In a perfect world, everyone would ride their bicycles to work. Unfortunately, it would be rather difficult for most people to commute 20 miles and back on a bike. Doable, but hard. And your boss probably wouldn’t be very happy with you showing up for work two hours late in your bike shorts. While the next best eco-friendly alternative is zooming around in a green vehicle, not all of us have been so agreeably equipped.
Whether you’re driving a used car gifted to you for college or cruising around in your beloved new Benz, there are ways you can reduce your environmental impact and fuel consumption without switching to a hybrid or electric car.
- Check your tire pressure each month
Tires that are properly inflated drive more smoothly and have less drag, leading to increased gas mileage. Improperly inflated tires create greater rolling resistance, forcing the engine to work harder (read: to use more gas) to move the car.
There are both short and long term consequences to having wimpy tires. In the short term, The Car Care Council asserts that you could spend an additional 3 to 5 cents per gallon. In the long term, your engine could get seriously damaged. The Car Care Council estimates that 2 billion gallons of gas could be saved each year if people just inflated their tires properly. Think about how much that would reduce unnecessary emissions!
- Don’t speed
How you drive directly affects your fuel economy. Sudden starts and stops and jerky driving wear on your MPG and your car as a whole.
Also, did you know your car has a MPH sweet spot? Most cars perform optimally at around 55 MPH or below, while going 60 MPH or above decreases your fuel efficiency. The faster your drive, the more fuel inefficient you become.
And don’t let road rage get the best of you when you’re steering around the city: thanks to traffic lights and busier streets, city driving is much more taxing on gas than motorway driving. To counteract this, instead of braking suddenly, remove your foot from the gas pedal early and come to a lighter stop. When your foot is off the gas pedal you will be saving gas.
- Take the junk out of your trunk
A lighter car is a more fuel-efficient car. With the exception of emergency items such as a spare tire and a first-aid kit, remove anything that is weighing your car down. This is a simple step, but one that will increase your MPG phenomenally.
- Schedule regular tune-ups
Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to show your car – and the environment – some love. Getting a regular tune-up can increase your fuel efficiency by 4%.
According to the Car Care Council, an air filter clogged with dirt, dust, and bugs burns too much gas for the amount of air, wasting gas and causing the engine to lose power. If you change your air filter, you can increase fuel efficiency by up to 10%.
And fixing a major problem – such as a faulty oxygen sensor – can improve gas mileage by as much as 40%!
- Plan your trips in advance
If you have several errands to run, group them all together. This will save you gas and time. So, unfortunately, no more impromptu late-night Ben & Jerry’s runs.
Body Best Tip: A simple way to reduce your car’s environmental impact is to keep it clean and waxed. Not only will your car be easier on the eyes, but it will also have less wind drag.
Have more questions about how you can drive green? Head over to our website for ideas or stop by the shop!