

The City of Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day event will be throughout the morning and evening this Friday, May 18, with pit stops located around the city packed with refreshments and giveaways. Most pit stops will be around in the morning, ranging from 6 to 11 a.m., with one pit stop after work from 4 to 6 p.m.

To find the map of pit stops in Raleigh, view below (pit stops are indicated by the orange bicycle symbols) and click here for the interactive version complete with hosts and times they will be there. You can also map out your route and view bike lanes by using Raleigh’s online bike map or downloading BikeRaleigh’s free mobile app.

Raleigh’s Bike to Work Day is a one-day event, but Burress said she hopes it makes a lasting change in people’s lives.

“Often what we find is people who try it once realize it’s not as hard as they think it is to bike to work, and they’re open to trying more often,” Burress said.

If you can’t make it out Friday, Durham County will also have a Bike to Work Day event next Thursday, May 24, with several pit stops located throughout the city from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.  Stop on your way to work for food and prizes; and for each location you stop, you also get entered into a raffle.

If you’re new to commuting, Durham County has a Bike Buddy program, where a partner can help show the way. View the Durham event map here and visit www.bikedurham.org for more information.

There are plenty of more National Bike Month events happening around North Carolina in May. For more in Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Knightdale and Wake Forest, visit gotriangle.org. For events in Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville and Black Mountain, visit strivenottodrive.org.

Before you go, be sure to check NC Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation’s safety and education page to be aware of laws and safety measures when it comes to bicycling in the city.

Posted by NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Everyone can take steps to reduce vehicle pollution

Pollution from vehicles is a major cause of health problems such as asthma. We all benefit from clean air. No matter who you are, there are actions you can take to help reduce the amount of pollution that comes from cars. Everyone, from kids to adults, can help make a difference. Here are some things that you can do.

    1. 1. Ride a bike or walk.

If you are only going a short distance, consider riding a bike or walking instead of driving. You can get exercise and enjoy the fresh air while getting where you need to go!

2. Take public transit.
If you need to go somewhere that is along a bus or light rail line, consider taking public transit instead of going in a car.

3. Carpool.
When going to school or work, try to carpool together with other people who are headed in the same direction. You can save money and reduce the amount of fuel burned at the same time.

4. Avoid idling.
When idling, you waste fuel by burning it when you aren’t moving. If you will be in the same spot for more than a minute or two, consider turning off your vehicle’s engine (as long as it is safe to do so).

5. Use alternative fuels.
Alternative fuels are cleaner than regular gasoline or diesel. Alternative fuel vehicles include electric vehicles and flex-fuel vehicles that can use ethanol blends. Most new electric vehicles now have a range of over 100 miles, which meets most people’s daily commuting needs. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and extended range electric vehicles use gasoline as well and therefore do not have a range limit. Flex-fuel vehicles can use ethanol blends that are up to 85% ethanol and regular cars that are newer than 2001 can use ethanol blends that have up to 15% ethanol. Ethanol is made from crops such as corn and helps support American farmers.

None of these options work for everyone all the time. But all of us can take steps to reduce pollution from cars and trucks.

To get where you want to go