Eco-Driving: How to Save Fuel and Reduce Emissions this Summer

After a long, cold winter summer has finally reached mid-Michigan. In the upcoming months, many Michigan motorists will hit the highways to travel to their favorite vacation spots. Current gas prices are over a dollar higher than this time last year, so it makes sense to make every drop count. By adjusting your driving habits, you can reduce your fuel expenses and emissions during this busy travel season. How does your driving rank? See how much CO2 you’re emitting. Below are ten tips to help you become a better eco-driver.
1. Enjoy the scenery
mirror Vehicles get their best fuel economy when cruising at steady speeds between 40-60 mph. According to the U.S. EPA, every five mph above 60 mph is equivalent to paying $0.24 more per gallon. Use cruise control when possible to avoid your speed from creeping up.
2. Plan your route and errands in advance
smart phone Choose longer routes with fewer stops and level roads. Idling in traffic and frequent stopping wastes fuel. Consolidating errands will reduce your vehicle miles traveled, saving you fuel and time.
3. Be a smooth (vehicle) operator
brake pedal Accelerating and braking rapidly wastes fuel and puts avoidable wear and tear on your vehicle. Anticipate traffic conditions, coast to stop lights and stay a safe distance from other vehicles.
4. Use low rolling resistance tires and check the pressure
tire pressure According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, using low roll resistance tires can reduce the amount of fuel a vehicle uses. Keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by 3.3 percent. Tire pressure is sensitive to changes in temperature, so check them whenever there is a 10˚ shift in temperature.
5. Use air conditioning sparingly
car air conditioning Using air conditioning at speeds lower than 40 mph can significantly reduce fuel economy. Rolling down the windows at speeds higher than 40 mph will cause wind air resistance that requires extra fuel
6. Keep junk out of the trunk
trunk of car Aerodynamics is one of the largest influences on fuel economy. Deadweight in trunks and roof racks can increase drag and use more gas.
7. Tighten your gas cap
gas cap When the fuel cap is not fully tightened, gas can escape your tank through evaporation—causing as much as 30 gallons of gasoline to be lost annually.
8. Reduce idle time
red light An idling vehicle gets zero miles per gallon. If you are stopped for more than 10 seconds (except when in traffic), turn off your vehicle and restart it when you are ready to drive again.
9. Fuel when it’s cool
gasoline_hoses_ah__22177 Gas expands when temperature is high, giving you little less bang for buck. Fueling during these times also emits more evaporative hydrocarbons. Try fueling in the mornings or evenings when it’s cooler and gas has higher density.
10. Perform regular maintenance

oil change

Replacing clogged air filters, using the recommended motor oil and getting the occasional engine tune-up will ensure that your vehicle is operating at its highest efficiency.