When it comes to your carbon footprint, are you a Cinderella or a Bigfoot? The great thing about becoming a more environmentally conscious driver is that you can usually save money, through improved fuel economy and other cost reductions. Here are a dozen green driving tips, starting with your tires:
#1 – Keep the Pressure On. The less fuel you use, the better for air quality and your wallet. Keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure and improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3%.* At current gas prices, that’s a dime per gallon.
#2 – Fill ‘er Up...with Nitrogen. Nitrogen inflation can help you get more miles between tire fills. Nitrogen molecules escape more slowly through your tire walls than oxygen molecules in mixed air. Pure nitrogen also helps preserve your tire rims from corrosion. For more information, talk to the experts at Tire Barn.
#3 – Roll with It. Many tire manufacturers have developed a line of green tires, including Assurance Fuel Max tires by Goodyear and Energy Saver tires by Michelin, all in stock at Tire Barn. The tires are engineered with a lower rolling resistance. Less energy is wasted overcoming the tendency for the tires to squash as they roll, which translates into better fuel economy. Tradeoffs include a harder feel and more tire noise.
#4 – Become More Sensitive. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve your fuel economy by as much as 40%.* This device helps regulate the important air-fuel ratio. Over time, the sensor’s sensitivity erodes. After 50,000 miles it often needs replacement. A visit to your mechanic will ensure that your vehicle runs at peak efficiency.
#5 – Get a Breath of Fresh Air...for Your Car. Many car owners are good about changing the oil and checking the air in their tires, but forget that their vehicle has other needs. Like air. A dirty air filter can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 10%. It’s like running with a pinched nose. So, when you change the oil and oil filter, don’t forget the air filter.
#6 Don’t Top Off Your Gas Tank. This is a bad habit. It costs you money and causes air pollution. (By “topping off,” we mean adding a tenth of a gallon or more past the point when the gas pump nozzle automatically shuts off. For example, to put in “the last drop” or round off to the nearest dollar.) Topping off neutralizes your vehicle’s fuel vapor recovery canister. Toxic gas vapors have no place to go but into the atmosphere. Picture dollar bills floating away.
#7 - Tighten Your Gas Cap. According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, a loose cap can cause you to lose up to 30 gallons of gasoline per year into thin air.** So click it or replace it to save up to $100 or more annually. Check the instructions on your gas cap or in your owner’s manual to ensure the proper seal. In some case, a loose cap will trigger the check engine light or a check gas cap message on your dash.
#8 – Trust the Check Engine Light. Because dashboard warning lights can mean anything from a loose gas cap to major engine trouble, many car owners ignore them. Don’t. And not just to avoid a seized engine. You could be wasting fuel and exceeding auto emissions standards that in the long run cost you more money.
#9 – Store the Car Top Rack. Do you carry a bike, kayak, canoe, or skis on top of your car? To reduce wind resistance—and improve gas mileage—take the carry rack off your car when you’re not using it.
#10 – Recycle Your Oil. Used motor oil is a leading cause of pollution in our lakes, streams and rivers. One quart of oil can contaminate one million gallons of water.*** Because oil doesn’t wear out—just gets dirty—it’s relatively easy to clean, recycle and reuse. Many auto service centers recycle used oil, for free or for a nominal fee.
#11 – Fix the Leak in Your Air Conditioner. The choice is yours. Keep filling your car air conditioner with expensive refrigerant. Or, get the leaks fixed. Not only will you stop your money seeping out into the atmosphere, with older cars you can prevent the release of obsolete ozone-depleting refrigerants.
#12 – Take a Slow Ride, Take It Easy. You probably have come across this tip, but it bears repeating. Stick to the speed limit, make gradual starts and stops, and improve your gas mileage by up to 33% on the highway, 5% in town.*
And, if you’re going to drive green, let’s make it a baker’s dozen...
#13 – Join Forces. Park and ride, carpooling, ridesharing and public transportation save you money on gas and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle (not to mention you). At the same time these strategies cut fuel consumption and reduce auto emissions.
Take care of the planet, save serious money on your car and make your family and friends green with envy. Request an appointment online at Tire Barn today!