Vehicle pollution is a major problem. The environmental and public health risks are huge.
The combustion of petroleum produces carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases. Smog forms over congested areas, and harmful particle matter gets into lungs.
We encourage everyone to seriously think about how much unnecessary fuel usage they go through and make some adjustments. As an added bonus, by reducing the amount of fuel you go through, the more money you'll save!
Carefully plan to
do all your errands in one go instead of making several trips. Check
with others in the household first to see if anyone else needs a ride
into town or items picked up.
Traffic jams are never much fun! Constant breaking and accelerating uses up more fuel than driving at a steady pace. If you can't avoid the daily rush hour because of work etc. then try sharing rides (see carpooling below). Another option may be to take the back roads to bypass any gridlocks.
Idling uses up excessive fuel and increases toxic gas emissions. Of course there are situations when it's necessary, such as at traffic lights, but otherwise it's not recommended. Idling actually uses up more fuel than turning a car off and on again (most people believe the opposite)! Modern vehicles are more technology advanced, so stopping and restarting the engine won't cause any extra wear and tear.
Excessive idling can be harmful for modern engines, as fuel residue damages the piston rings, spark plugs and cylinders. Newer vehicles are efficiently warmed up by just driving them rather than idling. Older cars may take a few minutes to warm up.
Know where to go and avoid the traffic! If you're unfamiliar with your destination, then check a road map before you start driving. Find out the quickest and easiest way for a smooth run.
Fuel consumption increases with speed so keep within the limits and stay safe! You can save 10% of your fuel on average by not speeding.
Keeping your tires at their correct inflation pressure (PSI) helps to save fuel. When tires are underinflated their rolling resistance on the road surface increases, so more energy is required to move them. This reduces fuel efficiency by 3%-8%. Correct tire pressure is also important for on the road safety, plus it lengthens the life of your tires.
Air conditioning uses the cars engine power to work, which can increase fuel consumption by 5-25% (depending on low or high settings). Consider if you really need the A/C going, and if not turn it off. Alternatively, use the flow-through vents, or the re-circulation button which only uses the air inside your vehicle, and doesn't bring in warmer air from outside to be cooled. When using the A/C to defrost windows, make sure to turn it off once the windows are cleared.
The heavier a vehicle is, the greater the inertia and rolling
resistance will be. Manufactures now recognize this fact by using lighter
materials in vehicles. However, even the weight you put
inside (or outside) your car makes a difference with the energy and
fuel consumption. For every extra 100 pounds fuel usage increases by 2%.
Remove any items from your trunk and back seat that you may have been
carrying around for a while (golf clubs, tools, full boxes, etc.) and put
them away elsewhere!
Take racks off if you're not using them. This will improve your car's aerodynamics. Air is like a wall that a vehicle has to move through. The faster a car goes, the more resistance against that wall. Even an empty roof rack creates drag which requires more energy, and could use up to 10% more fuel.
Close your windows if you don't really need them open as they also disrupt airflow, especially when moving over 30 miles per hour (50 km/h).
Aggressive drivers always have higher costs than patient drivers! Fast acceleration and hard breaking uses up considerably more fuel than maintaining a steady speed. Ease onto the accelerator pedal gradually and drive at a consistent speed.
Look ahead to anticipate what the traffic is doing. Watch your following distances. This will prepare you for any sudden changes in traffic movement and to avoid sudden breaking. When you know that traffic is slowing down ahead then you can coast to decelerate and save on break usage.
Take corners smoothly instead of hard breaking
then accelerating out. Gently reduce your speed before the corner and change down in gear if necessary. Ease out of the bend in a light throttle. If you have children in the back seat, this may save on car sickness too!
Build up speed before reaching uphill stretches. Lift your foot off the accelerator just before a hill crest and use the cars own momentum to go over the top. These techniques can save you anywhere from 20%-50% off fuel usage.
This doesn't save on fuel contrary to popular belief! In fact it does the opposite and uses more fuel as a car is still idling while in neutral. Coasting in neutral is dangerous as you don't have full control of the vehicle, and it's illegal in some cities.
Use cruise control when traveling on long stretches of road. This feature helps to save fuel by keeping the car moving along at a steady speed.
Getting your vehicle serviced regularly will ensure it's running at optimal performance. A tune up, change of air filter, and an oil change, all help to conserve fuel. An inadequately maintained car uses between 10%-50% more fuel depending on the issues, and may emit up to 50% more greenhouse gases.
Sharing rides with others traveling to and from the same destination (work, school, clubs etc.) is way more eco friendly than traveling alone. Did you know that while city driving, as much as 50% of a car's energy is used on acceleration alone. You'll definitely save money on petrol and parking fees! Start by checking if your work has a travel plan on offer. If not, start one up yourself. You may even make a few new friends along the way.
Catching the bus, train, or ferry saves on fuel and reduces congestion on the roads. Takes away the hassle and stress from having to drive yourself. Bookmark your local public transport timetables on your phone for convenience.
If you're heading somewhere nearby, then why not get some exercise at the same time. Get those legs moving!
Before your next car purchase do some research between prospective
models for their fuel economy (see below).
Generally automatics are known to be more fuel hungry than manuals by 10%-15%, although the newer automatics with additional gears are closing this gap.
If you live in New Zealand go to www.rightcar.govt.nz for fuel economy ratings.
For example, a single person that doesn't usually travel far probably doesn't require a big vehicle with a large engine.
Work out a suitable petrol allowance for the week. Try to keep to that amount. Allow more for special occasions such as holidays.