About a year ago, we purchased a hybrid car, and it feels like writing about green driving has been on my to do list forever. You see, a hybrid car teaches you to drive greener, with its dashboard low mileage alerts on jack rabbit starts and pictures of trees that bloom when you coast down a hill. Now everyone isn’t in the market for a hybrid but there are things we all can do to reduce gas consumption–and save money in the bargain! Thanks to Natasha Grimm for contributing this guest post.
Green Driving Tips
By Natasha Grimm
Staying on top of gas efficiency and cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions is a quandary that environmentalists and the auto industry have tried to tackle. Car manufacturers, like BMW and Ford, have been successfully cornering the market for hybrids and electric vehicles for several decades, leading many drivers to assume that gas-fueled vehicles are evil and bad for the environment.
Get Used to It
While driving a hybrid or electric vehicle might seem like the only choice for drivers who care about the environment and want to be fuel efficient, you can purchase a used, gas-fueled vehicle and do your part in saving the planet. Ecomodder.com, an eco-driver site, says it’s not what you drive as much as how you drive that can make or break your fuel efficiency. And according to Wired.com, it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a new Toyota Prius, an environmental cost you avoid by buying a fuel efficient, used vehicle.
Record Fuel Consumption
Understand how much fuel your car uses on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Keep receipts and track the amount of miles you travel between trips to the gas station in a notebook. Get an app for your smartphone or tablet, like this free Android app, TripMaster. It tracks the amount of miles you travel and how much money you spend at the pump.
The Road Less Traveled
If you have the option of choosing lightly traveled roads over busier ones, there’s more flexibility to employ a wider range of fuel saving techniques than if you are surrounded by other vehicles, generally. Sometimes a somewhat longer, lightly traveled route may result in lower overall amount of fuel used than the shorter, busier route.
The Junk in Your Trunk
Cleaning out your car will help you to reduce the amount of weight you are carrying in your car. It can increase mpg and prevent any garbage from accidentally flying out of your car and going onto the highway and city streets, plus you won’t have to apologize to your carpool partners for the messy vehicle when it’s your turn.
Check Your Tires
Keeping your tires inflated to the pressure suggested by the car manufacturer is key to maintaining optimal performance for your car. You will save on fuel if your tires are not experiencing high levels of rolling resistance, which comes from low tires. Check your tires’ pressure as the seasons change too. Tires are affected by ambient pressure. Colder temperatures can cause the pressure in your tires to drop.
This isn’t possible for all drivers and isn’t possible for all places you want to go to, but consider riding a bike, taking public transportation, carpooling and walking when going to the grocery store, for a cup of coffee or something near you. Aside from reducing CO2 emissions and saving money at the gas pump, you can reduce the mileage, wear and tear and cost of maintenance of your car if you cut down on how often you use it.
Natasha Grimm, a native of Washington D.C., writes about environmental issues.
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