1. Plan ahead: A cold engine pollutes up to five times more than a warmed up one. Combine several short trips into one, saving energy, money and polluting less.
2. Lighten up: Are you carting around excess baggage–a stroller or bike that’s rarely used, that box of books you’ve been meaning to drop off at the library? While carrying a few extra light items isn’t harmful, carrying an extra 100 pounds decreases your fuel economy by one percent.
3. No American “Idles”: Newer cars don’t need to warm up like older models, so there’s no need to idle in your driveway anymore. Turn off your ignition anytime you are stopped or parked more than a few minutes. Use a reflective windshield shade in winter to help reduce frost in winter.
4. Cruise: At highway speeds, using cruise control can reduce your fuel consumption up to 7 percent.
5. Park it right: In the summer, park your car in the shade or use a reflective windshield shade to keep your car cool and reduce fuel evaporation. A garage can help keep your car cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
6. Maintenance: Regular maintenance, tune-ups, oil changes and checking of tire inflation extend the life of your car, reduce the incidence of break-downs, and improve gas mileage.
7. Change your oil: Changing your car’s oil and oil filter improves its fuel efficiency. If you do it yourself, be sure to recycle the oil properly and fill up your engine with clean recycled motor oil. Go to earth911.com to find a used motor oil drop-off location near you. If you go to a service station, make sure they do the same.
8. At the pump: Avoid “topping-off” your gas tank when filling up at the pump. Overfilling your tank by even a little bit can lead to pollution caused by gasoline spills. When possible, get fuel in cooler weather to minimize evaporation and prevent gas fumes form heating up and creating ozone. Also, seek out gas stations that use those accordion-looking plastic devices covering the gas nozzle known as pollution-reducing vapor-recovery nozzles.