The cost of gasoline is consistently one of the biggest concerns for drivers, and one of the energy-related items average Americans are least able to affect. But a few simple tips could help you reduce pain at the pump and cut tailpipe emissions. energyNOW! has joined with the Alliance to Save Energy to produce a series of short energy efficiency videos. We’ve previously released a series of home energy efficiency tips, and this second set focuses on fuel efficiency. No matter how many miles you drive, you should be able to learn at least one new way to increase your car’s mileage.
To start, make sure to keep your tires properly inflated. This simple trick can increase your car’s efficiency by up to three percent, lengthen the life of your tires, and keep you safer on the road. But be careful to use the air pressure rating inside the driver’s door or in your owner’s manual, not the number on the tire itself.
The next most important tip is keeping your car maintained. Regular maintenance will extend your car’s life, prevent expensive maintenance, and can improve mileage by up to four percent. One key maintenance indicator is the Check Engine light. If it is on, your oxygen sensor could be failing, reducing mileage by up to 40 percent!
Even though car trunks, back seats, and roof racks may seem like great storage spaces for extra items, all that excessive clutter could weigh you down. For every 100 pounds of stuff stored in a vehicle, gas mileage is reduced by two percent. And, a loaded roof rack can cut fuel efficiency five percent.
Avoiding car accidents is enough reason to drive safely, but did you know taking care on the roads also reduces the amount of gasoline you burn? Speeding is a big culprit – every five miles per hour above 60 adds the equivalent cost of 24 cents per gallon of gas. Rapid acceleration and abrupt braking can decrease your mileage by as much as 30 percent at highway speeds, or five percent in city driving.
But the best way to reduce gasoline consumption is simply cutting your miles. Reducing the number of miles you drive by just five percent can save up to $90 per year at today’s gas prices. The best way to accomplish this is by using public transportation. If that’s not an option, you can also try combining several errands into one trip, carpooling with friends and work colleagues, or biking and walking.
Silvio Marcacci is Director of Outreach for energyNOW!, a weekly TV program that examines America’s energy challenges and what we’re doing about them. You can watch energyNOW! on Bloomberg Television Saturday at 5:30 PM or Sunday at 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM (all times Eastern) or always online at www.energynow.com. Local listing information is available at www.bloomberg.com/tv/channel-finder
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