It’s been said that the greenest things are the ones you don’t purchase. Replacing stuff that’s not broken with new stuff, even if it’s green, just creates more waste. This is especially true with big things, like cars and houses.
There are plenty of ways to get more miles per gallon out of your conventional car or truck, thus reducing carbon emissions without the cost or commitment of a new vehicle. The bonus benefit is that many of these tweaks will save you lots of money while costing you very little, relative to the price of a new green car.
5 Ways to Make Your Gas-Powered Car More Eco-Friendly
1. Reduce Weight
It takes more gas to move a heavy car than a light one. There’s not much you can do to change the actual weight of your vehicle without some serious alterations, but you can avoid adding weight. How much unnecessary stuff are you toting around in your car? If you regularly ride around with bikes, ski equipment, car seats, dog crates or other heavy stuff in your trunk or backseat, you’re adding weight that hurts fuel economy.
2. Install Low-Rolling-Resistance Tires
The kind of tires you put on your car can have a huge impact on how much gas it consumes. In recent years, tire engineers have developed new ways to reduce “hysteresis, or the natural deflection, deformation, and elastic delay that occur when a rubber circle that carries thousands of pounds rolls.” These smarter tires, such as the Ecopia EP422 from Bridgestone, waste less energy in the form of heat, with the potential to save 100 gallons of gas when compared to other tires.
3. Use the Right Grade of Gasoline
Most gas pumps offer three grades– regular, plus, and premium. If you’ve been paying extra for high grade stuff, chances are you’re wasting money without any increased performance. “In today’s automobiles, advances in engine technology mean that even if the owner’s manual recommends premium gasoline, the car will typically run on regular without issue and won’t damage the engine in any other way,” reports Edmunds. You aren’t likely to notice it, but this money-saving switch may make it slightly more difficult to accelerate quickly, but as we’ll see in a minute, that’s actually a blessing in disguise.
4. Reduce Air Conditioner Use / Close Windows
It may feel great, but riding around with the air conditioning cranked up increases fuel cost from 13% up to 21%, according to Consumer Energy Center. If the weather’s nice, you might be tempted to roll down the windows instead, but this decreases your vehicle’s aerodynamic efficiency. If it’s cool enough, use the flow-through ventilation instead of rolling down the windows or using the AC.
5. Change The Way You Drive
Are you a speed demon? Love to beat the car next to you off the light? You may feel powerful, but those aggressive driving habits are costing you big time at the pump, while belching lots of extra emissions into the atmosphere. Here’s a fun fact to keep in mind: All vehicles lose fuel economy at speeds above 55 mph. That’s one of the reasons it’s the most common speed limit. Driving 65 mph instead of 75 mph reduces fuel cost by 13 percent. Driving 55 mph saves 25 percent. Also, stop allowing your vehicle to idle, even for 10 seconds. An idling car gets zero miles per gallon, but still produces toxic emissions. Today’s cars are designed to warm up fast, and if you’ve heard that turning your car on and off a lot hurts the engine or wastes fuel, it’s only a myth.
What other tips do you have for increasing fuel efficiency and conserving fuel with a conventional vehicle? Share them in a comment!
All images via Thinkstock unless otherwise noted
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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