Cars are one of the greatest mixed blessings of our time. They are a convenient and comfortable means of travel, yet one that leads to environmental hazards such as climate change and air pollution. So if you truly want to make your contribution to the environment, the first thing you need to ask yourself is if you in fact need a car. If the answer is yes, there are several things you can do to make your driving greener.
Best practices: Avoid sudden starts and stops. Not only does speeding and jerky driving kill your MPG, it's dangerous too. Keep your engine speeds from 1,200-3,000 RPMs and up-shift from 2,000-2500 RPMs. Drive wise and minimize unnecessary miles by doing errands in one trip, getting good directions and calling ahead.
Stay in tune: Getting regular tune-ups, maintenance and having clean air filters will help you burn less gas, pollute less, and prevent car trouble down the line. Get the junk out of the trunk! All that extra weight is sapping your fuel economy.
Car minus the carbon: There are many services in the market that can help you calculate your yearly driving emissions and help offset those greenhouse gasses through various means.
Carpool: Find coworkers, neighbors, and fellow students headed in the same direction and car pool! Start with one shared trip per week.
Leave the car at home: For shorter adventures, walk or ride your bike. Carrying groceries or other bulky stuff can still be done on a bike with a backpack or some slick modifications.
Easy on the AC: Instead of an AC, try an electric or solar fan. Parking in the shade and using a reflective windshield shade can keep your car cooler when parked, meaning it takes less to cool it off when you get back in.
10 TIPS TO SAVE FUEL
Don't top off. Don't bother topping off when filling your car's gas tank. Any additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out.
Tighten up the fuel tank cap. A loose, missing or damaged gas cap is most often known to cause gas from evaporating from your cars fuel tank. So be sure to tighten up that cap each time you fuel up your car.
Go for the shade. If you let your car bake in the sun there's going to be a greater amount of evaporative emissions. And buy a good windshield shade. A windshield shade blocks sunlight and helps to keep heat out of the inside of your car.
Use your garage for your car. Parking in your garage will help your car stay warm in winter and cool in summer.
Pump up your tires. Don't get caught driving on underinflated tires. Tires that have low pressure offer more resistance so the engine is going to work harder to keep the car at 60. Underinflated tires wear down more quickly and they also lower your car's mileage. Driving on underinflated tires may also reduce the life of your tires by 15 percent or more.
Check your tire pressure once a month. Compare the pressure in your tires with the recommended pressure listed in your owner's manual and on the placard in your car door. Then inflate your tires as needed. Be sure to check tire pressure when your tires are cold. A good time is early in the morning after your car's been idle overnight.
Keep your engine in tune. Be sure to give your car regular tune-ups. Watch out for worn spark plugs, a misfiring spark plug can reduce a car's fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
Replace air filters. Keep a close eye on your engine's air filter. When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel-efficient. It's a good idea to have your engine air filter checked at each oil change.
Use the right oil. You can improve your car's mileage by 1 percent to 2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil.
Don't skimp on maintenance. Be serious about auto care. Your car's performances depend on it and always follow the manufacturer-recommended maintenance.
Alternative Fuels: Pros & Cons
Vehicles that make use of alternative sources can leave most users feeling good about helping the environment, about encouraging technological development or even feeding their need to own something that's cutting edge. But does it really serve a purpose?
Lets take a look at the pros and cons of alternative fuels:
Electric-only vehicles These vehicles run on battery power only -- up to about 100 miles per charge traveling at highway speeds.
Pros: A big one: Zero tailpipe emissions. They can be recharged at home. Cons: The distance they can travel before needing to be recharged is extremely limited. The life of the battery packs remains uncertain.
Diesel These vehicles run on diesel fuel that is a petroleum derivative produced in the refining process.
Pros: Depending on market conditions, diesel fuel can cost less per litre than petrol. Diesel-powered vehicles generally get higher fuel mileage than gasoline vehicles. Diesels tend to go longer between major overhauls. Cons: One can be plagued with tailpipe-emission problems. Diesel fuel is not always available.
