1. How does the number of people in my house affect my personal emissions? Most people live in households with more than one occupant. When your personal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is calculated, the total emissions of the house you live in are divided by the number of people in your house. This applies to home heating emissions, water heating emissions, appliance emissions and waste emissions.
2. How does the type of vehicle I drive affect my emissions? In general, the larger the vehicle your family drives, the more greenhouse gas emissions it generates per kilometre travelled. The two main things that affect emissions per kilometre travelled for a vehicle are weight and engine size. Smaller cars, often called subcompacts and compacts, usually have smaller engines and are much lighter than other cars, trucks and mini-vans. Examples include the Geo Metro, Honda Civic, Toyota Tercel or Corolla, or Dodge Neon. As a rule of thumb, a subcompact or compact has an engine size of 2.0 litres or less. These cars consume gasoline at a rate of about 9 litres/100 kilometres. A mid-size car consumes more gasoline and produces more emissions than subcompacts or compacts because it is bigger, heavier and has a larger engine. Examples of mid-size cars are the Dodge Intrepid, Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Mazda 626. As a rule of thumb, mid-size cars have four or six cylinder engines about 2.2 to 3.2 litres in size. These cars consume about 11 litres/100 kilometres. Full-size cars, trucks and mini-vans are bigger and heavier than mid-size cars, and have large engines. An example of a full-size car would be a Lincoln Grand Marquis; an example of a truck would be a Dodge Ram pickup truck or a sport-utility vehicle, such as a Ford Explorer; and an example of a mini-van would be a Dodge Caravan. These generally have engines in the 3.0 litre range and up, and usually have at least six cylinders (with the exception of some earlier, less-powered models). These vehicles consume about 16 litres/100 kilometres. Sport-utility vehicles and trucks, in addition to burning more gasoline than other vehicles, do not have the same emission controls as cars. For this reason, they produce more emissions per litre of fuel consumed than cars.
3. How does my vehicle's fuel type affect my emissions? Different fuels produce different amounts of greenhouse gas emissions per litre. The fuel that produces the least emissions per litre of gasoline equivalent (meaning for the same energy content as a litre of gasoline) is natural gas. Natural gas produces about 40 percent fewer emissions of greenhouse gases than gasoline. Propane produces more greenhouse gas emissions per litre of gasoline equivalent than natural gas, but less than other fuels. It produces about 28 percent fewer emissions than gasoline. Diesel fuel and ethanol blend gasolines produce 10 percent and 11 percent fewer emissions than gasoline respectively. Ethanol blend gasolines are widely available, can be used in a standard gasoline engine without any modifications, and will not void your car's warranty.
You just purchase ethanol blend rather than regular gasoline for your car. To use propane or natural gas for your vehicle, the engine and the fuel tank have to be modified. A vehicle can be converted to use propane or natural gas only, or to use propane or natural gas and gasoline (a dual fuel system). Converting your car to propane costs about $2000 to $2800, and converting to natural gas costs about $2800 to $3800. Both propane and natural gas cost substantially less than gasoline based on the amount of energy they contain.
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