5 Ways to Make Your Car More Eco-Friendly

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.

If you long to join the ranks of hybrid or all-electric car drivers, but currently own a gas-powered vehicle that works just fine, resist the temptation to buy a new one.

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

ecofriendly car full trunk

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.

Ecopia Bridgestone Tire

Image via Bridgestone

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.

ecofriendly car gas pump

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.

ecofriendly car windows AC

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.

ecofriendly car driving habits

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


Paula A
Paula Aabout a month ago

thank you

Past Member
Past Member 3 years ago

These are actually wonderful some ideas in the blog. You have touched good quality points here. In whatever way continue writing. car insurane quote

Vivian Y.
Vivian Y.4 years ago

car care can be easy when with some useful tools such as tire repair tool and some polish wax.

Ruth R.
Ruth R4 years ago

Been doing this since i started driving--because that is what my Dad had me do.

For fun!
Hi Friends, Thank you to you for your goodwill toward Ruth R. Here is why I have been gone. My Hybrid Story. Part 1.!

Dear Friends, and men and women on Care2, So, I finally did some things -- partly because of care2 articles, my research, word of mouth from other people who have hybrids, that lead to my decisions.


I tried a bicycle

and found it good for going some places and for the summer time -- due some temporary physical challenges -- so I would like to save to get a quad-cycle for local commuting, and for fun!

I tried the local bus

and that was a very nice bus in Fort Collins- Loveland, Colorado.
Combine the bus with bicycle and people go places -- though not the 300 miles per day -- that would be for the rental of a hybrid.

Either way a person can choose transportation to win.

I found a toyota prius hybrid for 3,000 us dollars and some one else got it while i was waiting to get my money and strength tot go get the hybrid.

Then ! I found a toyota prius for 4,000 us dollars,

and money was there, from trying for the previous vehicle, and I drove 230 miles or so to get to it, bought a part of it with the money the bank let me take out that day. Drove 230 miles back, rested up on the 4th of july weekend, and drove a low cost rental one way to the dealer,
finished the purchase on the 6th of July and dro

Olivia Mak
Olivia Mak5 years ago

Making sure your tires are properly inflated will add miles to your car's gas usage. In the winter, use proper snow tires as well. My husband installed new Nokian tires on my car and I feel a smoother and safer drive. Personally, I feel I have to visit the gas pump less often too!

Mary B.
Mary B5 years ago

I hate that phrase, "Wouldn't it be nice if everyone did..."walk, ride a cycle, use public transport, buy a fuel effictient car,,, bla bla...Not everyone has those options available, is physically able, lives in a climent where that's possible year around and a million other lagitimate reasons. So why don't those who say those things get their minds around life on a planet of diverse geography, economic reality, physical limitation, ect, and get over the idea that we are all here to conform to one way of doing things? We are ALL ONE only in the unseen level before differentation into thoughts, beliefs and biological bodies happens. Once we're here, we must learn to co-operate and add our personal gifts.

Donna Ferguson
Donna F5 years ago


Debbie Wood
Debbie Wood5 years ago

Right now my car's air conditioner is not working, hasn't all summer and here in Florida, that is pure torture. To fix it right now is impossible. We have had a rough year, one major thing after another, so my car's maintance has suffered. I just got home from spending 4 rough days at the hospital with my granddaughter I am raising. She had a cyst on her fallopian tube that was huge and twisted the tube, causing horrible pain. It is hard for a 13 year old to go through something like this. She is a good kid, good student. Anyway, I put down the windows. We would sweat to death if we didn't. It gets miserable even with the windows down. I hope to get the air fixed at least before spring comes again. I know it is the compressor.

Barbara DeFratis
Barbara DeFratis5 years ago

Manuela C., I feel you. I have to confess. I usually keep it to within 5 of the speed limit, since there are many people who are in a hurry, but sometimes when I am running late, I push it to with in 10 of the speed limit and occasionally even higher, I try not to, since I am trying to see how long I can continue to go without a speeding ticket.

Karen C.

Good ideas. Thanks.