Making a Difference: Practical Actions That Individuals Can Take To Reduce Their Impact on Climate – Transportation and Electricity


Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States, accounting for 31 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Here are a few suggestions for making changes:

  • Walk, bike, take mass transportation or carpool whenever you can.
  • When you need to replace your car, buy an electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid, or a hybrid car. The IRA provides up to $7,500 tax credit for purchasing an electric vehicle (EV). The EVs must be assembled in North America and there are requirements for where the battery is made and where the battery’s minerals are mined in order to qualify for the full tax credits. Not all EVs are going to qualify for these tax credits. Appendix B (which can be found online at has details on the EV tax credits.
  • When driving a car avoid quick acceleration and control your speed, which can increase gas mileage by 33 percent. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated, use the correct oil grade, keep your engine tuned up, combine errands to make fewer trips, remove excess weight from your car, and use cruise control when appropriate.
  • Minimize air travel and buy carbon offsets when you do travel by air (see, for example,


The electricity generation sector is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Reducing energy produced by the burning of fossil fuels and promoting clean energy sources is central to our ability to impact climate change. Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Turn off lights when not in use and replace incandescent light bulbs with LED lights.
  • Buy ENERGY-STAR appliances. To earn ENERGY-STAR ratings, products must meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Replace a gas range with an electric range. By 2024, the IRA will provide a $840 rebate for low-income households and a $420 rebate for moderate-income households for the purchase of a new electric stove. See Appendix A online for details.
  • Consider going solar. The IRA provides a 30 percent investment tax credit for installing solar and a 30 percent tax credit for installing batteries. These tax credits offset the significant upfront cost for going solar. Generally, in West Virginia, it will take 10 to 12 years to recover your initial investment in solar through reduced energy cost. Solar panels are generally guaranteed for 25 years and can last longer than that, providing “free” electricity for years. Solar United Neighbors, a nonprofit solar cooperative, brings together families interested in going solar with solar installers. They can also help your small farm or rural business go solar with a USDA REAP grant. See solarunitedneighbors. org/westvirginia. Additionally, if you’d like to go solar on your own, there are several solar installers in West Virginia, and include: 
    • Advancing Solar Solutions in Ripley. See
    • Appalachian Renewable Power in Stewart, Ohio. See
    • DT Solar in French Creek. See
    • Milestone Solar. See
    • Mountain View Solar in Martinsburg. See
    • PIMBY Energy in Thomas. See
    • Pickering Energy Solutions in Parkersburg. See
    • SolarGreen in Charleston. Call 304-300-8470.
    • Solar Holler in Shepherdstown. See

There is an alternative for residential customers who cannot afford the upfront cost of installing solar. Residential customers may be able to purchase solar power from either the Appalachian Power Company (APCo), Monongahela Power Company (Mon Power) or Potomac Edison. These utility companies are developing solar facilities in West Virginia and are likely to make solar available in 2023 or possibly later. However, purchasing electricity through the utility solar programs is oftentimes more expensive than non-solar electricity offered by utilities.

View our climate guide online at