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CO2 Usage and Transportation: An evaluation of fuel consumption and emissions

Introduction From this class I have come to understand the reach and reality of global warming. Every purchase I make has an impact regardless of how minute I feel it is. Many other consumers are faced with the same choices globally. It is those who consciously decide as an individual to purchase items with smaller carbon footprints that can make a difference as a whole. There is a broad spectrum of choices to be made as a consumer everything from groceries to the transportation method used to get them can be evaluated. Grocery shopping for many Americans, myself included, consists of making purchases based on taste preference and cost. However, intergrading the actual dollar value as well as taxation on the environment of production into the cost of that product could drastically reduce our carbon footprint. Hamershlag (2011) found the three highest production emission levels come from lamb, beef, and cheese respectively. Production emissions in this case can be defined as all emissions prior and post product leaving the farm. Taking a closer look at beef, one of the highest consumed meats in our country, for every 2.2 pounds of meat 59.6 pounds of CO2e, carbon dioxide equivalents are produced. If several consumers individual substituted chicken for beef the reduction of CO2e would be staggering. This change in one purchase is a reduction of 44.6lb of CO2e. Take that to the global level and that switch becomes as much of an impact as a large purchase such as a vehicle. When looking in depth at my own impact on our environment I clearly see ways in which I have failed to make the environmental friendly choice. When I look at these choices and where I am today I realize it is time to take a step back and evaluate the largest aspect of my personal carbon footprint, my travel emissions. Having lived in both rural and urban areas I decided to evaluate carbon footprints and cost of transportation in relation to each. Materials and Methods My projects goal was to evaluate costs and carbon emissions of four vehicles driving different patterns. I used two urban drivers and two rural drivers. To set up the project I initially asked three drivers to participate as well as myself. In order to get the best results I set up an excel sheet for which each participant was to fill in their vehicle information. These fields included variables such as; make, model, year, fuel used, miles drove an average year, cost of average oil change as well as how often they changed it, and any other significant expense for vehicle maintenance. Once I had this information I created a template for each driver to fill out over the time of the experiment. To avoid simple input errors I included pre-calculated cells. Fuel Usage and Mileage | Area: | Vehicle: | Tank 1 | Tank 2 | Tank 3 | Overall | Rural | | | Gal. | Beg | End | Fill 1 | Beg | End | Fill 2 | Beg | End | Fill 3 | Avg. Mpg | | 2008 Mercury Sable | 20 | | | 0 | 0 | | 0 | 0 | | 0 | 0 | | 2012 Ford F350 | 35 | | | 0.00 | 0 | | 0.00 | 0 | | 0.00 | 0.00 | Urban | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1998 Ford Escort Zx2 | 11.9 | | | 0.00 | 0 | | 0.00 | 0 | | 0.00 | 0.00 | | 2005 Chevy Trailblazer | 22 | | | 0.00 | 0 | | 0.00 | 0 | | 0.00 | 0.00 | Table 1 Template Sent to Participants

Participants My participants included; my parents, Ben, and myself. As you can see in the above template my participants can be divided up by area. Falling under the rural section there are Cindy, my mother, and Leonard, my father. Ben and I then fall under the urban classification. I am using rural classification in relation to mostly highway driving and urban as primarily city driving.

Apparatus
This assessment will be using four vehicles falling under two categorizations. The first being SUVs which include 2012 Ford F350 and 2005 Chevy Trailblazer. Included in the car category are 2009 Mercury Sable and 1998 Ford Escort Zx2.
Fuel is essential to the completion of this evaluation and to keep this as realistic to normal consumption I monitored what fuel grade and type each vehicle was using. Medium grade gasoline will be used by both the Sable and Escort. Premium is being consumed by Ben driving the Trailblazer. Diesel is only being used by the F350.
Procedure
Each participant was to follow specific instructions attached to the excel template. Because, isn’t practical to run each vehicle to empty the instructions stated after initial full tank start point participants were to monitor mileage after one take was used. Meaning if participant refueled with half a tank they were not to record mileage until the second half of initial fill was used. By doing this gallons used stays consistent. Participants were to cycle through three full tanks of gas and monitor odometer reading after each tank. Beyond this participants were to list an abnormal driving activities which would skew mileage results. Finally after the participant was finished monitoring three full tanks they were to send me back their completed template.
Results
The accumulation of all vehicle data produced were used to calculate; each tanks mile per gallon, overall average mile per gallon, CO2 emissions, and costs. Mile per gallon by tank calculations we solved by taking end odometer reading minus beginning and dividing by gallons in tank then using the three mpg values averages were calculated.

