Tips for Driving Greener: Save Money & Help the Planet
On the heels of the big annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit, It’s fun to think about the possibility of getting a new car. I realize that in a perfectly green world, I would walk or ride my bicycle or take mass transit everywhere, but that just isn’t a workable reality where I am, so . . . The Detroit auto show and my participation in it were timely this year, because I am in fact looking for a new car as mine was trashed by a large oak tree during Sandy. In the midst of researching the greenest, most reliable, affordable and attainable cars available to me, my head is spinning and meanwhile I’m happily sharing my husband’s fancy Lexus Hybrid.
Read about the Green Divas in Detroit and see a few fun pics.
It is easy to get caught up in the idea of a shiny new car, but I wanted to remember some simple ways we can make whatever car we are currently driving a little greener and save some money while we’re at it!
Watch my segment on Ebru Today where I talk about driving greener . . .
6 simple tips for driving greener
1 Of Idle Minds & Idle Cars
When you’re idling, you get zero miles per gallon. That’s right. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. If you think you will wait more than 30 seconds, turn it off!
2 Pump it Up
Underinflated tires can cost you 1-2 mpg! Check your tires once a month; your owner’s manual will show you the recommended air pressure. Some cars even have a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb or on the inside of the fuel door. Get a decent air pressure gauge or fill your tires with 100% nitrogen – it keeps the tires at the proper air pressure longer than regular air.
3 Chill on the Gas & the Brakes and Cruise Baby
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, accelerating or decelerating too fast can lower your fuel economy by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% in the city! Don’t do a “jackrabbit” start when the light turns green. Use steady and smooth pressure on the gas pedal. Also, avoid heavy braking — anticipate upcoming red lights and coast to stop. Use cruise control when possible.
4 Slow Down!
The sweet spot for fuel economy is between 40 and 60 mph. The faster you drive, the more energy is needed to overcome the aerodynamic drag, causing your gas mileage to decrease by about 5 mpg for every 10 mph you go over 60 mph.
5 Loose Weight
An extra 100 pounds in your car can lower your fuel economy by 2% – wow! Guess I should lose those extra pounds, huh? Also, avoid a loaded roof rack, which can decrease your fuel economy by 5%.
6 Be Smart and Plan Errands and Trips
This may seem obvious, but it’s something that a lot of people don’t do. If you know where you’re going, you can shave off several miles off your trip. Also, when it’s cold outside, combine several short trips into one because a cold engine will decrease your fuel economy.