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How to Be An Eco-Friendly Driver

It’s no secret that automobiles are a major culprit for Co2 emissions that contribute to global warming. And while we can’t magically change cars to be a boon for the environment, there are still measures you can take to make sure you’re practicing eco-friendly driving habits. Earth Day is coming up, so keep these tips in mind if you want to decrease your carbon footprint.

No idling (leaving the car on when you’re not moving).

An idling car gives off 80 percent more pollution that one that’s moving. If you’re going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds, go ahead and turn off the engine. Turning on and off the car is equal to idling for 10 seconds, so use the over 10 seconds rule as a benchmark for knowing when to kill the engine.

Turn off your car to avoid idling.
Turn off your car to avoid idling.

Keep your car in good shape.

Make sure you’re following your car’s recommended maintenance schedule, especially getting your tires checked. Under-inflated tires increase fuel consumption by 3 percent in addition to running the risk of blowing out on the road and causing an accident. Reduce the amount of fuel you’re using AND stay safe with healthy inflated tires. If you’re in the market for a new set, look for tires that offer improved mileage. Keeping your car maintained gives it a longer life and decreases the demand for new cars to be manufactured.

Take care of your car to reduce its impact on the environment.
Take care of your car to reduce its impact on the environment.

Lighten your load.

Get rid of extra weight in your vehicle by throwing out junk or moving things that don’t need to live in your car 24-7 to a better home. If you have a roof rack that’s not in use, take it off. This additional structure makes the car more aerodynamic, which forces it to burn more fuel when moving. Same goes for bike racks and overhead storage: Use it or lose it.

If you don't need it in your car, toss it! (Not out the window, of course.)
If you don’t need it in your car, toss it! (Not out the window, of course.)

Slow your roll.

Gas mileage declines rapidly above 60 mph, so you actually use an entire quarter less fuel at 50 mph than at 70. For every 5 mph over 60 mph, you are paying almost 10 cents more per gallon for gas. In addition to slowing down, you should avoid hard acceleration and heavy breaking. To counteract the last minute breaking between stoplights, try removing your foot from the gas earlier to ease into a lighter stop.

Slow down to save fuel.
Slow down to save fuel.

Be a smart traveler.

Plan your day to knock out multiple errands in the same trip, like dropping off your dog at daycare and then heading to the grocery store all at once. Also, try to make carpooling a regular habit: Reduce the amount of cars on the road and thin out the school parking lot crowd in the process.

Run your errands all at once.
Run your errands all at once.

Get a green car.

Choose cars with higher miles per gallon for better fuel efficiency. Models with low Co2 emissions (less than 100g/km) are exempt from vehicle tax while other cars make annual payments based off the amount emitted. By picking a more eco-friendly model, you will save money on gas and taxes! Here are a few of our top picks: Toyota Prius c, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF.

Show the earth some love by purchasing a green car.
Show the earth some love by purchasing a green car.

Turn off electronics.

Air conditioning and heated seats use a ton of power, so turning these off will help reduce fuel usage. Keep in mind that driving with the windows open creates drag (which increases fuel usage) so pick between this or AC when it’s hot outside!

If the windows are down, skip the AC.
If the windows are down, skip the AC

Try these tips to be a safer driver for both other passengers and Mother Earth. Happy Earth Day!

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