Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Do You Know the Golden Rules of Eco Driving?

Are you an eco driver? Do you want to drive in a more environmentally friendly manner? You might be happy to learn that driving “greener” generally means that you also save money. You’ll buy less fuel and can use that savings to spend more on other things. And it’s fantastic for the environment. Learn the golden rules of eco driving and benefit both your pocket book and the planet!

Rule #1: Maintain Your Speed

Interior in a short nose SAAB 96. Photographed...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Did you know that accelerating increases emissions? It does. If you can maintain a steady speed you’ll reduce emissions. The key is to strive to reduce the energy your car needs to maintain your speed. So if you drive a manual transmission, then try to use the highest possible gear at the lowest RPM. If you drive an automatic, generally your car will attempt to optimize and work most efficiently automatically, but you can help by not having a "lead foot," and letting your car gradually accelerate and shift down naturally.

Rule #2: Anticipate Traffic 

If you are able to anticipate traffic flow, you’ll be better able to maintain speed and conserve fuel as well. For example, if you see that the light is about to change, you can let your foot off of the accelerator - meaning you’re saving fuel. Anticipate it correctly, and you may be able to reduce your need to accelerate too much as well. Stomping on the accelerator or the brake both cause you to use more fuel than is absolutely necessary.

Rule #3: Keep Your Tires Inflated

It takes more energy for your car to move on underinflated tires. Think about trying to ride a bike with low tires. It takes you more energy to just push the pedals around. When they’re fully inflated, it’s much easier. The same is true for your car. Keep your tires properly inflated and you’ll use less fuel.

Rule #4: Keep It Streamlined

The boxier your car, the more air resistance there is. That means it takes more energy to move forward. Streamlined and aerodynamic cars tend to get better gas mileage. While no one is asking you to buy a new, more aerodynamic car, you can reduce resistance by not adding unnecessary external cargo to your car, or strapping bulky items to the outside of your car such as bikes.

Rule #5: Shift Early

Finally, instead of waiting for your manual transmission to redline before shifting, shift early. This keeps your RPMs low and helps reduce fuel consumption. Again, if you drive a car with an automatic transmission your car generally strives to shift when it’s optimal. If you drive a manual transmission then you get to decide when to shift. Shifting around 2000 RPM instead of 3000 or 4000 saves gas and cuts back on emissions.

The golden rules of eco driving aren’t difficult to follow. Pay attention to your surroundings so you can maintain your speed. Don’t be in such a hurry and take good care of your car.

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