When economic times get tough, sometimes even the best of intentions can go out the window. Living green can sometimes seem hard to do if it exacts too high a price. Fortunately, there are ways to protect the planet while also saving money. When driving a car there are certain things a driver can do that not only are good for the environment but will also keep their pocketbook healthy.
Green and Thrifty Driving Tips
There are several measures that can be taken from behind the wheel. It might require changing some driving habits, but most of them will reduce the amount of gasoline being used which will also reduce emissions and save money.
- No speeding – Gas mileage begins to decrease at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Maintaining a constant speed also helps, so use cruise control during long stretches of straightaway driving, such as a highway.
- Navigate – Getting lost can be a major waste of gasoline. If the car does not have its own navigation system, invest in a portable global positioning system (GPS). When driving to new or unknown locations, be sure to input the address.
- Don’t idle – Turn the engine off when stopping at the store or when waiting for passengers to arrive. Idling burns fuel unnecessarily.
- Be gradual – Don’t make quick starts or stops. Accelerate gradually from a standstill and coast up to stops before applying the brakes.
- Leave the baggage behind – Remove any unnecessary items from the trunk or the back of the vehicle. Hauling around extra weight causes the engine to work harder and use more gas.
Maintaining the vehicle can improve gas mileage and save on costly long-term repairs.
- Air filter – Regularly check the air filter to make sure it is not dirty or plugged. Replace when necessary.
- Check the tires – Tire pressure can play an important role in the operation of the vehicle. If they are inflated to the recommended levels it will improve fuel efficiency and provide them a longer life. Don’t over inflate as this will cause a safety hazard.
- Get in tune – Have the engine tuned if it seems to be performing poorly. If an oxygen sensor becomes faulty it should be changed as soon as possible as one that has failed will cause a dramatic drop in gas mileage.
- Plan it out – Before taking off on a round of errands, plan the route out so as to avoid backtracking. Try to chain the stops together one after another. If it’s possible to park in one place and walk to several stops that’s even better.
Trying to save money in a bad economy doesn’t mean having to compromise principals devoted to being good to the environment. No driver needs to feel like they sold out the Earth for a few bucks. By applying common sense driving techniques and keeping a vehicle properly maintained, money as well as the planet can be saved.
written by: Jane Simpson