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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Driving

By: Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Urban sustainability Agent

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the price of gasoline has risen in the past few weeks and you’re wondering if this will continue as we head towards the summer months. Though we cannot predict the price, we can certainly surmise that the start of daylight savings time, the promise of warmer temperatures, and the allure of spring and summer vacations will encourage us to take road trips! In this article, we will explore some conservation techniques for maximizing your return from your gas guzzling mobile transporter.

Avoid Speed Traps – Many of us assume that driving faster will get us there faster and indeed with posted speed limits, we operate under the assumption that we should be driving at the maximum recommended speed. But did you know that driving faster consumes more fuel? A constant speed reduces aerodynamic drag and maximizes fuel efficiency. The trip to grandma’s house might take longer but the 5 to 10 miles per gallon that is saved when you drive at 55 mph or 65 mph instead of 75 mph increases fuel economy and saves money! And, at $3.50 a gallon, that could easily translate into a $20+ savings!

Reduce Rapid Acceleration – It’s easy to give into temptation to overtake the “tourist” that’s driving in front of you but rapid acceleration will reduce gas mileage. Rapid acceleration and deceleration reduces your fuel economy both in town and on the highways. Take advantage of inertia and cruise controls – these will allow you to plan ahead for exits, ramps, and traffic signals. Be an involved driver!

Combine Errands – This is one of the most important things that you can do to get the most out of your gas tank! A warm engine is at its optimum for burning fuel so combining errands and making multiple trips keeps your engine from cooling down and provides the best fuel economy. Plus, it saves you from having to drive the same route more than once!

Stop Idling – Warming up your engine before you leave the house, sitting in traffic, and zipping through the drive-thru all involve idling. Idling decreases fuel economy and creates pollution. Plan ahead!

Promote Car Maintenance – Proper maintenance of your car is important to your bottom-line! A well tuned car is more fuel efficient and produces less greenhouse gas emissions.

Other green driving tips include car pooling, biking or walking; using mass transit; buying a hybrid or green vehicle; and using renewable energies. Together, these strategies will allow you to maximize your fuel economy, save money, and protect the planet.



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