I recently received this information from GM Financial and I thought it was worth passing it on: Whether it’s upping your recycling efforts, switching to paperless billing statements or vowing to bring reusable bags to the grocery store, improving your environmental impact can be inspiring. But when it comes to big things — like your car, truck or SUV — it’s hard to know where to start.

Vehicles have long been getting a bad rap for contributing to pollution, and thus putting “green guilt” on many. But here’s something that has potential to make you feel a little better. A study by researchers at the University of Toronto found that only 25% of cars and trucks are causing about 90% of the problem. That’s due to factors such as poor maintenance and inefficient driving habits. Fortunately, there are ways individual drivers can make a positive difference.

In honor of Earth Day, we’ve compiled eco-friendly driving tips that you can put into practice year round for a cleaner, greener planet. WATCH THE WEIGHT– While there are some things you might always want to keep in your trunk, such as an Emergency Kit, Its best to clear out any unnecessary weight to increase your fuel mileage. Think about the outside too. Roof racks, or boxes can reduce economy by 6-17%. If you haul gear on a rear mounted rack or box it reduces to 1-5% impact. DO NOT IDLE——Idling uses more fuel than restarting your car, gives off 80 % more pollution than when your car is moving and can even come with a fine in some areas.If you are staying put for more than 1 minute or more, consider turning your car off. Several automobile models are now equipped with start-stop systems that automatically stop your engine and restarts when you take your foot off the brake. PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO OZONE ALERT DAYS——-Air quality alert days are when ozone becomes concentrated near the ground, making it difficult to breathe. Emissions from cars can make things worse. On these days in particular try to refuel in the evening and avoid any gasoline spillage. High temperatures and low wind can quickly convert vapors into ozone pollutants. Faulty or missing gas caps can be the source of gas vapors as well. Always check your cap to make sure it is tight. KEEP YOU SPEED STEADY AND WITHIN THE SPEED LIMIT—–Once you exceed 50 MPH you lose fuel efficiency, avoid unnecessary acceleration, do not ride the brakes, and use the cruise control when appropriate. RECYCLE ALL THE AUTO PARTS YOU CAN………Make sure to recycle or properly dispose of all vehicle related items like motor oil, oil filters, tires, batteries and fluids when maintaining or repairing your vehicle. Depending on where you live there may be ordinances or laws around proper disposal of these items. When it comes to recycling tires they can find a second life as synthetic turf, playground surfaces, of highway embankments. KEEP YOU CAR IN TIP TOP SHAPE———Make sure your tires are properly inflated to recommended pressure. It can effect fuel mileage and cause wear and blow outs and potential accident. Follow the maintenance schedule recommended by your manufacture. Air filters, tire rotations, tune ups, all are important. If we all commit to a few small changes we can make a big impact. I recently purchased a new Chevy Malibu and got 35.7 MPG on a trip. It is equipped with the auto start stop system. It took a little getting used to but it does save fuel. Love the car. Be Careful and Safe Out There.