Earth Day: The Perfect Time to Rethink Driving Habits

OKLAHOMA CITY – Breathing ground-level ozone is akin to getting a sunburn on your lungs and can result in coughing, throat irritation, chest tightness and shortness of breath. For the 1 in 10 adults and children in Oklahoma with asthma, it can be more harmful, even fatal; the equivalent of choking to death. 

When temperatures rise in Oklahoma, so do ozone levels. Simply leaving your car at home for the day can make a huge impact. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every gallon of gasoline you use releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to ozone. 

“Improving our air has to be a complete team effort that all Oklahomans participate in and want to see happen,” says Jeremy Hughey, executive director, American Lung Association in Oklahoma.  “Driving less and taking public transportation are great ways to help clean up our air.”  

EMBARK is making it easy for Oklahoma City metro residents to do their part to reduce emissions and improve air quality. On Earth Day, April 18, EMBARK is offering free bus rides on all fixed-route bus service. During ozone season, EMBARK will continue to offer free rides every third Friday: May 15, June 19, July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18. On Earth Day and Free Fare Fridays, you can still commute, run errands and attend events around the city while doing your part to help your friends and neighbors breathe easier, simply by taking the bus. 

"Good air-quality in central Oklahoma is also an economic development issue," says Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. "Companies that look to locate here consider our air quality as an important factor that contributes to their financial success and the health of their employees. This isn’t an issue for companies or government to fix for us – it’s up to us as individuals. Public transportation is the single most effective way that we as individuals can improve our air quality." 

Vehicle emissions are a primary contributor to air pollution. Each EMBARK bus has the potential to take 35 vehicles off the road. According to the American Public Transportation Association, for every mile traveled on public transit, riders will produce 95 percent less carbon dioxide than driving. 

Riding the bus is not just good for the environment. It is also good for your bank account. According to the American Public Transportation Association, people who use public transportation save an average of $9,625 a year.


To learn more about EMBARK and view bus schedules and routes, visit or call (405) 235-RIDE (7433) for personal assistance from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more about carpooling or to be matched with someone in your area, visit


Media Contact: Michael Scroggins  |  405.297.2107  |  email


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