Healthy Living

Be a Greener Driver and Save Money at the Same Time

Adopting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle sometimes doesn’t just mean saving the planet, it can also save you money. While car manufacturers design expensive cars to run on alternative fuels, simply changing your driving habits can have immediate benefits for the ecosystem and your household budget.

Driving style

Better driving habits can accomplish both goals of saving money and protecting the environment.

Use the cruise control feature on the car during periods of straightaway driving, such as a highway. Avoiding sudden accelerations and maintaining a consistent speed will improve gas mileage.

Gas and brake
Sudden accelerations not only use more fuel they can be hard on the vehicle. Lots of braking can have an adverse effect, too, leading to more maintenance costs.

Join a group
Carpools to the office with a group of coworkers have been around for several years, but there are opportunities to take them even further. Work with other parents to take turns transporting children on the same sports teams to practices or to school. Check with friends and neighbors to see if they want to set one up to run multiple errands at the same time.

Climate control
Avoid using the air conditioning at certain times. Running the AC puts an additional electrical strain on the battery, meaning the engine has to run harder to supply it. When driving at slower speeds, such as when in town, turn the AC off and roll down the windows. On the other hand, when traveling at highway speeds, it is more economical to roll the window up and enjoy the AC. Having the window down adds wind resistance, causing the engine to run faster to maintain speed.

Idle time
When making quick stops at stores, go ahead and turn the car off. It is a waste of gas to let the engine idle because fuel is being burned while the vehicle simply sits. The bigger the engine, the more gas is wasted.

Car maintenance

Keeping the car in good condition can help it use less gas when driven, making it better for the environment

Air filter
Have the air filters checked and replaced at regular intervals. A dirty or clogged air filter can lower mileage by as much as 10 percent.

Tire pressure
Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage by about three percent. They also will not need to be replaced as often and are safer.

Tune the engine

An engine that is out of tune works harder and can use up to four percent more gasoline than one that is working properly. A faulty oxygen sensor can lower gas mileage by up to 40 percent.
Being a “green” driver really means just being a sensible one. Drive at even speeds, avoid sudden braking and jackrabbit starts and don’t leave the vehicle running when not in it. Combine riders whenever possible to reduce the number of cars on the road. Not only will these tips save the planet, they’ll save money as well.

This is a guest post from Jane King, who recently used an online loan calculator to work out an affordable budget for her new car. Although her budget won’t stretch to buying an expensive hybrid, Jane tries to be a greener driver by following the tips in this post.

Karla Urwitz
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