Choosing The Right
Lighten Your Load
Use the Right
Avoid the Top Off
Easy on The
Be Smart When
The impact on the environment by motor vehicles powered by fossil fuels is
well documented and many motorists are looking to reduce their environmental
impact. Replacing your current vehicle with a hybrid or even fully electric
vehicle is becoming an option but you can make a difference today by simply
altering some driving habits. The added advantage is that these changes are also
likely to save you money.
Choosing The Right Vehicle
Choosing an environmentally friendly vehicle means more than just buying a
hybrid or electric car. In fact buying a new car 'environmentally friendly' car
might actually be more harmful to the environment than other options. Building a
new vehicle has an environmental impact associated with it. This impact may be
greater than simply keeping your existing car for longer, buying a second hand
car or simply downsizing your vehicle.
It is also important to choose the correct vehicle to suit your needs. If you
only use your car to commute to work alone each day, consider a small car,
motorbike or even a bicycle instead of a large SUV. In most large cities,
commuting to work is faster by bicycle than by other methods of transportation.
You can always hire the larger vehicle if the need for it arises.
Lighten Your Load
The more weight a car carries, the lower its fuel economy will be. On road
trips, while it's tempting to pack everything - kitchen sink included - it's
smart to leave heavy, unnecessary items behind. And, even for your day-to-day
travel, take a few minutes to clean out your car to eliminate extra weight. Pack
only what you need (including emergency items) for vacations, and remove
unneeded items from your back seat and trunk. These simple steps can cut
significant weight, enabling your car to use less fuel.
Reduce Speed and Revs
Reduce your speed and keep the RPMs down. As speed increases, so does drag.
So, driving at higher speeds will reduce your fuel economy. In fact, for every
10 miles per hour you reduce speed, you improve your fuel economy by 4 mpg. In
addition, avoid putting the pedal to the metal when the stoplight turns green,
which increases your vehicle's RPM level and lowers your fuel efficiency. For
automatic transmission vehicles, accelerating gently prompts automatic gear
shifting at lower engine speeds; with a manual transmission, the general rule is
to shift gears between 2,000 and 2,500 RPM. Staying at or a bit below the speed
limit and watching your RPMs can have a big impact on the environment and your
Plan routes in advance and combine trips. Whether gearing up for a weeklong
vacation or a quick trip to the mall, plan out your route in advance to avoid
heavy traffic times and areas. Sometimes, the shortest route can consume more
fuel than a longer one, if rush hour or road construction leads to traffic jams
and stop-and-go driving. And, warmed-up engines produce lower emissions, so try
to combine several short trips into one to save fuel and cut down on pollution.
Try to anticipate your errands and plan to knock them all out in one day, if not
Use the Right Fuel
Most cars don't need premium fuel - although some vehicles do call for higher
octane gas to maximize performance and fuel efficiency. Check your owner's
manual when choosing what grade of gasoline to use, and don't spend the extra
money on a premium grade if you don't need to.
Avoid the Top Off
Drivers often top off their tank beyond the gas pump's automatic cutoff point
to get an even total or to squeeze in as much fuel as possible. But that extra
squeeze can lead to spills and release gas vapors into the air. This wastes
money and pollutes the air, even aggravating smog in bigger cities.
Keeping your vehicle well services, maintained and properly tuned will mean
it operates at its most efficient. This in turn means it will use less
Why have two or more cars on the road when one can get the job done? Set up a
carpool group with several colleagues at work, or coordinate with family and
friends to carpool for regular errands such as grocery shopping. Fewer vehicles
on the road mean fewer pollutants in the air.
Keep Tires Inflated
Maintaining proper tire inflation levels can improve fuel economy. Tires lose
air pressure over time and due to cold temperatures. As that air pressure
decreases, rolling resistance increases, making your vehicle less fuel
efficient. Your vehicle's owner's manual will show you the proper inflation
levels. Inflate your tires to the highest pressure recommended by the
manufacturer anddon't forget the spare. Also ensure your wheels are properly
Vehicle manufacturers put a lot of effort into the exterior design of their
cars and a lot of their work has to do with fuel economy. Adding things to
exterior of your car may cause serious reductions in fuel economy. Roof racks
and the things you carry on them can obviously reduce fuel economy, but
'performance' modifications to the bodywork of a car, such as spoilers, may
actually cause your car to be slower and burn more petrol. Even driving with the
window down can increase drag and boost fuel consumption by more than 20%.
Easy on The Pedals
Even after planning ahead, you may find yourself stuck in a traffic jam. When
you do, be smart as you navigate your way through it. Avoid jack-rabbit starts
and keep your acceleration moderate and steady, because cars use the most gas
when they accelerate. Create space from the car in front of you, and look ahead
for any potential slowdowns so you can ease off the gas rather than slam on the
Vehicles made from the mid 1980s onwards don't need to be 'warmed up' by
idling before being driven. Even many vehicles made before then can be driven
immediately but sedately. Idling is simply wasting fuel and polluting. If you
are to be stationary for more than a couple of minutes, it is best to switch off
your engine and start it again when able to move.
Be Smart When Being Cool
A common mistake drivers make is kicking off the air conditioning and rolling
down their windows to save gas, regardless of circumstance. It is true that
rolling down the windows in lieu of the AC can increase fuel economy at slower
speeds, but at faster highway speeds, open windows can actually increase drag
and hurt fuel economy. So, consider the weather - and your speed - before
deciding how to stay cool on the go. Also make sure your airconditioner has been
serviced and is working properly.
Even where you park can help the environment. Parking in the shade will keep
your car cool and minimise fuel evaporation. Also consider the location of where
you park. You could drive around for 10 or 15 minutes looking for a parking spot
close to where you need to go, or find an easy park 5 minutes walk from where
you need to go. You'll get there faster in the end, use less fuel and get some
Source: AZoCleantech and Enterprise