Are you ready for some good news for a change? Clean air policies are having an impact and as far as I can see this is only the tip of the iceberg.  In the last few years environmental issues have moved from the background to the forefront for many industries and while we have a long way to go it looks like we have made some progress. And the best is yet to come if we all work together to cut toxic emissions.

According to a new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, efforts to cut air pollution in the past few decades have helped increase life expectancy in the general population.  The report, which was published January 22, 2009, gives the most comprehensive evidence to date that shows air quality improvements can have a measurable effect on health. The research group discovered that on average, reductions in fine particulate air pollution in the past few decades increased life expectancy by about five months for those living in 51 U.S. cities that researchers included in the study.  

"This tells us that continued efforts to improve air quality – even in only moderately-polluted cities – should result in improved life expectancy," said lead author Arden Pope.  Much of the fine particulate matter in the air we breathe comes from industrial activities and burning fossil fuels. "The evidence clearly suggests that the reason we’re seeing increases in life expectancy is because we have a reduction in an important risk factor, in this case air pollution, to cardiopulmonary disease generally," said Dr. Pope, who is a professor at Brigham Young University in Utah.

Fine particulate air pollution is associated with an increased risk of various health issues, ranging from breathing problems to decreased lung function and heart attacks. Research has suggested that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter can dramatically increase the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.

Five easy ways you can be a part of the clean air solution:

It might feel that our own small contributions don’t count for much. But we don’t live in isolation. Our actions are an example to others – both negative and positive. Your single action is magnified by the example it sets for others to follow.

And it’s no different when you consider how you manage your fuel. Automated systems are available today that help you understand exactly what your fuel consumption needs are and where fuel is being wasted. When you cut consumption, you cut toxic emissions. Here is what you can do:

1. Adopt new eco-friendly refuelling practices.  You can easily save 10 to 15% of the fuel you consume if you have your fuel delivered rather than driving to card-locks or storage tanks to fill up. And with that an equal amount of emissions are eliminated.  When you calculate those numbers based on the size of your fleet over a period of months, the reduction in Greenhouse Gases is staggering.

2. Improve fuel efficiency by smarter driving habits.  Poor driving habits waste fuel.  Excessive idling and jack-rabbit starts are the two biggest culprits.  Pre-planning routes will cut unnecessary miles and save fuel too.

3. Set up a Training and Rewards Program for your drivers.  Make everyone aware of how they can cut GHGs by practicing eco-friendly driving habits. Reward performance with a “Green Driving Award” monthly.

4. Measure it and Reduce it! Fuel Management Systems can give you accurate data on each truck and piece of equipment to help you cut fuel and emissions.  And it is delivered by e-mail! Once you know where fuel is being wasted you can manage it better, cutting costs, consumption and emissions.

5. Use cleaner, greener bio-fuels wherever possible.  Renewable fuels are available today and they are not more expensive, and they can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint.  

And what about other environmental risks?  Fuel is often looked at as a “dirty business.”  It’s tough to erase images of the epic oil spills from our minds and we are afraid of causing even the smallest fuel spills, which can stain the environment and bring costly clean up bills.  When you switch to a complete Fuel Management System you no longer have to take a chance on using unqualified people handling, transporting and refuelling. Some refuelling companies train and certify their drivers so there are virtually no risks to the environment.  Certified Refuelling Professionals will safely deliver and refuel your trucks, equipment or tanks efficiently and safely eliminating all risks. If there is a spill, and this happens rarely, your refuelling company is  responsible for the clean-up, not you.

And it gets greener:

Now we can all live longer, breathe better air and pass on a greener environment to our children.  But there is one more benefit to all of the above.  You guessed it.  With a Fuel Management System working to cut fuel consumption and emissions you will save thousands of dollars on your fuel bill. Now that’s a breath of fresh air!


Jack Lee is the President and CEO of 4Refuel Inc, The Leader in Fuel Management.  If you have any questions or comments about this article Jack can be reached at 604-513-0386.