Biodiesel fuel These vehicles run on this clean-burning fuel made from renewable resources, such as soybean oil, blended with petroleum diesel.
Pros: Cleaner-burning than petroleum-based diesel fuel. It's made essentially from vegetable oil, so it's a renewable resource and biodegradable. It can run in almost any diesel engine. Cons: It's not widely available. It costs significantly more than regular diesel fuel.
SIMPLE & PRACTICAL TIPS TO SAVE YOUR FUEL
The fact is, we have become used to hearing of more notorious fuel pumps today. It is important to use good fuel for the vehicle. What we mean by good fuel is simply fuel with fewer impurities. Such fuel does not clog your carburetor and helps you in not just giving more fuel efficiency, but also helps cutting down smoke emission. Do Not Top Your Fuel Tank: Do not bother to top off when filling the fuel tank. Any additional fuel will just slop around or seep out. Though we have the tendency to take in the maximum for our money this simply turns out to be a waste of the same. Stop pumping at the first indication that your tank is full when the automatic nozzle clicks off.
Tighten Up The Fuel Lid: Fuel will evaporate from the fuel tank if it has an escape. Loose, missing or damaged fuel lids are a cause of wastage of fuel. So be sure to tighten up that fuel lid each time you fuel up your car.
Cooling In the Shade: The hot sun that makes the inside of your car feel like an oven, also zaps fuel from your fuel tank. So park your car in the shade whenever possible. Pump Air in your Tires: Don't get caught driving on under inflated tyres. Under inflated tyres wear down more quickly and they also lower your car's mileage.
Keep Your Engine Tuned: Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can boost the mileage by about 4 percent. So be sure to give your car regular tune-ups. You'll also want to watch out for worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a car's fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
Replace Air Filters: When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel-efficient. Replacing a clogged air filter could improve the mileage by as much as 10 percent! It's a good idea to have your engine air filter, checked at each oil change.
Use The Right Oil: The mileage can be improved by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Opt for motor oil containing friction-reducing additives. Regular Maintenance: Be serious about auto care. Your vehicle's performance depends on it.
Fuel Saving Tips To Beat The Price Hike
With fuel prices on an all time high, these tips should give you what it takes to save on your fuel budget!
Fuel Lids A number of vehicles have fuel lids that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether; this causes the fuel to evaporate at a fast rate.
Under inflated tyres When tyres aren't inflated properly it's like driving with the parking brake on and this can cost a kilometer or two per litre.
Worn spark plugs A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 kilometers, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
Dirty air filters An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a rich mixture too much gas being burnt for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve the mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Fuel saving can also be brought to effect by using simple driving skills; read the tips below to find out how one can drive economically.
Don't be an aggressive driver Aggressive driving can lower mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets.
Avoid excessive idling Sitting idle gets zero kilometers per litre. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
Observe the speed limit Mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 kmph. To maintain a constant speed on the highway is the best way for economic driving.
Although car manufacturers have made tremendous fuel economy gains, and have improved overall performance, it's so simple to improve fuel economy without thinking too much or splurging too much money. Just keep these steps in mind.
Keep track of all fuel economy changes by checking your gas mileage every time you fill up and noting new techniques to see if they work. If you notice that mileage figures are falling, it's probably time for a tune-up. Smooth driving is an easy way to improve fuel economy. Jerking is wasteful. Beware of under-inflated tyres. Inflate your tyres to the upper limit of the manufacturer's recommendations. Check tyre pressure when the tyres are cold for accurate, consistent readings. This is one of the best ways to manage fuel economy. It obviously takes more fuel to move a heavier object. Inspect your trunk and remove any unnecessary junk. Follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule religiously. Whenever possible, buy fuel at a busy petrol pump. Since their tanks are refilled often, you're less likely to get fuel that is adulterated by water, rust or other impurities. Be sure that your front suspension is properly aligned and try to drive straight. Poor alignment increases tyre friction, causes premature tyre wear, and requires extra gas to move the vehicle. On long trips where traffic permits, use cruise control. A constant speed is more efficient than what you can maintain manually.