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AUSTIN — Summers are a time for family barbeques, weekends on the lake, and road trips. Along with these celebrations comes a significant uptick in miles traveled and gas consumed on Texas highways.

Fortunately, organizers of the state’s Drive Clean Across Texas air quality campaign have plenty of practical advice for drivers looking to save money at the pump and reduce air pollution at the same time.

The Texas Department of Transportation is launching its Drive Clean campaign on the first full day of summer. The annual outreach program encourages motorists to implement cost-saving changes in driving and vehicle maintenance behaviors to reduce harmful emissions.

“Making sure your vehicle is in good shape is something each of us can do to reduce damaging air pollution,” says Carlos Swonke, TxDOT’s Environmental Affairs Director. “That means replacing dirty air and fuel filters, getting regular oil changes and keeping the proper amount of air in your tires — all of which help reduce tailpipe emissions.”

Other tips for driving cleaner on Texas roads include carpooling, driving the speed limit, combining errands into a single trip, and reducing idling at drive-thrus. These simple steps not only help eliminate vehicle emissions, but also increase fuel efficiency in cars and trucks.

For Texas drivers looking to replace their vehicle this year, a low-emission hybrid car or truck is a good way to reduce air pollution. To reinforce this point, the Drive Clean Across Texas campaign will give away a 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid to one lucky Texan. The vehicle is being donated by the Dallas Cowboys.

Texas drivers ages 18 and up can enter to win the brand-new Ford Fusion Hybrid, and get more tips on helping improve air quality, at www.DriveCleanAcrossTexas.org. The deadline for entering the online sweepstakes is September 23.

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