Save Money And The Environment With Fuel Efficient Cars And Driving Habits

It seems that every time you turn around the price of gas has gone up. If you drive a small car that might be okay, but with a family size van or SUV, you might need to take out a loan to get to work. Here are some ideas to help you increase your fuel efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

New Car

You probably wouldn’t think that buying a new car will save you money but it all depends on what type of car we are talking about, plus what kind of vehicle you are driving now. We’re talking specifically about the new hybrid cars. They are designed to use less gas. Here are a few of the most fuel efficient models on the market to date:

Toyota Prius
Honda Insight
Honda Civic hybrid
Ford Fusion hybrid
Mercury Milan hybrid
Volkswagen Golf TDI

Replacing your “gas guzzler” with a fuel efficient hybrid may have a return-on-investment that would surprise you. Compare these models with your current vehicle, do the math, and see if your investment in one of these hybrids would be worthwhile.

Drive Smarter

Many of the ways that we can reduce emissions and save gas depends on us, or to be more direct, our driving habits. Let’s see how your driving affects your fuel efficiency:

Keep your car tuned up – When the air filters are clogged or the oil is dirty, your car is working harder to get where you need it to go. When your car is in tiptop shape, it uses less gas to go from point A to point B. If your car is struggling and chugging, take it in for maintenance. You are wasting gas.

Drive slow and steady – Stop and go driving is the reason gas mileage goes down in the city when compared to being on the open highway. You may not be able to avoid driving in a city, but keeping your speed steady and avoiding quick jackrabbit starts at the lights will improve your gas mileage. A simple change of habit in driving and planning will help you save on gas mileage. Plan to leave earlier so you can relax and drive the speed limit. Slamming on the brakes versus rolling to a stop, and jetting away from a stop light versus moving forward slowly can make a big difference in the gas you burn.

Use your air conditioning – New vehicles are designed to be aerodynamically efficient, with the windows closed, that is. When the windows are open, there is more drag on the vehicle and you use more gas to try to push your car. Air conditioning cools the inside of the vehicle without using extra gas.

Lighten the load – If you carry a lot of stuff in the trunk or back of your car, you are using more gas to move your car around than you have to. Every pound your car weighs affects the drag of your car as it goes down the road. The aerodynamic design of the car did not take into account a trunk full of free weights, gym equipment, tools, or boxes of books you meant to drop off at the thrift shop. Keep your vehicle as cleaned out as possible.

Inflate your tires properly – Check your tires regularly to be sure you are at the proper tire pressure. Check your owners manual and fill your tires accordingly. If you are unsure, visit your local auto mechanic and ask for a fill. It’s surprising that a tire can look just a little low and be off by as much as 10 or 15 pounds of pressure on a tire that requires 32 pounds. A low tire is a soft tire, which will cause a great deal of drag as you’re moving down the road, which requires more gas to be used to push you along.

Use cruise control – When you are on long trips, cruise control helps you maintain a steady speed for long periods of time. Instead of inching up and up in your speed, as we all do, you set the cruise and relax. You are not going to suffer from the familiar problem of having a lead foot after hours of driving and suddenly realize you are fifteen miles over the speed limit, which is dangerous as well as wasting gas.

Give up your car sometimes and carpool – I know it’s hard in our society to get out of the habit of having your car with you every day, but this is one way a whole lot of people can save money and the environment at the same time. Form a carpool at work with folks that travel the same roads you do. If it’s easier, plan to meet at a “park and ride” or even at a large parking lot. Rotate the responsible party for driving the carpool. If you still have errands to do after work, you’ll have your car back then, so you don’t have to fret.

We spend a lot of money on gas and on maintaining our cars. Why would you want to spend even more on a gas guzzling vehicle or a vehicle that needs a tune up or repairs? Worse yet, if simple driving habits are costing you money, wouldn’t it be smart to change those habits? Give this some thought and see if you can’t find ways to save money and reduce that carbon footprint at the same time.

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Tags: aerodynamically efficient, carbon footprint, driving habits, eco-friendly bags, fuel efficiency, gas guzzler, gas mileage, hybrid cars, reduce emissions

Filed under:Saving Money

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