Top Green Driving Tips

When most of us are driving, the main concern is not always conserving as much gas as possible.  We are just trying to get from point A to point B with no concern for the environment or our wallets.  But, if we incorporate several green driving tips, we can help cut back our gas consumption while lowering our gas bill.

Green Cars

Photo by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcaven/3867815284/}Michael Cavén{/link}.

Bike

Bike to Work Day has already passed, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be riding our bikes more often.  All those small trips to the grocery store or anywhere local are perfect times to ride your bike.  Sometimes longer trips to work can be difficult, but that shouldn’t discourage you.  Drive partially to work and ride your bike the remainder.  All that is required is to find a location where you can park the car for the day.

Riding your bike also has health benefits, which is pretty obvious.  But what’s even better is that you can get your entire family involved, especially the kids.  Also, since there is no gas required to ride your bike, I consider this one of the most eco-friendly options for travel.

It can be difficult to find a bike path, to ride on, but Google Maps has made it easy for us.  They have added Bike Directions to their existing Google Maps application.  This makes it extremely easy to find an easy route to take while riding your bike.

Carpooling

With so many cars on the road, there has to be a better way to reduce that number?  Well there is, it’s called carpooling.  I’m sure if you asked around your office, you would probably find at least one person that is in a fairly close proximity to where you live.  Yet so many people traveling to the same place travel individually, congesting our roads, costing them additional money for gas and generating more pollution.

There are many online resources available including Carpool Connection and Zebigo in which you can find people who are looking for others to carpool with.  The longer you live from work, the great benefit you get from carpooling.  Give it a shot and you will almost instantly see the savings as well as helping the environment.

Public Transit

Almost all major cities have a good public transit system that can get you to work without having to deal with heavy traffic.  I live nearby Washington DC and the traffic on our local beltway is always congested.  Luckily there is a good transit system that can take you to almost any part of the city without having to deal with that hectic traffic.

Taking public transit also helps alleviate having to find parking or paying tons of money to park everyday.  Whenever I used drive into the city, I always spend way too much time trying to find parking and frustrated with the entire situation.  That’s why I almost always take transit to avoid the hassle.

If public transit is available, check it out as it might save you a little time, frustration, money and even the environment.

Consistent Driving

Did you know that one of the biggest wastes of gas in our driving involves accelerating and braking?  According to FuelEconomy.gov, you can improve your gas mileage anywhere from 5-33%.  That could amount to a large savings on your gas bill each fill up, while cutting your gas consumption.

Some ways to keep your speed consistent include coasting your car whenever possible and using cruise control.   There is no reason to press the accelerator to the floor for each light nor skid when a red light comes up.  Just make sure to be consistent with your driving and don’t go to the extremes.

Slow Down

Driving faster on highways may make the driver slightly shorter, but it could be costing you.  For every 1 mph you go over 60 mpg, your mpg decreases and could be costing your approximately $0.05 per gallon of gas.  Considering that not many people follow the posted signs on highways, that could be as much as a $1 per gallon of gas by just slowing down.  Going faster is not always the solution to get somewhere faster.

Use Air Conditioning Wisely

It can be difficult to determine when and how long to allow it to run while driving.  What may surprise you that similar to a home programmable thermostat, running the air conditioning for shorter periods can help you actually reduce you gas consumption.  This means that blasting your air conditioning when you get into the car for a short period is actually better than turning it on a low setting and higher temperature.  This is due to the fact that the air conditioning fan requires very little energy to power.

Another confusing issue involving the car’s air conditioner is When to roll up the windows.  The general rule is the faster you drive, the better it is to roll up your windows and use the air conditioner instead.  Driving at low speeds and stopping often is one of the only situations in which turning off your air conditioner and keeping the windows rolled down is better for fuel efficiency.

Avoid Idling

Eliminating excessive vehicle idling can help drastically reduce the amount of emissions our cars emit along with save a little cash.  What most people do not realize is that for every two minutes that we allow our cars to idle is equivalent to driving it a mile.  That can really add up if you are sitting in heavy traffic or allowing your car to warm up during the winter months.

Whenever sitting in your car for any period of time, turn off the car and open up the windows.  Also, there is no reason that we need to allow our cars to idle during the winter months just to warm up our cars.  Modern cars do not need to be warmed up to begin driving.  It’s all about our comfort when we enter into the car than actually helping our cars run better.

Keep Your Tires Inflated

Making sure your car tires are fully inflated is an often overlooked way to help improve your gas mileage.  By maintaining the proper pressure in all of your tires, you can help eliminate a possible 3.3% lose in mpg.  Though not as large of an impact as the other tips I mentioned, it can help keep you safe as well.  Low tire pressure can increase your chances of getting into an accident, risking your health and potentially cost you thousands.

Remove Excess Weight

This is an obvious choice in order to help improve your mpg.  I often hear people mention this and makes complete sense.  You can expect to see a savings of around 2% for each 100lbs you reduce in your car.  This means that having more passengers in the car by carpooling greatly outweighs any lose of mpg due to the extra weight.

Though not a huge savings overall, there is no reason to drive around with extra weight. It’s easy to remove those extra items, especially the heavier they are.

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Comments

  1. I am the user of public transportation. There are many ways for us to keep our environment green without interrupting our activities. Thanks for this information.

  2. The stopping distance in a minibus is far greater than that of a car. Remember to add your reaction time to that stopping distance. Extra care needs to be taken when traveling at speed on a motorway or in wet conditions.

  3. Great picture to go with the article. Go green regarding transportation!

  4. One way to Drive Green is to plan and consolidate our trips. This will enable us to bypass congested routes, and lead to less idling, fewer start-ups and less stop-and-go traffic. Whenever feasible, we should share a ride, carpool and use the most fuel efficient car possible.

  5. Carpooling is a great way but somehow people usually dont settle in for it. Great photo by the way !

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