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Green Your Vehicle Routine

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 Observe the following tips in order to start adopting or improving your sustainable vehicle habits!

Drive more efficiently 

  • Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.

  • Observe the speed limit. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph

  • Remove excess weight; avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

  • Avoid excessive idle, Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear.  Green Your Routine In Action Map, Get Involved tab, “Don’t Idle”: http://gis.fortlauderdale.gov/greenyourroutine/.

Keep your car in shape

  • Keep your engine properly tuned; fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

  •  Keep tires properly inflated, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver's side door jamb or the glove box and in your owner's manual. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire's sidewall.

  • Use the recommended grade of motor oil. You can improve your gas mileage by 1–2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1–2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1–1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Plan and combine trips

  • Commute and stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours if possible. Drive your most fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider telecommuting (working from home) if your employer permits it. Take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs. You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half and save wear on your car if you take turns driving with other commuters. Many urban areas allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes which are typically less congested, further improving your fuel economy.

  • Traveling: A roof rack or carrier provides additional cargo space and may allow you to meet your needs with a smaller car. However, a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5 percent. Reduce aerodynamic drag and improve your fuel economy by placing items inside the trunk whenever possible. Avoid carrying unneeded items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 lbs. in the trunk reduces a typical car's fuel economy by 1-2 percent.

Choose a more efficient vehicle

  • Thinking of buying a new vehicle? http://www.fueleconomy.gov has gas mileage estimates and more information for 1984-2014 model year cars.

  • Selecting which vehicle to purchase is the most important fuel economy decision you'll make.

  • The difference between a car that gets 20 MPG and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $813 per year (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.25).

  • That's $4,063 extra in fuel costs over five years!

  • Use the www.fueleconomy.gov Find and Compare Cars section to find the most fuel efficient vehicle that will meet your needs.

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