Simple Ways to Make Your Car More Eco-Friendly
You don’t have to give up the family car to reduce your family’s fuel consumption. These tips and reminders will put you on the road to greener driving and saving money.
Maintain the correct tire pressure. Low tire pressure increases your car’s rolling resistance and forces your engine to work harder. Invest in an inexpensive tire gauge and check your tire pressure monthly and before long trips or transporting heavy items. The correct tire pressure for most cars can be found in the driver’s side door jamb or the owner’s manual. Properly inflated tires will also last longer- good for the environment and your wallet.
Drive green. Aggressive driving is one of the biggest ways we waste fuel. Speeding, slamming the brakes and rapid or jerky movement all contribute to poor fuel economy. Idling your engine also wastes energy. Your engines actually runs less efficiently sitting still. Save gas and money by skipping the drive thru. Use the opportunity to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
Change your oil regularly. It will keep your engine running smoothly. Be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil. Using the wrong oil can decrease engine efficiency by 2%.
Choose a mechanic who recycles and disposes of parts and fluids properly. Motor oil, batteries and tires can all be recycled. If you take the DIY approach, check out the Environmental Protection Agency website for information about disposing of car waste properly.
Switch to a re-usable air filter. When you consider both the filter and packaging are discarded a re-usable filter is a great way to reduce waste. Like a re-usable coffee filter, these do cost a little more upfront, depending on how long you drive it, you can save money over the life of the car.
Schedule your routine tune ups. A well-maintained vehicle runs more efficiently and produces fewer emissions. Pay attention to check engine or warning lights. Computers in modern cars do a great job of regulating fuel but a faulty sensor can send a wrong signal to your car’s computer. This can result in your engine consuming too much fuel.
Fill up green. Filling the tank is such a common activity for most of us that it’s easy to forget how toxic gas really is. Spilled gas is flammable, produces toxic fumes and can seep into ground water. Avoid topping off once the automatic nozzle shuts off. Reduce evaporative emissions by making sure your gas cap is on tight and in good working order. During hot weather try refuel in the morning or evenings. When you can, fill up at stations that utilize vapor recovery nozzles.
Plan ahead to combine short trips. A warmed up engine runs more efficiently. Take a few minutes each week to review your to-do list and schedule. Which tasks can you tackle in the same trip? By combining, trips you’ll also save time with less wear and tear on your car.
Lighten your load. If you are like most busy families, you expect to travel with a lot of “stuff.” That stuff has a way of accumulating. The extra weight rolling around in your car requires extra fuel. Do an inventory of all the non-emergency items in your car and pull out anything you don’t need.
Park green. When possible, try to park in the shade or a garage in hot weather. The cooler you can keep your car, the less fuel will evaporate. Parking in a garage also decreases the energy needed to cool off the car in summer or warm up in winter.
Monitor your fuel economy. Checking every few weeks will keep you aware of your car’s fuel consumption. As you make these changes, you’ll probably see a difference in your miles per gallon. Monitoring can also alert you to service issues early so you can avoid breakdowns. The US Department of Energy offers tools and tips to help track fuel economy .
Remember lots of people making small changes every day can have a big collective impact!
What does your family do to drive green and save money? Share your comments below.