Fuel Usage and Mileage | Area: | Vehicle: | Tank 1 | Tank 2 | Tank 3 | Overall | Rural | | | Gal. | Beg | End | Fill 1 | Beg | End | Fill 2 | Beg | End | Fill 3 | Avg. Mpg | | 2008 Mercury Sable | 20 | 93213 | 93724 | 25.55 | 93724 | 94209 | 24.25 | 94209 | 94677 | 23.4 | 24.4 | | 2012 Ford F350 | 35 | 1438 | 2133 | 19.86 | 2133 | 2758 | 17.86 | 2758 | 3324 | 16.17 | 17.96 | Urban | | . | | | | | | | | | | | 1998 Ford Escort Zx2 | 11.9 | 71434 | 71686 | 21.18 | 71686 | 71951 | 22.27 | 71951 | 72233 | 23.70 | 22.38 | | 2005 Chevy Trailblazer | 22 | 126218 | 126613 | 17.95 | 126613 | 126952 | 15.41 | 126952 | 127321 | 16.77 | 16.71 |
Table 2 Completed Participant Results

Evaluating the above results it is apparent that cars overall have a higher mile per gallon as expected. Further more rural vehicles produced higher mpg than urban however, I did not expect the larger SUV to be more efficient that the Trailblazer. This discrepancy may be connected to fact that Leonard, F350 driver, Tank 1 data was driven primarily on interstate. Using this data I calculated each vehicles CO2 emissions for the time encompassing the experiment as well as a typical year of driving. Mileage and Carbon Footprint from usage | Area: | Vehicle: | Monitored Results | Estimated Yearly | Rural | | | | Miles | MPG | Co2 Metric Ton* | Miles | MPG | Co2 Metric Ton* | | 2008 Mercury Sable | 1464 | 24.4 | 0.53 | 15000 | 24.4 | 5.46 | | 2012 Ford F350 | 1886 | 17.96 | 1.07 | 20000 | 17.96 | 11.34 | Urban | | | | | | | | | 1998 Ford Escort Zx2 | 799 | 22.38 | 0.32 | 9000 | 22.38 | 3.57 | | 2005 Chevy Trailblazer | 1103 | 16.71 | 0.59 | 11000 | 16.71 | 5.85 |
Table 3 Computed CO2 Emissions
*Using formula from EPA report CO2 emissions per mile = CO2 per gallon/ MPG - CO2 Emissions from a gallon of gas: 8,887 grams CO2/gallon
- CO2 Emissions from a gallon of diesel: 10,180 grams CO2/gallon
Table 3 proves as EPA (2011) report stated “Vehicles that use diesel fuel generally have higher fuel economy than comparable gasoline vehicles. However, when comparing carbon dioxide emissions, the higher CO2 emissions from diesel fuel partially offset the fuel economy benefit.” These results can be seen in relation to diesel truck which had a higher mile per gallon than the Trailblazer but the Trailblazer received lower CO2 emissions. The cars are relatively similar with the Sable producing slightly lower emission results.
Taking these results a step further using the costs listed by participants in the beginning of the project to evaluate what it costs the owner to use their vehicle on a basic level.
For all participants I used their average mile per gallon results and average price of a gallon to estimate year fuel costs. For the Sable, Escort and Trailblazer fuel costs were pulled from "Fuel Price News." Iowa Office of Energy Independence. Source: Oil Price Information Service, www.opisnet.com, Apr 2013. Web. 10 Apr 2013. Leonard, the driver of the F350 pre-purchases diesel at his local Co-op and his fuel price is based on his contract price per gallon. Based on their yearly mileage and given cost of oil change yearly cost was calculated. The F350 has a third cost element, which is not applicable to the gas vehicles, a diesel engine must have its fuel filter changed. Using total cost from table below and Table 2 estimated yearly miles cost per mile can be calculated.
Table 4 Cost of Operating Vehicle Vehicle and Maintenance Costs | Area: | Vehicle: | Gas | Oil Change | Fuel Filter Change | Total Cost | Rural | | | Gal. | Fills YR | Avg gl. $ | Est. An. Fuel Cost | When | Per yr. | Cost | Yr. Cost | When | Per yr. | Cost | Yr. Cost | | | 2008 Mercury Sable | 20 | 30.7 | 3.50 | $ 2,151.02 | 4,000 | 4 | $ 30.00 | $ 120.00 | - | - | - | - | $ 2,271.02 | | 2012 Ford F350 | 35 | 31.8 | 3.49 | $ 3,886.00 | 5,000 | 4 | 40 | $ 160 | 15,000 | 1 | $ 90.00 | $ 90.00 | $ 4,136.00 | Urban | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 1998 Ford Escort Zx2 | 11.9 | 33.8 | 3.50 | $ 1,405.44 | 4,000 | 2 | $ 30.00 | $ 60.00 | - | - | - | - | $ 1,465.44 | | 2005 Chevy Trailblazer | 22 | 29.9 | 3.75 | $ 2,465.64 | 4,000 | 3 | $ 35.00 | $ 105.00 | - | - | - | - | $ 2,570.64 |

