Small changes in the way you drive can have a big impact in reducing fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions, no matter what type of car you drive or how old it is. And what's good for the environment also can be good for you at the gas pump. "The key to ecodriving is that anyone can do it, in any vehicle, and best of all, it's easy," said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Here are some best practices for green driving, also known as ecodriving:
Avoid rapid starts and stops. Gentle acceleration and braking can save you money
Keep on rolling. Stop-and-go can waste energy because it takes more gas to accelerate from a full-stop. Anticipate stops ahead and try to coast whenever possible. Slow-and-go beats stop-and-go.
Use air-conditioning at higher speeds. Air-conditioning can reduce mileage as much as 20 percent, but driving with the windows down can reduce fuel economy through aerodynamic drag. So, when driving at slower speeds (less than 40 mph), open those windows. At higher speeds close them and turn on the air conditioner. Also, use the "recycle inside air" option, instead of drawing hot air from outside to be cooled completely.
Avoid idling, even if you will be waiting at the curb for a short period.
Maintain optimum speed. Driving over 60 mph guzzles more fuel. Observing the speed limit can improve mileage by as much as 23 percent. Use cruise control on flat terrain. Driving at a steady speed also can help avoid red lights, keeping your vehicle moving more efficiently.
Plan trips to take the shortest route.
Use the highest gear possible. Your car starts in the lowest possible gear, for optimum power, which uses more fuel. Use overdrive gearing when possible, such as on the highway to reduce engine speed and save gas, engine wear and cut emissions.
For more green driving tips, visit www. ecodrivingusa.com.