Earth Day has come and gone, but hopefully not the idea that every day is Earth Day. To keep us focused on our impact on the planet, May has been designated “Eco Driving Month.”So, what is Eco Driving?
Eco Driving is driving a vehicle in a way that reduces carbon emissions and maximizes fuel economy. Being an Eco-friendly driver doesn’t require getting a new hybrid or trading in your four wheels for a two-wheeled, foot-powered vehicle (although those are excellent options, too). You can be an eco-friendly driver with a few conscientious efforts.
Maintain Your Car
A well-maintained vehicle can get you the most bang for your buck at the pump. To squeeze out the most mpgs possible, make sure that:
• Your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread
• Your filters (fuel, oil and air) are cleaned (and follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule for replacing them)
• Properly tuned
We’ll go more into detail about how you can increase your mpgs in a few weeks…stay tuned.
Plan Your Trips
Your car isn’t the only one doing the work to make you an Eco Driver. What you do behind the wheel is just as important. And the simplest way to reduce your carbon emissions and maximize your fuel economy is to be smart about how and when you use your car.
Planning trips to combine errands/stops and minimize backtracking uses less fuel—not just because you’re driving fewer miles, but also because making several stops with a warm engine uses less fuel than several start-ups of a cold engine. Not to mention it’s a more efficient use of your time, so you have more of it to spare to do things you like to do, like catch up on Breaking Bad episodes.
Drive Safely and Steadily
After putting on your seat belt, the biggest factor in safe driving is speed—i.e., reducing it. And slowing down comes with eco benefits. Fuel efficiency drops over 60 mph, so speeding on the freeway amounts to paying five to ten cents more per gallon of gas. Slower driving, on the other hand, can extend stretches between fill-ups.
Maintaining a steady pace can also contribute to Eco Driving. Jack-rabbit starts from stoplights burn a lot of fuel as does alternating acceleration and deceleration during road trips (that includes gunning your engine to pass the “slow poke” in front of you). Slowly accelerating from a complete stop and using cruise control will help you achieve your desired speed and maintain fuel-efficiently. (Learning to accept people move at different speeds will help you control your road rage and the fuel wasting behaviors it elicits.)
Let Someone Else Take the Wheel
Eco Driving can be a group effort. When you take advantage of carpooling, ride sharing and/or public transportation, you compound your fuel-saving, carbon emission-reducing efforts with those of others. Think about it: instead of two people in two cars trying to minimize their fuel consumption and carbon emissions, you are two people in one car (or three or four people in one car…or dozens of people in a bus!), thereby completely eliminating one or more vehicles’ fuel consumption and exhaust from the equation.
For more about Eco Driving and how you can be part of the solution to reducing carbon emissions, check out EcoDrive.org and Driving Skills for Life. For car maintenance to help your car achieve maximum mpg potential, come see us. Quanz Advanced Auto Body is happy to be part of your Eco Driving team!