Earth Day is celebrated to remind people of their personal responsibility as stewards of planet Earth. One way to preserve Earth's natural resources is to understand how you can improve your car fuel efficiency. Consider many changes in your driving habits that will improve gas mileage and qualify you as a “green driver.”
Tips on saving gas
Challenge yourself to become a different driver by changing your style and by paying attention to long-term savings.
- Accelerate gradually. Driving green means you lift your aggressive, lead-foot driving style and save up to 20% in fuel economy.
- Anticipate stops. Learn to anticipate stops sooner to avoid braking suddenly. Focus on the long view of the road ahead and practice coasting to an intersection where you know traffic has already stopped.
- Combine trips. Plan your car trips to include more than one errand. Why waste gas driving your car two or three times a day when you can organize your time better and accomplish everything with only one trip.
- Stop speeding. Statistics show that a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will achieve up to 15% better car fuel efficiency than the same vehicle traveling at 65 mph. Obeying the speed limit saves fuel and prevents unnecessary air pollution.
- Turn off your engine. Unless you know your car will be moving within 30 seconds, turn off your engine to improve gas mileage. Idling longer than 30 seconds wastes fuel.
- Use a navigation system. If your car has one, use it to avoid wasting gas because you take the long route or get lost.
Improve car fuel efficiency
Green driving tips also include ways to improve your car's fuel efficiency.
- Car maintenance. When you service your car regularly, it will operate at peak efficiency. As an example, old spark plugs won't make optimal use of fuel, nor will dirty air and fuel filters. It's estimated that a new oxygen sensor alone can increase gas mileage up to 15%.
- Clean out the trunk. If your trunk has become a storage unit that adds weight to your car, clean it out. Any extra weight your vehicle carries, including a removable roof rack, reduces fuel efficiency.
- Pumping gas. When you top off your gas tank past the automatic shutoff warning “click,” you release unnecessary gas fumes into the environment and risk the possibility of wasting fuel through spillage.
- Summer fueling. When the weather heats up, make the effort to pump gas during cool morning or evening hours to limit your exposure to gas fumes and to avoid fuel evaporation.
- Tire air. When you keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure guidelines, you can increase your gas mileage by up to 6%. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that regular wheel alignments will also increase car fuel efficiency. Reduced fuel economy is linked to low tire pressure.
Another way to celebrate Earth Day is to choose an environmentally friendly vehicle when you're ready to buy another car or truck. The EPA website offers a Green Vehicle Guide to aid consumers committed to reducing their personal footprint on planet Earth.