Silver Lining: High Fuel Prices Are Good for Your Health

The cost of gasoline has currently ranged from $4 to $5 a gallon in some parts of the U.S. While your budget may be stretch, your lungs may feel better thanks to the effect of car fuel economy on air quality.

Here's why high fuel prices may actually be good for your overall health:

It helps to break the asthma and air pollution cycle: High gas prices can translate to fewer cars on the road. More people are carpooling, taking public transportation, or simply staying home.

It encourages people to exercise more: When it costs so much to fill up your gas tank, you may opt to walk to work instead or to ride your bike and limit the amount of miles you drive. Getting more exercising strengthens your lungs. It can also help you reduce stress and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Conserve Gas and Prevent Pollution

Although the high price tag on a gallon of gas won't be enough to have you hang up your car keys forever, it may force you to think twice before you get behind the wheel for an unnecessary errand. But when you must drive, there are easy ways you can conserve gas and minimize pollution:

  • Keep your car well maintained. Regular oil changes, tune ups, and getting new tires can help your car get better gas mileage.
  • Park in the shade on hot days to help prevent fuel evaporation.
  • Don't leave your car running while it's parked for an extended period of time. Idling wastes gas, can cause pollution, and make asthma worse.
  • Avoid jamming on the gas pedal or brake, since this can waste gas and add more pollution.

Go Green

If you're in the market for a new car, look for one that's got a good "green" rating for gas mileage and emissions. You can do a search online to find recommendations from the experts on the best picks that will be good for your asthma and good for the environment.




America's Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. "Rating the Environmental Impacts of Motor Vehicles: ACEEE's Green Book® Methodology, 2011 Edition." Sept. 2011. Web. 15 March 2012.

American Lung Association. "Cleaning the Air Would Make Asthma Forgettable."  22 Aug. 2011. Web. 11 March 2012.

California Energy Commission: Consumer Energy Center. "Energy Myths and Fallacies: Should I Shut Off the Motor When I'm Idling My Car." Web. 11 March 2012.

Environment and Human Health, Inc. "The Harmful Effect of Vehicle Exhaust." Web. 11 March 2011.

US News. "Best Cars: Greenest Family Cars." 1 Aug. 2011. Web. 11 March 2011.