As is true with many environmentally friendly topics, fuel efficiency will not only save our planet but also your wallet, especially with gas prices steadily rising as we come into warmer weather. Here are a few simple tips to get the most out of the car you already have.
1. Give Your Car a Checkup - A clean air filter gives you better gas mileage up to 10%, a properly tuned engine can save another 4%, and properly inflated tires, an additional 3%. The American Fuel Economy website states also that fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve your fuel economy up to 40%, now that's huge.
2. Stay Out of the Fast Lane - "Aggressive driving" (rapid acceleration and hard braking) can cost you up to a third in fuel economy at highway speeds and 5% around town. A car's fuel efficiency peaks at about 80 km/h. At speeds faster than that wind resistance becomes an issue and mileage begins to drop.
3. Lose Some Weight - Every 100 lbs of stuff in your car costs 1-2% in fuel economy, so remember to unload your trunk every now and then. Also, take off roof racks or bike racks while you aren't using them. They might make you look cool and active, but it'll cost you about 5% in fuel economy (even without the bike).
4. While On Vacation - There is a movement to build hybrids into car rental fleets. Ask about this option at whichever company you choose to rent from. There has also been experimentation with hybrid taxis in large cities. I am proud to report that BC's very own Vancouver is leading the way with 1/3 of it's fleet in hybrids.
Going green is all about choices, and one big choice you'll make (maybe not this year, but sometime in the next 5, 10, or 15) is a new car. Hybrids have leapt in popularity in the past few years and more and more choices are being offered. Hybrids aren't the only option though. There are several "ordinary" vehicles on the market approaching 40 mpg or better out there. The website I found to have the most information and be laid out the best is hybridCARS to compare both "ordinary" and hybrid cars with regard to mileage, technology, and price. Check it out!
I found these tips in another great book I've received as a gift, Green Christmas by Jennifer Basye Sander and Peter Sander with Anne Basye. It has many practical, useful changes, some specifically for the holidays, along with others to incorporate into everyday life.