Ecodriving is an initiative stemming from bipartisan efforts to encourage environmentally friendly driving, according to Advance Auto Parts. As EcoDrive.org points out, ecodriving refers to driving smarter and using fuel more efficiently. It’s also focused on using new technologies to reduce pollution, protect the climate and ensure safety. We’ve spoken with AutoTrader.com consumer shopping expert Brian Moody and compiled a list of tips to help you drive green.
1. Know Which Fuel Is Right for You
Depending on your driving circumstances, there are a variety of fuel options that may suit your needs, according to Moody. Hybrid vehicles get the best overall fuel economy and provide the convenience of a sizable driving range. Cars like the Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Prius get EPA ratings of about 50 miles per gallon. Electric vehicles (EV) use no gas, but can be less convenient because their driving range is limited. However, Moody notes, “Drivers with a short commute will find electric cars the most efficient by far. EVs like the Ford Focus Electric get the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon or more.”
2. Drive Conservatively
According to Moody, driving conservatively can greatly impact your MPG. He notes, “Even an aggressive hybrid driver can harm his/her fuel economy; with the right car, a conservative driving style can produce hybrid-like MPG even in a gasoline-only powered car.”
3. Maintain a Fuel-Efficient Speed
As it turns out, your driving speed can greatly affect your car’s fuel efficiency. For every five miles per hour you drive above 55 mph, you’ll lose 10 percent fuel efficiency. According to Moody, there are several factors that contribute to your car’s MPGs, especially the fuel type. For instance, diesel-powered cars get better MPGs on the highway, while electric cars are the least fuel efficient on the highway. Generally, hybrid cars are more efficient with city driving because, under those conditions, they use electric power over gas or in conjunction with the gasoline engine. “Efficient gasoline-only cars are a good compromise,” notes Moody, “but like diesel-powered cars, tend to get better fuel economy on the highway.” Another consideration is the size and shape of the vehicle, which can affect the amount of energy it needs to function.
4. Maintain Regular Service
MSN Autos notes that a regularly serviced car will be in better shape and, therefore, will use fuel better. For instance, parts like the fuel and air filter should be checked often to ensure that they’re clean and free of debris, and you should check your tires to ensure that they’re not low on air, which can also hamper fuel efficiency. MSN says that when your tires are inflated at the recommended maximum pressure, your gas mileage can improve by as much as six percent.
Moody points out that the three big service issues that hinder fuel efficiency are a dirty air filter, infrequent oil changes and low tire pressure. Of those, a clogged air filter will likely harm fuel economy the most. Either way, regular service is an important part of keeping a car in the optimum fuel-economy range.
5. Clear Out Your Trunk
Trunks can easily become a closet on wheels. Between your kids’ sports equipment and those bags you keep meaning to drop off at Goodwill, things can really add up—and when they do, they’ll take away from your car’s fuel efficiency. More weight in your car means that your car has to work harder to move, which requires more gas, notes HowStuffWorks.com. To make your car the most fuel efficient it can be, check your trunk to see if there are things you can remove.
6. Use Car Apps
When it comes to using technology to help get the most out of your gas tank, mobile applications are a simple and useful tool. Business Insider compiled a list of 15 apps they say will save you money at the gas pump. They highlight apps such as Gas Buddy, which allows you to scan the prices at local gas stations, and Car Care, which allows you to calculate the fuel economy of any car and provides drivers with important maintenance alerts.
7. Trade Up
When it comes to fuel efficiency, new vehicles have come a long way. In fact, according to the Washington Post, cars in the U.S. are more fuel-efficient now than they’ve ever been. From sizing down to choosing a gas-electric hybrid model, you’ll have plenty of green options if you trade your old car for a new one. If you’re unsure or you have questions, talk to your local dealer to find out which vehicle will best suit your needs.
Have you discovered tips to make your drive more fuel-efficient? Share with us in the comments below!