Smart Driving can Help Reduce Vehicle Pollution

Be a smart summer driver

Reduce your carbon footprint and save money by using the Smart MAP philosophy.

How to
3-5 min read

Each year, Canadians drive more than 300 billion kilometres; transportation is responsible for nearly one-quarter of Canada’s carbon pollution. Not only does our driving contribute to global climate change, it also adds to local air pollution like smog, which is linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

If one in 20 Canadian drivers were to drive 20 per cent more efficiently, it would reduce the carbon pollution from driving by about 800,000 tonnes per year — equivalent to taking more than 200,000 cars and light trucks off the road!

Heavy freeway traffic.
Each year, Canadians drive more than 300 billion kilometres.


You can do your part to reduce pollution from vehicles by following the Smart MAP philosophy for driving: smart maintenance, smart actions and smart products. By saving money on fuel and vehicle maintenance, driving smart is good for your wallet and will lower your environmental footprint too.

Smart maintenance

Before you even leave your driveway, check the air pressure in your tires. For every pound of pressure your tires are underinflated, you’re losing up to three per cent fuel efficiency.

Remove your roof rack if you’re not using it. This will reduce drag and cut your fuel consumption. You’ll also use less fuel by lightening your load, so pack wisely and avoid extra weight and unnecessary luggage.

Smart maintenance should also include regularly checking, changing and topping up oil and transmission fluid. 

Person checking tire pressure.
For every pound of pressure your tires are underinflated, you’re losing up to three per cent fuel efficiency.


The same goes for replacing air filters and spark plugs, as well as choosing quality fuels and lubricants.

Smart actions

There’s also a lot you can do to save fuel and reduce pollution while you drive.

Accelerating quickly can use up to 15 per cent more fuel. So anticipate the road and traffic ahead and cruise at a constant speed. On the highway, simply reducing your speed from 120 to 100 kilometres per hour can save you up to 20 per cent on fuel.

Decelerate slowly and consistently. Tires, brake linings, shoes, pads, rotors, drums, shocks, springs, tie rod ends, ball joints and wheel bearings all take a beating when you brake hard, costing you a lot in maintenance. So why rush to stop? Decelerate without braking and coast to gradual stops.

Smart products

Consider fuel-efficient products when buying a vehicle, and buy for everyday needs rather than occasional ones. In general, smaller vehicles are better.

When purchasing a vehicle also look for the EnerGuide label. It gives you an estimate of the average highway and city fuel consumption of the vehicle, with a lower number meaning better fuel efficiency. See Natural Resources Canada’s buying tips for more things to consider before purchasing a vehicle.

If you’re looking to purchase a new efficient vehicle, the EcoLiving Auto Loan Program can help. Drivers that purchase one of more than 80 eligible new hybrid, electric or certain diesel vehicles can receive a loan of up to $300,000, subject to credit approval. To find out more, ask your local dealership.

But if you live close to where you work and play, or if you already own one vehicle, consider joining a car share instead of buying. Program costs and structures can vary but some save you money on fuel, while others allow you to choose different types of vehicles for different uses. They all have the potential to cost considerably less than the expenses of full car ownership.

The convenience, flexibility and affordability of car shares mean they’re quickly becoming a very popular option among drivers in big cities. And some of them let you get out of town for holidays too! 

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