If a new hybrid car isn’t in your plans this year, there are still things you can do to help make driving a little greener. And since we’re all about the little steps, we thought we’d list them out.
Easy does it – keep it smooth and easy, don’t mash the gas when you take off and dial down the aggressive driving. Flooring the gas pedal wastes gas and leads to higher pollution. Just one second of high-powered driving can produce the same volume of emissions as half an hour of normal driving.
Think ahead – keep your eyes ahead and let your vehicle coast down as you approach a stop. Easing up on your brakes means less pollution, less gas and less wear on your brakes.
Observe the limits – driving just 10 miles per hour over the speed limit can reduce your fuel economy by 10 percent. In many vehicles, it also dramatically increases tailpipe emissions.
Avoid the rush – when possible, plan your trips to avoid rush hour. Stop-and-go driving burns gas and increases emissions.
Do more planning – plan your route to combine trips and errands so you’re putting fewer miles on your car, and driving less in general. One trip that circles around to multiple places is smarter than multiple short trips.
Take a load off – just 100 extra pounds can reduce fuel economy by about 1 percent. It doesn’t sound like much, but take a moment to clear your cargo space.
Cruise, baby – use cruise control on longer trips to keep your fuel usage as stable as possible. Also, use the highest gear possible if in a manual transmission, and overdrive if you’re in an automatic. Running in a higher gear reduces rpm and increases fuel economy.
Skip the warm up – modern cars don’t need long warm up times, so skip the long idle before driving off. And since they also have automatic chokes, you don’t need to step on the gas before turning the key.
Put some air in it – keep your tires properly inflated. Tires should be inflated to the pressure recommended for your vehicle (or the tires you have on your vehicle). Low tires reduce fuel economy, and tires can lose pressure slowly, even if they don’t look low, so check them regularly. Properly inflated tires will also last longer.
Switch tires – buy low-rolling-resistance (LRR) replacement tires. LRR tires are specially designed to improve a vehicle’s fuel economy. Most major manufacturers now offer an LRR option, so check it out.
Tune it up – keep your vehicle properly tuned. Either go DIY or take it to a garage. All of those little things keep your car running smoothly and at peak efficiency.
Change the oil – regular oil changes keep your engine in better shape longer, and help keep fuel economy at its best.
Commute smart – if giving up the car for public transport or a bike is not an option, look into ride sharing and carpooling.