Earth Day: Five driving tips that could save you gas money and help the environment
Follow these five Earth Day driving tips and you could save up to 20 percent of the fuel you normally use and help reverse US dependence on oil.
Americans are bombarded daily with different approaches for lessening US oil dependence, ranging from the use of methanol or switch grass for biofuel to adopting various kinds of electric and hybrid vehicles.Skip to next paragraph
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It’s enough to make your head spin. Some of these approaches make great sense, but others are hard to understand, much less execute successfully in a fickle consumer market.
Enter ecodriving. It is the most overlooked and yet the simplest way to decrease oil dependence.
Indeed, the Paris-based International Energy Agency has found that ecodriving can significantly increase fuel efficiency and reduce global carbon emissions. Nigel Jollands, the agency’s director of energy efficiency, pointed out to me that the agency is now “encouraging all countries to develop ecodriving programs that are appropriate for their national circumstances.” Ecodriving is especially important for Americans, because we account for one-fourth of the world’s daily oil use.
What is ecodriving, exactly?
Ecodriving is the opposite of the hurry up, put the pedal to the metal of Americana, of an individualistic culture that wants convenience and speed in all things. It involves driving in a manner that minimizes fuel consumption and emissions by:
•Turning off the engine when the vehicle is not moving for extended periods, such as in a massive traffic jam.
•Avoiding rapid acceleration and deceleration.
•Driving at efficient speeds. Fuel efficiency goes down significantly in most vehicles at speeds above 75 miles per hour. David Champion, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, found that boosting the highway speed of a 2006 Toyota Camry cut gasoline mileage dramatically: The car that got 40.3 miles per gallon at 55 m.p.h, got 34.9 m.p.g. at 65 m.p.h. and 29.8 m.p.g. at 75 m.p.h.
•Removing unnecessary items from the vehicle (such as ski or bike racks) to reduce weight and for limiting wind resistance.
•Learning how to shift gears effectively so as to avoid abrupt stops and starts.