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    Driving for the Environments Sake

A little prevention goes along way to making our environment pollution free.

Rich Diegle
Automotive Technical Editor

What’s your reason to conserve gasoline? Is it because scientists speculate global warming is partially due to the burning of fossil fuels? The ever-increasing presence of smog motivates you to operate your vehicle less frequently? Or, is it because gas prices have escalated to all-time highs?

Whatever the reason, most of us want to do our part to reduce pollution and conserve fuel. Here is a 20-point checklist of environmentally sound, fuel-efficient practices that really work:

  1. Use the right gasoline and oil. Follow the manufacturer’s octane and viscosity recommendations.
  2. Follow the maintenance schedules for your vehicle. Ask your shop what type of schedules they use and who is the source so you can verify that they are using OE (manufacturer) information. Make sure all manufacturer’s recommendations are performed correctly and on schedule.
  3. Have the vehicle aligned regularly. Periodic wheel alignments can help improve fuel economy up to 10 percent, and scuffed off rubber is considered an airborne pollutant.
  4. Repair oil leaks as soon as possible. Oil leaking on the ground may be washed into creeks and rivers by rainwater, contaminating the water system.
  5. Have your emission control devises checked regularly. Don’t ignore the Check Engine Light. It is the vehicle’s way to communicate a potential problem in the computer-controlled emissions systems.
  6. Inspect hoses, belts and wiring.
  7. Service your engine promptly when warning lights appear.
  8. Keep tires inflated to the maximum recommended pressure to improve gas mileage by as much as 6 percent. Low tire pressure prematurely wears tires and burns excessive fuel.
  9. Clean out that trunk and back cargo area. Extra weight decreases gas mileage. Removing 200 pounds of unnecessary weight shaves one mile per gallon off your fuel mileage.
  10. Limit warm-ups to 60 seconds.
  11. Minimize idling when possible. Idling for long periods uses more fuel than turning the engine off and then restarting.
  12. Car-pool whenever possible or practical.
  13. Obey posted speed limits.
  14. Use cruise control to maintain a steady speed when possible.
  15. Keep windows shut at high speeds.
  16. Avoid drive-through lines when possible.
  17. Minimize air conditioning use.
  18. Don’t speed up only to have to brake quickly. Accelerating gently and steadily could net you as much as a 20 percent gain in fuel economy compared with what you’d get with an aggressive driving style.
  19. Plan and combine your trips.
  20. And the obvious; use other means of transportation.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or professional advice.