Top Green Driving Tips

by Michal on November 11, 2009

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Whether your concerned with global warming or you just want to keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket, this article will offer you the chance to do both. There are multiple factors that contribute to the cost of driving. Such factors include, but are not limited to, the speed you drive, the amount of times you use your break, the weather, and where your driving. Another big factor is the kind of vehicle your driving. Since not all of us are going to be able to just go purchase a new hybrid, the tips below can at least help us drive more efficiently in the meantime.

Basic Saving Techniques

  • Do not accelerate quickly or brake heavily: This reduces fuel economy by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town.
  • Do not idle if not necessary: Consider shutting down your vehicle if stopped for more than 7-seconds as that is all the fuel it takes to restart a modern day, fuel-inject engine.
  • Avoid driving at higher speeds: This increases aerodynamic drag (wind resistance) and mechanical friction which reduces fuel economy.
  • Cold weather and frequent short trips reduce fuel economy, since your engine doesn’t operate efficiently until it is warmed up. In colder weather, it takes longer for your engine to warm, and on short trips, your vehicle operates a smaller percentage of time at the desired temperature. Note: Letting your car idle to warm-up does not help your fuel economy, it actually uses more fuel and creates more pollution. Drive to your furthest destination first and then as you are heading home, stop at the closer destinations in order from furthest to closest as the car is warmed up for longer portions of your drive.
  • Remove Cargo or cargo racks: Cargo and/or racks on top of your vehicle (e.g., cargo boxes, canoes, etc.) increase aerodynamic drag and lower FE.
  • Do not tow unless absolutely necessary: Towing a trailer or carrying excessive weight decreases fuel economy.
  • Minimize running mechanical and electrical accessories: Running mechanical and electrical accessories (e.g., air conditioner) decreases fuel economy. Operating the air conditioner on “Max” can reduce MPG by roughly 5-30% compared to not using it.
  • Avoid driving on hilly or mountainous terrain if possible: Driving hilly or mountainous terrain or on unpaved roads reduces fuel economy most of the time.
  • Do not use 4-wheel drive if it is not needed. 4-Wheel drive reduces fuel economy. Four-wheel drive vehicles are tested in 2-wheel drive. Engaging all four wheels makes the engine work harder and increases crankcase losses.

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