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Fuel Conservation Tips For Drivers

Trying to be more green with how we drive has a number of benefits that stretch beyond dollars and cents. As consumers out there try to come to terms with the Hybrid movement or get a feel for all-electric models like the Nissan Leaf or need further information regarding gas-electric combination vehicles like the Chevy Volt, saving trips to the pump isn’t necessarily tied down to fuel efficient cars as much as it applies to how we drive and what steps we take to make sure our car’s overall performance is up to par.

Granted, there’s a significant advantage for having a hybrid vehicle that gets on average around 40+ miles per gallon, but drivers with older model cars can still contribute to being green and reduce the amount of emissions into the atmosphere from simple car care tips.

Here are a few easy steps or reminders to do just that.

Stay On Top Of Your Car’s Maintenance

Achieving the maximum MPG for your vehicle and stretching trips to pump starts with making sure your vehicle’s working parts are as polished as can be. This means getting staying in line with oil changes and avoiding going too far over the “every 3,000 mile mark”, or with more modern vehicles, “every 5,000 mile mark”. The longer you wait to change your oil, the more risk you put on your engine’s performance. And as the engine’s performance wanes, so too does your fuel economy because your car’s having to make up for the lag by using more fuel than normal.

Same rules apply with a rusted-out tail pipe or muffler system as a whole. Basically, any blockage or intermittent struggles on your car is putting stress on the car’s performance, and at its worst, could be flushing out more harmful carbons via dirty oil burn-off.

Minimize Idling

The longer your car idles on the roadways, the more carbon dioxide is pumped out into the atmosphere and unnecessary fuel consumption at the same time. Depending on where your car’s positioned, whether it’s the drive-thru or rush hour traffic, try shifting the car into neutral if the stops are frequent and more than 10 seconds before inching forward. While this might be a nuisance for some drivers, every little bit helps. You could try turning off the car, but if you’re on a busy stretch of the highway, it can be a little troublesome having to constantly turn the car off and on between lanes. Still, it’s better than idling any day of the week.

Tire Quality and Air Pressure

If you’ve ever filled up your tires on your own, you’ll notice the tiny markings on the outside of the tire indicating what pounds per square inch (PSI) your tires should be. And making sure your tires are near (but not over) the recommended settings is crucial from both a performance and fuel consumption stance. The lower air pressure in a tire, the more stress put on the axles, which in turn puts added complications on the engine and fuel economy.

Even the condition of the tire can play a small role in how much gas the car consumes. If the treads are worn down to the point they are almost bald, the more hazardous it becomes to stop the car in a timely fashion. And where your brakes are concerned, it takes more squeeze on the pads to slow down, and the harder you squeeze down, the more gas is used up based on how you’re driving.

Be a Conservative Driver

This rule applies to drivers who have a case of the lead foot or become too aggressive with how quick they jump off the red light or don’t allow enough space to brake gradually instead of suddenly. If the needle on the speedometer is moving up and down erratically, it doesn’t bode well with fuel economy in the slightest.

Perfect example of this would be how fast a car is traveling. On average, if a car’s traveling above 55 mph, they are taking away 15% from their car’s fuel efficiency. Now I know that long stretches of highway driving can make this nearly impossible to do, but if you are serious about being a green driver, this is one area to get adjusted to. The road trip might be longer, but at the end of the day, you’re saving money and gas and providing a little more solace to the environment at the same time.


While the government has done its part by putting caps on MPG standards for cars built down the road and offering energy tax credits for adopters of electric/hybrid vehicles, there’s still a vast majority of drivers out there who own gas vehicles. Which is why drivers can work to be greener by changing how we drive and how well our cars are maintained. Every little ounce of effort can limit the amount of harmful emissions and keep the air around us cleaner for the future.

Author Bio: Kyle O’Brien is a freelance writer and contributes in the automotive industry on articles on local car dealerships to eco-friendly car care and is a consultant for Cable Dahmer Chevrolet.