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Green Automotive

Consolidate your errands so you can do them all in one trip. This will cut your total miles driven. Many people drive back and forth between destinations. Plan ahead. Set up your errands in succession and save gas.

Modify your driving habits don’t race up to red lights or stop signs, avoid quick “jackrabbit” starts, and stop goosing the throttle to jump into holes in traffic. A car uses more fuel under hard acceleration. And if you own a “full” hybrid vehicle that can operate at low speeds on the battery pack, this is especially important. The more you depress the accelerator, the more demand you make on the hybrid power train, and the earlier the gasoline engine will kick in and start consuming fuel.

Avoid high speeds on the highway. As your speed increases, the aerodynamic drag increases in exponential fashion, so the engine works harder to maintain your speed and move the car through the atmosphere. The harder the engine works, the more fuel it uses. Driving 62 mph instead of 75 mph can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent. This is one reason why some hybrids get lower fuel economy on the highway than in the city.

Use the A/C sparingly. The air conditioner puts extra load on the engine, forcing more fuel to be used. On average, a car operating with the air conditioning engaged uses about 20 percent more fuel.

Use a global positioning system (GPS) to help you navigate and find the fastest and shortest distance to your destination.

Avoid stops. If approaching a red light, see if you can slow down enough to avoid having to actually stop (because you reach the light after it is green). Speeding up from 5 or 10 miles per hour will be easier on the gas than starting from full stop.

Anticipate the stop signs you can let up on the gas earlier. Coasting to a stop will save the gasoline you would otherwise use maintaining your speed longer. If it just gets you to the end of a line of cars at a red light or a stop sign a few seconds later, it won’t add any time to your trip. Also try coasting to lose speed before a highway off-ramp: if it means you catch up with that truck halfway around the curve instead of at the beginning, you haven’t lost any time.

Maintain a safe following distance. Don’t stick to the bumper of the car directly in front of you. You will brake more and accelerate more to keep that unnecessary and dangerous narrow gap. This also gives you a lot more room to play with when you are timing traffic signals. They will tailgate you whether you go the speed limit, or 100MPH over the speed limit. Allow them pass when it’s convenient.

Slow down. Air resistance goes up as the square of velocity. The power consumed to overcome that air resistance goes up as the cube of the velocity. Rolling resistance is the dominant force below about 40 mph. Above that, every mph costs you mileage. Go as slow as traffic and your schedule will allow. Drive under 60-65 since air grows exponentially denser, in the aerodynamic sense, the faster we drive. To be precise, the most efficient speed is your car’s minimum speed in its highest gear, since this provides the best “speed per RPM” ratio.

Take off slowly from a full stop. This is one adjustment that will have dramatic effects on your gas mileage; don’t tear off from a stoplight or stop sign!

Keep your windows closed. Open windows, especially at highway speeds, increase aerodynamic drag and the result are up to a 10 percent decrease in fuel economy. If you must have fresh air coming into the vehicle, run your climate system on ‘outside air’ and ‘vent’, and crack the window for additional ventilation.

Consider getting a tonneau cover for your pickup truck, as this will help to minimize drag over the cargo bed and allow the vehicle to slip through the air stream more efficiently. Do not, however, lower the tail gate as this creates more turbulence as air rushes over the cab and will decrease economy. Leaving the tailgate up creates a bubble of air in the bed area resulting in less disruption to the air traveling over the cab, in effect it acts like a less efficient tonneau cover.

Use your cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed over long distances saves gas. The next time you drive without cruise engaged, note how your speed creeps up and down. Constant deceleration, followed by acceleration, uses more fuel. The cruise control feature keeps your speed constant, saving gas (and maybe a speeding ticket, too).

Observe the speed limit. As a general rule, assume that each On average, every one mph increase over 50 mph reduces your fuel mileage by .1 miles per gallon. That’s one mile per gallon less for every 10 mph over the speed limit you drive. Depending on your driving style and how fast you drive, you could waste 20 to 70 cents per gallon.

Relax. Avoid hard or “jackrabbit” starts and stops. Aggressive driving can reduce your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.

Don’t idle. Idling for just 10 minutes per day can waste as much as 22 gallons per year. At $3.00 a gallon, that’s $66 in your pocket.

DRIVE SENSIBLY. Around town, sensible driving can save 5% – up to 30 gallons of gasoline and up to $100.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT VEHICLE. If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets better gas mileage whenever possible. If you drive 12,500 miles a year, switching 10% of your trips from driving a car that gets 20 mpg to one that gets 30 mpg will save you more than $65 per year.

DECREASE YOUR SPEED. Speeding costs! Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly above 60 mph. Each five miles per hour over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas.

Park in the first spot you find. If you wander all over the parking lot looking for that really close parking space, you’ll use more gas. Don’t be afraid to walk a ways if it comes to that – the walk will do you good!

Park in the shade. Gasoline actually evaporates right out of your tank, and it does so faster when you park directly in the sun – winter or summer. Parking in the shade also keeps it cooler inside, and you will need less A/C to cool off when you get back in. If there is no shade available, park so that your gas tank (the actual tank under the car, not the valve to fill it) is facing away from the direct sun.

Ride your bike to work, if you live close to work try to ride you bike to work at least one day a week, it will not only save money and the environment it is also good for your heart.

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