Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to Be Green and Save Money While Driving

Car makers have embraced the call to produce new vehicles that get better gas mileage and have fewer emissions. Those cars are still out of the price range of many customers, though. However, there are ways drivers of traditional vehicles can reduce their impact on the environment and save money while getting day to day activities accomplished.

While Driving

By changing a few driving habits, better gas mileage can be achieved, meaning less fuel will be required.
*Watch the speed – Everybody gets in a rush now and then, but driving at excessive speeds can cause the vehicle to use more gasoline. Gas mileage begins to drop off considerably when speeds reach more than 60 miles per hour.
*Go easy on the brake – Constantly braking and accelerating is not only hard on the car, it can use more gas. Try coasting to stops when possible and accelerate gently.

*Drive fewer miles – It’s a simple equation – driving more miles increases the amount of gas used and pollution released into the air. Find ways to get tasks done with less driving. When running errands, plan stops out ahead of time to avoid doubling back. Use the highway whenever possible to avoid city driving, which lowers gas mileage. Create a car pool to work so several passengers can ride in one vehicle.

*Unload – Empty the vehicle of any excess baggage. The more weight the car has to push around the more gas it will be forced to use. Avoid hauling anything on top of the vehicle unless necessary because doing so reduces its aerodynamics, forcing it to work harder.

*Refuel wisely – There are certain times of the day when it can be advantageous to fill the tank. During warm days, try to gas up in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler. This will reduce how much gasoline evaporates into the air during refueling. Try to avoid gassing up at all on Ozone Action Days.

A well-maintained vehicle will perform better and pollute less. Stick to a regular maintenance schedule but also periodically check these items.

*Tires – Properly inflated tires can increase gas mileage and will also lead to less wear and tear on them, meaning they will not need as replaced as often. Check the owner’s manual to find what the proper pressure should be.

*Tune the engine – An improperly tuned engine will produce more air pollution and require more fuel. A faulty oxygen sensor can reduce mileage by as much as 40 percent.

*Air filters – A clogged air filter can reduce gas mileage by up to 10 percent, so check it regularly and replace when it becomes dirty.

Buying a new, environmentally-friendly vehicle may be the ultimate goal to help the planet while driving, but it might not be achievable for a couple of years. In the meantime, there are several ways to get the most out of a current car while saving money and polluting less.

This is a guest post from Jane Simpson, who has adapted the eco-friendly driving habits outlined above and now spends less on gas each month. She used a calculate car payment website to help plan her budget before she bought a more fuel efficient used car.

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