GREEN YOUR MACHINE
(Not Everyone Drives a Hybrid)
Check out these tips to Green the ol' Grocery Getter:
Be Aware of Your Driving Habits
Plan Your Trips
Plan to do a number of errands in one trip rather than several trips and save both time and fuel. Avoid peak-hour traffic, hard accelerating and heavy braking as they all waste fuel. Driving smoothly and avoiding stop-start traffic saves fuel and up to 30 percent of greenhouse emissions.
Select The Right Gear
Change up through the gears and into top gear as soon as possible without accelerating harder than necessary. Driving in a gear lower than you need wastes fuel; so does letting the engine labor in top gear on hills and corners. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum.
Speed Kills Economy
High speeds result in high fuel consumption. At 70 mph your car uses up to 25 percent more fuel than it would cruising at 55 mph. On the open road, drive within the posted speed limits.
Stopping and Braking
Resting your foot on the brake or driving with the hand-brake on wastes fuel, increases brake wear and decreases braking efficiency. Rather than idle for lengthy periods it is more fuel efficient to switch off and then restart your engine when necessary.
Look After Your Car's Tires
Inflate your car's tires to the pressure range recommended by the manufacturer for the use of the car, and make sure your wheels are properly aligned. Looking after your tires will not only reduce your fuel consumption it will also extend tire life and improve handling.
The more a car carries the more fuel it uses; an extra 25 lbs of weight can increase your fuel bill by two percent. Anything fixed to the outside of the car increases wind resistance and fuel consumption.
Service Your Car Regularly
Keep Your Car Well Tuned
This can reduce greenhouse gases by up to 15 percent through fuel savings.
Repair Any Leaks Immediately
Leaking fluids are not only a sure sign that the vehicle needs repair, but the fluids are also harmful to the environment. Routinely inspect the spot where the vehicle is parked for signs of fluid leaks, and check for fumes.
- Black or dark brown drippings - motor oil or grease
- Yellow or green drippings - coolant or antifreeze
- Pink or red drippings - transmission fluid
- Clear drippings - brake fluid, power steering fluid or gasoline
Get your car's emissions output tested. This gives you a starting point from which to base your awareness of your vehicle's emissions.
Keep Track of Your Gas Mileage
Any sudden decrease in mileage could indicate an engine problem that could also be causing an increase in emissions.
Consider Alternative Fuels
Biodiesel burns cleaner than standard petrodiesel and can be used in any diesel vehicle with no modification. Because biodiesel is produced from both new and waste vegetable oils, dependence on petroleum is decreased.
Check out Blue Ridge Biofuels for more information.
Most conventional automobiles can use gasoline blended with up to 10% ethanol, without any modification to their fuel systems or engines, and still be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
Natural Gas is generally considered to be the cleanest of all the commercially available fuels and produces low tailpipe emissions.
Most conventional vehicles can be converted to operate on natural gas. The gas is stored in high-pressure cylinders that are located under the vehicle, or in the trunk or rear compartment. For convenience, most conversions leave the original gasoline system in place in case you need to refuel in a location where natural gas is unavailable.
Propane is currently the most widely available of the alternative fuels. Most conventional vehicles can be converted to propane operation. As with natural gas, propane is stored under pressure in cylinders that are located under the vehicle or in the trunk or rear compartment. It is also possible to leave the original gasoline system in place as a backup.