Just turn off your car

Alison Macbeth – Anchor staff

If you are part of the 85% of students that commute to RIC several times a week, then your car has most likely become a mobile home of sorts. Over the semesters you’ve spent here you’ve discovered how to navigate the parking lots (or maybe it has become your permanent excuse for being late). The one thing we all have in common as commuters is that we use our cars a lot. Every time we turn on our car we contribute damaging emissions to the atmosphere.

The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that motor vehicles constitute 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the United States. Stanford University provides a commuting calculator that not only measures the amount of emissions your car releases, but also the economics of your transportation. The results are determined by the Energy Information Agency, who have determined that 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide are produced per gallon of non-ethanol gasoline. This means that RIC students who commute by car create nearly 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each month.

Now, part of this is unavoidable of course. The only way many of us can get to school is by car, so don’t feel too guilty. However, we all have a choice as to how we use our cars. I want to suggest that our cars are not a hang out spot.

Often when I walk through the parking lots I see students with their cars on. Typically, they are using their phone. If you need to charge your phone, you can use the mobile charging stations at Adams Library, instead of unnecessarily contributing fossil fuel emissions. If you need somewhere warm (or in the case the last couple of weeks – air conditioned) then use the great study spaces in the Library, Gaige Hall or the cafes. If you need a good nap, the bottom level of Adams Library has good couches and the Learning for Life center always welcomes commuter students. Your car is pollutant by just being on.

Here is the point, RIC students: we can talk the talk of environmentalism but let’s start walking the walk by being mindful of the emissions our cars create, particularly by using the great spaces we have here on campus instead of using our cars like mobile homes.