Despite the environmental issues attached to vehicle usage, sometimes even the most eco-friendly person has to drive. At those times, you can increase your fuel efficiency and reduce your emission of carbon and other pollutants by following these strategies:
Keep up with maintenance in order to keep your vehicle on the road.
There’s no reason a vehicle can’t last 10 to 15 years or even longer, and holding onto a vehicle for a long time goes a long way toward reducing the number of new vehicles that need to be manufactured.
Pump up the tires.
Underinflated tires increase fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent, and they’re more likely to blow and cause an accident. You also may want to buy tires that offer improved mileage.
Warning: Always check the recommended pressure for your tires and don’t overinflate them!
Take anything you don’t need out of your vehicle to reduce weight, improve your fuel consumption, and reduce emissions. The same goes for roof racks and other items that increase wind resistance and therefore decrease fuel efficiency.
Plan your travel.
Consolidate your errands into one big trip rather than lots of smaller ones. For example, drop the kids at school and then hit the grocery store. Talk to friends and family members to combine trips or errands.
Plan your timing.
Avoid driving at peak times when you’re more likely to run into traffic congestion that will keep you on the road longer.
An idling vehicle gives off 80 percent more pollution than one that’s moving! Turning the vehicle engine off and then back on again uses less fuel than idling longer than 30 seconds.
You use a quarter less fuel at 50 mph than at 70 mph. It’s better for fuel efficiency to drive the speed limit than to exceed it.
Keep it steady.
Avoid hard acceleration and heavy braking, which increase fuel consumption. On the highway, use cruise control (and overdrive, if you have it).
Go gadget free.
Use your vehicle’s air conditioner and other electrical gadgets only when you need to — they can use up to 10 percent more fuel.