Gasoline Green - Our Daily Green

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gasoline Green

Yesterday's LOW Impact Green addressed some of the easy greener choices we can make to lessen our environmental impact. Inspired by the No Impact movement, Our Daily Green hopes to inspire green couch potatoes to walk before they run. Or perhaps, more accurately, to the topic of today's post, drive more efficiently.

Giving up gas powered vehicles is a noble choice that we truly applaud. However, due to the design of many cities and suburban areas, it's not always feasible. For example, there are a limited number of errands within walking distance of our home, There is a (irony) gas station with a small convenience store, a dog washing facility, a small specialty grocery store and a hardware store. There are no sidewalks along the curving road, and the ditches are deep. Walking on the edge of the road is the only option (the gravel berm even makes bike riding risky). This is the case with many residential areas, especially in the suburbs, making driving a necessity. 

Rather than bemoan the lack of public transportation, bike lanes, sidewalks, Our Daily Green concedes that driving is the way most of the population moves around town.

However, there are several driving tips that use less gasoline. As gas prices go up, less gasoline use is not just environmentally friendly, but also bank account friendly.

  1. As tempting as it may be to let a car warm up and idle on cold mornings, 30 to 45 seconds of idling time is adequate for the engine. The rest of the time just wastes gasoline.
  2. That same time can be spent cleaning off snow and ice from the vehicle. Unremoved snow and ice causes tremendous wind resistance and can quickly add up to an additional 100 pounds, lessening fuel economy.
  3. Speaking of which, any unnecessary weight will decrease fuel economy. Keep your trunk empty, remove bike and ski racks when not being used.
  4. Do not use drive through services, where the car can idle for 10 minutes or more. Park the car and go inside the building for errands. 
  5. Use the cruise control feature, which automatically accelerates at the most efficient rates. 
  6. Coast whenever possible, such as on hills or when approaching a red light.  
  7. Make certain your tires are inflated to the maximum PSI. Under inflated tires cause higher fuel consumption. 
  8. When idling at a railroad crossing or long light, shift your car to neutral to allow the transmission to cool. 
  9. Travel the speed limit. When driving in the city, where most lights are timed to stay green based on the posted miles per hour. Any speed over 40 MPH forces your auto to compensate for wind resistance.
  10. Buy gasoline at the coolest hour of the day, when the gasoline is more dense and you'll get more fuel for your money.

Challenge yourself to see how long a tank of gasoline will last. Keep track of improvements and see how efficient you can become with your driving. Bigger steps include carpooling, choosing a more fuel efficient car, and yes, walking whenever possible.

Do you have any hints you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below to add to this discussion...

Thank you!
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