10 Ways To Save Money, Gas And Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Even if you are not driving a hybrid, just by making a few small changes to your normal routine you can make a huge positive impact on the environment and save some cash while doing it. Some of these may seem like common sense, some not...
1) Don't put the peddle to the metal
I blame The Dukes of Hazard for my love of peeling out, but putting that peddle to the metal, gunning, burning rubber, or whatever else you've heard it called, revving the engine only wastes fuel and may cause unburned gas to escape from the exhaust pipe into the atmosphere. Irresponsible driving blows through gasoline at a phenomenal rate. Poor driving practices can lower your mileage by up to a third. One second of high powered driving can produce nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as 1/2 hour of normal driving according to the ACEEE @ greenercars.org. Driving less aggressively WILL save you money.
2) Premium or Regular?
Use regular gasoline unless your owner's manual says otherwise. Unless your car requires Premium, high-octane fuel improves neither fuel economy nor performance, and it is in fact a dirtier gas. DO NOT tip off, because gas from the stations underground tank is relatively cool, as it warms up in your gas tank it expands, so you need extra empty space in your tank to hold the expanding gas. If you fill your tank right up to the top, as the gas expands it can spill or seep out of the top (after you drive away) and you won’t even know that you are spilling gas. Spilled gasoline evaporates and contributes to air pollution, smog formation and can leak into groundwater - Yikes... Whenever possible go to gas stations that have the vapor-recovery nozzles (those black, accordion-looking plastic devices attached to the nozzle). On another note it's important to have a tight fitting gas cap so gas isn't just evaporating out of your car.
3) Carry a lighter load
Unnecessary weight (unneeded items in your trunk, for example---maybe not the spare tire) make the engine work harder and consume more fuel. If it's extra motivation for shedding a few pounds... sure use it. But don't stop there because opening the door to a bunch of junk falling out is actually costing you money and clean air over time.
4) Obey speed limits
The need for speed only increases gasoline consumption, and may increase exhaust emissions under certain conditions. Just going 10 MPH over the speed limit will lower your fuel economy by about 10 percent, and can dramatically increase tailpipe pollution in many vehicles. You'll also save on that speeding ticket!
5) Check the air in the tires
Maintaining tire pressure can boost fuel economy by as much as 6 percent. For every 3 pounds below recommended pressure, fuel economy goes down by about 1 percent. Tires can lose about 1 pound of pressure per month. There are stations that fill your tires with Nitrogen - yes like the race cars... Nitrogen doesn't seep out through the tire walls like Oxygen can, so tires remain fully inflated longer. Filling your tires with pure Nitrogen makes tires run cooler and significantly slows the chemical aging process of the tire's rubber components. It can cost up to $10 per tire but some would argue that it's worth it. Bottom line - you're saving money by keeping your tires properly inflated.
6) Plot your route
A lot of short stops that let the engine cool down between trips can use twice as much gas as starting the car once and making a big sweep to all your destinations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Map your trips out, combine trips and make lists because it makes a big difference. Also try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle coast as much as possible. Avoid the increased pollution, wasted gas, and wear on your brakes created by accelerating hard and braking hard. If your stuck in traffic turn the car off.
7) Cruise Control
Heavy foot BAD, light foot GOOD. Every bit of unevenness on your gas pedal shoots unnecessary gas into the engine. Accelerate smoothly and evenly, then at highway speeds use your cruise control. Cruise control gradually increases and decreases the gas to compensate for hills thereby eliminating the surges making for the most efficient possible gas mileage.
While using your AC will reduce your gas mileage, there are many instances where using your AC instead of having the windows down can actually be better for your car’s gas mileage. One of the biggest drains on your car’s gas mileage is aerodynamic drag - something that is exacerbated by having the windows down. If you’re going to drive on the highway, go ahead and turn on your AC if it's hot out. It's wise to make sure the air conditioner is properly maintained. Once you hit city traffic you can let the wind blow through your hair.
Truck owners: when a truck’s tailgate is up, a “protective air bubble” will form in the bed area which actually makes the truck a little more aerodynamic. When the tailgate is down, this bubble disappears and gas mileage gets worse.
Sometimes called "Hypermiling", shifting into neutral, turning the car off at approaching stoplights and coasting down hill really improves your MPG if you have a fuel injected engine.I recently read about a man who owned a prius and boasted about getting about 100 MPG by Hypermiling.
10) Good car maintenance
Keeping your vehicle well maintained and driving responsibly are small changes that make big differences. An out of tune car can use 10-20% more gas than a properly tuned car. So a simple tune-up can give you one dollar more gas for every ten you spend. Changing the oil and air filter as well as having the battery checked all contribute to a greener and more efficient driving experience.
The good news is we can all make simple greener choices right now with the vehicles we currently drive, reducing our environmental impact, and putting more money back in our pockets.
Yeah, sure, buying a greener car is the wave of the future. By switching to hybrids and more efficient cars you can easily increase mileage by 10-20 miles per gallon or more. 10 MPG would mean that a car with a 20 gallon tank would go 200 miles more on every tank full. 20 MPG could mean an extra 400 miles in every tank! Also there's car-pooling and share a ride websites that you can google for your area. Driving at off peak times are best if at all possible. There are times we should walk, like say to the neigbors house LOL...biking, and mass transit can save even more if available in your area