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A Greener Charlottesville: Greener Driving

By: Myles Henderson Email
By: Myles Henderson Email

These days we are all looking to get better fuel economy and save money on gas, but it may be easier than you think. Driving smarter and with a little preparation is all it takes to drive greener and save you money at the pump. Not to mention, help you get more life out of your car.

The better your car runs, the better gas mileage. Getting a regular tune up can help you gain mpg's. Paul Jaderborg from Settle Tire says, "The older an oil gets the less ability it has to lubricate the internal engine parts. Therefore it creates more friction." And more friction equals more work for your engine.

In addition to clean oil a clean air filter can also help. "If your living on dirt roads your going to change it a lot more frequently than someone who is driving in a city area with not as much dust." says Kevin Jones of Battlefield Ford Jeep.

Keep your tires properly inflated. For every 3 pounds below the recommended pressure, fuel economy goes down by 1%. Look on the sidewall of the tire for the recommended pressure. Jaderborg says, "Not only will you save tire life by having the tire set at the manufacturer's recommendation but you will also gain fuel mileage because less drag means better fuel economy."

Lose the junk in the trunk. The more weight in your car the harder it has to work to accelerate and to stop. Carrying an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1%.

The biggest improvements in fuel economy can be made by changing driving habits. Avoid aggressive driving like quick acceleration and think ahead to anticipate stops. Jaderborg says, "I drive normally 5 miles per hour under the speed limit and my car gets better fuel economy because of it. I may get there 5 minutes later but i also have more fuel in my tank when I arrive."

Changing driving habits is a tough change to make but can really help. One second of high-powered driving can produce about the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as 30 minutes of normal driving.

Greener Driving Tips:
Avoid aggressive driving
Think ahead to anticipate stops
Plan your trip to avoid rush hour and combine trips when possible
Park in the shade or in a garage if possible to keep your car cool.
Lose the junk in the trunk
Try using the vents and opening windows instead of AC
Keep tires properly inflated to pressure recommendations on tires
Get a tune-up and change your oil and air filter regularly


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