Drive Green - Drive Safe
Driving green means practicing safe driving habits and keeping your car in good shape. Doing this will help to reduce your fuel consumption - which translates to less money spent at the gas pump and more money in your pocket. Just as important - good driving and good maintenance will extend the life of your vehicle and increase its resale value.
Practice Good Driving Habits
Most safe driving habits are also green habits, as they save fuel.
- Stick to the speed limit. It's safer and it uses less fuel. Fuel ecomony declines about 1% for every mile driven over 55 mph. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, speed was a factor in almost one third of fatal crashes in 2008.
- Avoid quick starts and stops. Accelerate slowly and smoothly, and avoid hard braking. This helps to boost gas mileage and prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your brakes.
- Use cruise control when you are on the highway to maintain a steady speed.
- Use overdrive gearing whenever possible. Running in a higher gear decreases engine speed and saves gas and engine wear.
- Remove excess weight. Get rid of the junk in your trunk. Carrying around an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent.
- Avoid packing items on the top of your car. This creates wind resistance and increases aerodynamic drag. According to the Federal Trade Commission, loading up your roof rack can cut fuel economy by 5 percent.
- Use air conditioning wisely. Consider your speed before deciding whether or not to turn on the air conditioning during the summer months. If you are driving at 40mph or less, rolling down your windows and opening your air vents will increase fuel economy. If you are driving at a speed above 40mph, it is more efficient to use your air conditioner. Driving with the windows open at higher speeds can increase drag and decrease fuel economy.
- Avoid unnecessary idling. Turn off the engine if you are stationary for more than 10 seconds. Instead of waiting in line at a drive-in window, turn off the engine and go in. You may actually save time that way.
- Consolidate your trips. Not only do you save fuel, you'll cut down on the amount of time you spend behind the wheel.
Keep Your Car Well Maintained
Keeping your car well maintained saves gas, reduces emissions, and helps your car to last longer. It's a win-win! Read about some maintenance tips below:
- Keep your tires properly inflated. This will help your tires last longer and perform better. Under inflated tires can make the steering sluggish and have the tires get hotter. Fuel economy goes down by about 1 percent for every 3 pounds below recommended pressure, and driving with a properly inflated tire reduces the chance of a blowout. Tires can lose about 1 pound of pressure in a month, so check the air pressure regularly and always before going on a long trip or carrying heavy loads. In addition, be sure to keep your wheels rotated and tires balanced.
- Change the oil regularly and use the recommended grade of motor oil. Changing the oil and oil filter regularly increases fuel economy and helps your car last longer. Your owner's manual has guidelines for how often to change the oil and the correct grade.
- Keep your engine properly tuned. An engine that is not properly tuned wastes gas, emits more pollutants, and has a higher risk of breaking down.
- Check and replace the air filter regularly. Replacing a clogged air filter can increase gas mileage by 4 percent.
For more information about the benefits of driving green or travelling green in Virginia, visit one of the following web sites: