Be Green Behind The Wheel

With the rising cost of gas prices nationwide, here are some simple tips you can use when behind the wheel to be more green without buying a newer fuel efficient vehicle or hybrid. The most important tip is to plan ahead so you are not making unnecessary trips. Try to condense the amount of time you drive if possible, that way you will be driving less and using less fuel. Make your car as light as possible by removing any excess heavy items in the trunk or interior. For instance, a heavy box of books that you have been meaning to drop off can reduce fuel economy. A simple rule of thumb, is that for every 100 extra pounds your vehicle carries fuel economy drops one percent. However, carrying a few extra pounds shouldn’t break the bank.

Try to reduce the amount of time your vehicle is idling. Keep in mind newer cars no longer need to warm up like older models. Turn your vehicle’s ignition off anytime you are stopped or parked for more than a few minutes. Examples of this could be waiting in your favorite drive-thru line, or picking up the kids from school. When driving don’t be in a hurry, and go easy on the gas pedal. It’s all about being smooth and cruising to your destination. Avoid sudden starts, stops, and go the speed limit. Driving above the speed limit is not only dangerous, but ruins your vehicles potential fuel economy.

The way you park your car can have potential increases or decreases in fuel efficiency. Simply, using a reflective windshield shade or parking in the shade can greatly increase you fuel economy. You will be using less air conditioning to cool your car down on a hot day. Resulting in greater fuel efficiency. Even parking your car in the garage can have dramatic results by keeping the interior cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Proper maintenance of your vehicle can drastically increase both fuel economy and the longevity of your vehicle. Regular maintenance, tune-ups, engine air filter replacement, and oil changes are suggested by vehicle manufactures to keep fuel economy high. Just make sure to properly dispose of used motor oil. Making sure your tires are properly inflated is critical to achieving increased fuel mileage. Under inflated tires can decrease fuel economy by as much as 25 percent. You will save money in the long run as well, by not having to buy new tires sooner. 

Eventually though, you will have to refuel your vehicle at the pump. Some simple tips to remember at the pump is to avoid “topping off”. Have faith in the auto-shutoff, overfilling can lead to spilled and wasted gasoline. Try to purchase your gasoline in cooler weather to minimize gasoline evaporation into the air. Help the surrounding air by using gas stations that use pollution reducing vapor recovery nozzles or simply that accordion looking plastic device covering the nozzle. Studies have shown gasoline is typically cheaper on Wednesday’s as well.

By using these simple tips and consciously making an effort behind the wheel one can see a potential increase in fuel economy of their vehicle. It doesn’t hurt to use public transportation, bike, walk, or car pool either. Drive safely!

Photo Source: dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/motorist/behaviors/aggressive/driving-tips.htm

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