Using formula: Total Cost/ Estimated Yearly Miles = Cost per mile Sable came in the lowest with 15 cents a mile, a close second was the Escort, third was F350 with 21 cents mile and with the highest cost per mile Trailblazer with 23 cents a mile.
Discussions
From my sample results I have come to a few conclusions although more tests should be run to form a solid evaluation. First the larger the vehicle and lower the miles per gallon the higher the carbon footprint per mile. Second miles per gallon is increased when driving in rural areas which can aid in decreasing over all emissions from vehicle. Third the cost of driving your own vehicle has slight correlation with area in which you drive. An inference can be made using facts such as rural areas tend to have lower cost gas and oil changes. It is not valid to make that assumption in relation to the Trailblazer and F350 as the cost of product put into oil change of the diesel and gas vehicle are not comparable. Given this information how can an individual reduce his or her carbon footprint? For starters if self-transportation is a must consider purchasing a more economical vehicle. An example of this would be the well-known Prius which only uses gas when battery is at a designated point. When one doesn’t simply have the capacity to purchase a more economical vehicle simply switching what you drive on long distances can make a difference. In Tank 1 when Leonard drove mainly on interstate his emissions could have been drastically reduced if he would have taken a car, which is available to him. If carpooling is an option that alone could reduce CO2 emissions by half or more if riding with multiple people. In Wendy Priesnitz’s Ask Natural Life the data reveals the fact that in one hour of driving on average 12kg of CO2 is generated versus exercising the option of cycling to work which generates .074kg in that same time. Apply this to the hours an average American drives doing tasks within cycling proximity to their home a massive impact can be made. If the distance traveled is beyond the practical us of a bicycle use public transportation when applicable. Jones and Kammen use the following table to examine emission factors for public transit and found transit rail produces the least CO2 per mile.

Taking all of these factors into consideration it is up to each consumer to make better choices. Each purchase regardless of size and price does have an impact and we must be consciously considering our options.

The following charts are created from my results tables.

References
"Fuel Price News." Iowa Office of Energy Independence. Source: Oil Price Information Service, www.opisnet.com, Apr 2013. Web. 10 Apr 2013. <http://www.energy.iowa.gov/Newsroom/fuel_price.html>.
"Carbon Footprint Calculator." Carbon Footprint Ltd. Apr 2013. Web. 10 Apr 2013. <http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx>.
How Do I Reduce My Carbon Footprint and Save Money Too?. (2009). Natural Life, (126), 10.
Dias De Oliveira, M. E., Vaughan, B. E., & Rykiel Jr., E. J. (2005). Ethanol as Fuel: Energy, Carbon Dioxide Balances, and Ecological Footprint. Bioscience, 55(7), 593-602.
Christopher M. Jones and Daniel M. Kammen, Quantifying Carbon Footprint Reduction Opportunities for U.S. Households and Communities. Supporting Materials. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011, 45 (9), pp 4088–4095.
Hamershlag, K. (2011, ). Environmental Working Group. Meat Eaters Guide. Retrieved April 2013, from http://static.ewg.org/reports/2011/meateaters/pdf/report_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf
"Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Typical Passenger Vehichle." Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Dec 2011. Web. 10 Apr 2013. <http://www.epa.gov/oms/climate/documents/420f11041.pdf>.

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...Notes P1 The designers often claimed their intention to present the profundity of Chinese culture to spectators at fashion events (Leng 2005; Tsui 2009). P2 Defines Chinese dress in history: dress in traditional China was always a contested realm of behavior. P3 Finnane discovers that socialist aesthetics had nationalist goals: P4 task of exploring the evolution of Chinese fashion in the years of “opening and reform,” to understand the evolution of Chinese fashion design in the age of market-oriented nationalism. P5 textual analysis of published reports and interviews with a selection of established and emerging designers: Frankie Xie, Ma Ke, Liang Zi, Wang Yiyang, and Jiji…… P6 both Chinese and Western people regard it as a typical “symbol” of Chinese fashion P7 in the 1980s and 1990s Chinese fashion designers decorated their clothes heavily with traditional Chinese symbols or motifs. P8 this trend appears to be declining in the twenty-first century. designers still explicitly and frequently proclaim their strong affinity with Chinese culture. P9 Chinese designer Frankie Xie presented his brand Jefen at Paris Fashion Week. the first time a (mainland) Chinese designer had paraded a collection at the top four international fashion weeks. P10 Jefen has very few traces of any Chinese costume or symbols, still draw his inspiration from Chinese culture. P11 Xie endeavored to remove the old images of Chinese fashion from the minds of......

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