10Â Tips on How to Â Drive Green
Reducing Emissions and Going Further on a Tank of Gas Cars today have come a long way since the gas guzzling days of the 1970â€™s. Back then the average vehicle was nearly twice as big, twice as heavy, and sported an engine that burned through easily twice as much gas. Thanks to advancements in technology such as lighter composite materials, variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, alternative fuels and electric hybrids, cars are able to go much further and produce fewer emissions than their thirsty predecessors. Although alternative fuel and hybrid technologies are becoming increasingly available in todayâ€™s car market, there is still a premium when purchasing one of these vehicles. Depending on the vehicle and the premium paid for such technologies, the savings in fuel, may not pay off, if you’re keeping the car for 3 or 4 years. Unless you are a person who truly believes in going green and will gladly pay the extra money, you will most likely have to resort to a conventional gasoline engine. Todayâ€™s gasoline (especially 4 cylinder) engines are able to produce adequate power while maintaining lower emissions, but what else can be done to reduce pollution and save money at the pump? Itâ€™s easier than you may think. It all has to do with the way you drive and care for your vehicle!
Here’s a list of 10 ways you can save gas, and reduce your car’s harmful emissions.
- Smooth and Even Acceleration – Hard acceleration from a stop can burn through 5-10 times more gas than smooth slow acceleration, because your engine is working that much harder. The harder the engine works the more gas itâ€™s going to use and the more unnecessary carbon monoxide your car is releasing into the air.
- Cruising at a Lower Speed – Cruising on the highway at over 120KM/hr may get you there just a few minutes faster, but did you know youâ€™re burning through about 20% more gas? By reducing speed and travelling closer to the posted speed limit, youâ€™ll be able to pass a few more gas stations on the next road trip.
- Using Cruise Control -Â If your car is equipped with cruise control itâ€™s a good idea to make use of it to maintain a consistent speed. Being on and off the gas all the time burns more fuel. So, if the highway traffic is not overly congested be sure to use this technology.
- Anticipation and Conserving Momentum -Â Think about the last time you rode a bike. Anytime you had to slow down, you would have to exert energy to get back up to speed. So, naturally, if you saw the solid red hand at a cross walk you would coast or gradually slow down, hoping that it may change by the time you got to the crosswalk. The same concept applies with a car, by anticipating the flow of traffic and your surroundings, you can save on your vehicle’s momentum and fuel.
- Eliminating Engine Idling – Â Idling should be limited to 1 minute. Having your engine on when you are not in the car, wastes gas and pollutes the environment. Another consideration is idling by-laws. The City of Toronto, for instance, has a one minute idling limit. Idle longer than that and you could get a $125 fine! Investing in seat warmers is another useful alternative to quickly heating yourself up, rather than idling your car in the driveaway.
- Managing Cabin Cooling – Â Intelligently Your car’s air conditioner runs off the engines drive belt and any time the air-conditioning is used it’s causes the engine to work just a little bit harder. We’re not saying to stop using youâ€™re A/C all together but to use it smartly. Use air-conditioning on highways, but if youâ€™re in town put the windows down. If A/C is needed in the city, avoid the max setting. Parking your car in the shade can reduce the inside temperature of car by a few degrees. Using a windshield sun visor and having tinted windows can help deflect the sun’s rays, further reducing the cabin temperature.
- Tire Pressure – By making sure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s suggested PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) rating, your vehicle will attain better fuel mileage. Underinflated tires can rob your vehicle of 15%-20% of the fuel mileage your vehicle should be getting. Underinflated tires can also cause uneven and pre-mature tire wear.
- Clean Oil and Air Filter -Â When your engine’s oil gets old, its viscosity begins to decrease causing the engine to work under more stress. Regularly changing your oil and oil filter will help keep the engines internal components well lubricated. A clogged or dirty air filter will cause your engine to run less efficiently and could cause some engine components to malfunction. Always be sure to get your air filter changed regularly. You can also go a step further by purchasing and installing a high flow air filter which further improves gas mileage and engine performance.
- Car Pooling – Car pooling is becoming increasingly popular, especially in major cities. The fewer cars there are on the road, the less fuel there is getting burned. City planners are building more and more Car Pool lanes on major highways to attract the public. These lanes are quite often far less busy, than the regular lanes, so commuting times are better!
- Public Transportation -Â Just about every major city has a public transportation system that is mapped out to cover the majority of the city. Whether it’s by bus, train or subway, all offer an affordable ride that will allow you to catch up on your work or just read a book. By following these 10 simple guidelines you can expect fewer stops at the pump, and you can sleep better at night knowing your helping to maintain a greener earth for future generations. See what someone with great driving skills can do with a hybrid vehicle straight from the factory floor – 64 miles to the gallon!