Take a $20 bill. Now strike a match and watch the money go up in smoke.
The Cost of Fueling Your Vehicle
Annual fuel cost for driving 15,000 miles by fuel efficiency in miles per gallon (mpg)
If you were to purchase a hybrid that gets approximately 50 mpg, compared to a car that gets approximately 20 mpg, you would save $6,750, over 5 years at $3 a gallon ($9,000 over 5 years at $4 a gallon).
Did You Know?
Your air conditioner can consume up to one gallon of gas per tank to cool the vehicle.
Use this calculator from ecodrivingusa.com to find out how much you’ll save by driving green.
How Do I Save Green?
Drive More Efficiently
Leave early and don’t rush.
“Jack-rabbit” starts and hard braking alone can increase fuel consumption by 40 percent but reduce travel time by only 4 percent.
Keep it close to 60 mph on the highway.
Highway driving that exceeds 60 miles per hour uses more fuel. According to the U.S. EPA, every 5 miles over the 60 mph level is equivalent to paying 20 extra cents per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit and not exceeding 60 mph (where legally allowed) can improve mileage by 7-23 percent.
With today’s advanced vehicles, turning the engine off and on again is no longer hard on your starter and you no longer need to warm up your engine. An automobile may burn more than half a gallon of fuel for every hour spent idling. Unless you are simply dropping off or picking up someone, make it a habit to turn your engine off when waiting at the curb even if it’s just for a short period, and avoid drive-thrus.
Use AC only at higher speeds.
Air conditioning can reduce mileage significantly, by as much as 20 percent. In fact, your air conditioner can consume up to one gallon of gas per tank to cool the vehicle. But driving with your windows open can produce aerodynamic drag, which reduces fuel economy. What’s a driver to do? When driving at slower speeds (less than 40 mph), such as driving in urban areas, open windows are better. At higher speeds (over 40 mph), close the windows and turn on the air conditioner – the AC uses less fuel.
Use cruise control.
Using cruise control on 10,000 miles driven in a year could save you nearly $200 and save more than 60 gallons of fuel, according to the Department of Transportation (assuming $3 a gallon for fuel, 20 MPG, and 15,000 miles driven annually).
Keep on rolling in traffic.
Slow-and-go is always better than stop-and-go, and not just to reduce traffic congestion woes. Maintaining a constant speed in your commute increases fuel economy, because it takes much more energy to move a stopped vehicle than to keep a vehicle moving. In fact, it can take 20 percent more fuel to accelerate from a full stop than from 5 miles per hour. Try to anticipate stops and coast as much as possible.
Attend a driving clinic.
Training sessions may be available in your area to learn more about efficient driving techniques.
Track your fuel consumption.
There’s no better way to realize how much you’re saving than by keeping track of how much fuel you’re using. Save your fuel receipts, and start recording distance travelled and fuel economy (MPG) for each trip. Also record trip type and new techniques employed to monitor your progress. See Ecomodder.com for more information on tracking fuel consumption.
Install and use a fuel consumption display.
Fuel tracking devices are available that allow the driver to track individual trips or portions of trips. Options for vehicles without factory installed fuel economy computers (like in Toyota hybrids) include the ScanGauge and SuperMID.
Plan ahead so you can get all your errands taken care of in one trip. Go to the furthest destination first, then work your way back.
Maintain your vehicle
Get the junk out of your trunk.
Removing unnecessary items from your vehicle saves fuel. It takes energy to move the extra weight around. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your miles per gallon by up to 2 percent.
Keep tires properly inflated.
The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on underinflated tires. Tires can deflate naturally, by as much as 1.5 PSI (pounds per square inch) a month. Experts estimate that 25 percent of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure. Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1 percent for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated. So, keeping your tires properly inflated translates into a free tank of gas a year and reduces CO2 emissions too. You can also consider purchasing fuel-efficient tires.
Change your oil.
According to the U.S. EPA, you can improve your fuel economy by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Use an energy-conserving grade of motor oil. For information of how to do this correctly and environmentally visit http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/.
Replace your air filter.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a clogged air filter can increase your mileage by 10 percent.
Tighten your fuel cap.
As much as 30 gallons of gasoline could be lost annually to evaporation when the fuel cap is not fully tightened. Loose, damaged or missing gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council.
Pay attention to your tank.
Fill gas tank during cooler evening hours to cut down on evaporation. Avoid spilling gas and don’t “top off” the tank.
Reduce aerodynamic drag.
Wind resistance can reduce mileage, so you can maximize your mileage by removing luggage racks, roof-top carriers, and ski racks when they are not needed. Experts at Edmunds.com say that even keeping your car washed and waxed improves aerodynamics.
Taking the bus or vanpooling can save you money on gas, and has other benefits. Instead of driving in rush hour traffic, you can sit back and enjoy a stress-free commute with a coffee and newspaper. You don’t have to worry about where to park, and if you have a few drinks on a Friday night, public transportation offers an alternative to getting behind the wheel. Taking public transportation also puts fewer vehicles on the road, which reduces harmful emissions and pollutants entering our air, and increases the longevity of our road system.
Get healthy and spend some quality time outdoors by riding a bicycle or walking to your destination.