How to get the most out of every gallon of gas and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases too.
Driving habits make a difference Avoiding jackrabbit starts and excessive brake use can save anywhere from .20 to 1.35 a gallon depending on how you drive. Combine errands - short trips starting with a cold engine use twice as much fuel as one longer trip done while the engine is warm.
Drive the speed limit or not over 55 mph (except to pass) Each 5 miles per hour over 60 mph is adding .30 per gallon to the cost of your gas.
Buying a new or used car? - Make a green choice
Fuel Economy.gov gives the carbon footprint, air pollution score and new EPA estimated MPG for city/highway driving for all models between 1985 and 2011. EPA's Green Vehicle Guide lets you find the greenest car for any model or year. (See Off-site Links at right)
Good tire maintenance = much better mileage
Check inflation levels once a month, when tires are cold, with an accurate tire pressure gauge. Eyeballing is NOT accurate. Tires can be under-inflated and not look it.
Check wheel alignment as misaligned wheels will increase fuel use. If you need new tires, ask about ones with 'low rolling resistance' which have been standard with hybrid cars for some time.
Not you, your car. Are you carrying around bags of sand from the winter? Eliminate unnecessary pounds from the trunk and take your ski racks off the top in the summer. A loaded roof rack decreases fuel economy by 5%; place items in the trunk instead.
Keep the engine tuned A well-tuned car will get about 4% higher mileage. Problems such as a faulty oxygen sensor can cause up to a 40% decrease in mileage.
Engine maintenance counts Mileage can be improved by up to 10% if a clogged air filter is replaced. When changing oil
choose the manufacturer recommended grade and look for the brands that say "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol.
Don't idle for more than 30 seconds Idling = zero miles per gallon. If you're off the road, turn the car off. If you're at a stop light or in a traffic jam - see the next tip.
How to cut idling time when on the road
The moment you see the red light ahead, take your foot off the gas. This will increase your chances of arriving at the intersection as the light is turning green, or at the very least, will reduce idling time at the red light.
When in heavy highway traffic or a traffic jam leave ample space in front of your car (five to ten car lengths). This gives you time to slow down without braking and will actually help congested traffic move better. Truckers have been doing this for a long time.