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Tips to Ensure Your Car is Eco-Friendly

Minimize Idle Time and Keep up Your Automotive Maintenance

Copyright © Carly Fierro; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission; Posted January 20, 2013

Fuel economy vs speed in 1997; photo courtesy Napalm1232


Not more than a decade ago, going green seemed to be nothing more than a fad. Fortunately for our planet and future generations, the movement caught on and spread throughout the nation and the world.

Today, anyone who doesn’t have at least some interest in eco-friendly practices may be thought of as unaware or irresponsible.

There are countless ways in which you can help to reduce your carbon footprint, from installing a solar thermal water heatersolar thermal water heater to buying only organic food. One of the largest offenders to our planet, however, is the automobile.

While automotive technologies are becoming more and more eco-conscious, perfection hasn’t been achieved yet. Until technology reaches that milestone, follow these tips to make sure your car is as eco-friendly as possible:

  • Turn the Engine Off.

    Gas consumption is the largest reason that cars are bad for the environment. It really doesn’t take that much gas to restart your engine, so turn it off if you’re going to be sitting idle for more than 30 seconds.

    In fact, the California Energy Commission reports “For every two minutes a car is idling, it uses about the same amount of fuel it takes to go about one mile. But you’re not going anywhere. Idling gets ZERO miles per gallon.”

  • Pump up the Tires.

    Proper tire inflation is crucial to many aspects of your car, fuel economy included. Did you know that you could save about 3 percent on your gas mileage just by keeping the tire pressure at the recommended PSI?

    Don’t know what that number is? It’s printed right on the side. Not only that, but properly inflated tires are safer for you as they increase traction during inclement conditions while putting less wear and tear on the rubber.

  • Be Sensible with the Soap and Water.

    Ok, you paid good money for your car and you take pride in how it looks. That’s great. Just don’t let it be foolish pride.

    Instead of commercially available car detergents, make your own eco-friendly solution using green dish soap and laundry detergent. Work out of a bucket filled with water and save the rinsing for very last.

    Take care of this either early in the morning or just before dusk. This way the soapy water won’t dry before you get a chance to rinse.

  • Keep up Your Automotive Maintenance.

    Basic car maintenance isn’t difficult—it’s not like you’re trying to program construction estimating software, you know?

    Get your oil changed as often as you need to preserve the highest efficiency operation, but don’t change it more often than you really need to. Use the proper weight in an eco-friendly alternative if you can find it.

    In addition to the oil, stay on top of your air filter. A dirty filter can really put a drain on your engine’s performance, sucking the fuel efficiency right out of your car by as much as 10 percent.

    Air filters aren’t expensive, nor are they difficult to replace, whether you have automotive experience or not.

  • Keep Your Foot Out of It.

    Yes, it may be fun to see what the engine’s got and really turn it loose, but such behavior does absolutely nothing good for your fuel economy.

    You’re not Steve McQueen. Even if you don’t stomp it off the line, driving in excess of the speed limit on a regular basis can rob you of 23 percent of your potential gas mileage. Besides, it’s dangerous and illegal.

    Of course, the actual amount of gas your vehicle will waste depends on the make and model (see the graphic at the top of this page). Be safe and be green.

About the Author:

Carly Fierro is an aspiring writer who loves animals, spending time outdoors, and traveling. She hopes to someday publish a book - but for now, she’ll settle for indulging in her love of blogging.


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