For neighbors and visitors who must drive or simply enjoy driving, the City of Fort Lauderdale is focused on supporting clean driving experiences. We are expanding our network of electric vehicle charging stations,implementing green upgrades to City-owned parking lots and meters, and offering opportunities for neighbors to utilize technology to drive "smarter."
Within our operations, we are also making changes. We are converting segments of our own fleet to alternative fuels, implementing policies on routes and idling, and negotiating with vendors to encourage their use of green fleets.
On the road or in the parking lot, there are ways to reduce energy consumption and drive sustainably.
Take the First Steps: Try Eco-Driving
There are actually ways to adjust your driving so that you improve your gas mileage. Eco-driving is based on improved vehicle technology that allows drivers to maximize fuel power, which results in lower emissions, lower operating costs and increased safety. Try these eco-driving tips the next time you are behind the wheel.
Plan your route. Use a hand-held or in vehicle GPS which is updated via satellite. (Most smart phones have one for free.) Using the map app, you can get updated traffic information. If you prefer, listen to TV or radio before your morning and afternoon commutes, and try to avoid heavily congested routes. If you are making multiple stops, order them in such a way as to avoid repeating parts of your route. This minimizes the total number of miles that you drive.
Go easy on the pedals. Apply pressure to the gas and brake gently and you can improve miles per gallon by 33 percent. Try to keep your speed even and with the flow of traffic around you. Use cruise control at higher speeds to lower fuel use by as much as seven percent.
Anticipate stops and roll in. Looking into the future is a safe driving technique, but it can also save you money. Give yourself plenty of time to stop and coast in. If you've timed things correctly, traffic will begin to move just as you approach. It takes far less fuel to accelerate from a coast of five miles per hour than it does from a full stop. (However, lease remember to come to a complete stop at red signals, stop signs, and where railway crossings, school signals and crosswalks indicate.) In the same way, you should keep enough distance between you and the driver in front of you so that you control your driving behavior and don't needlessly stop.
Don't idle. Engine idling wastes fuel and pollutes. Turn your vehicle off when you are parked. On the road, if your vehicle comes with an eco-drive engine shut-off feature, please use it. If not, turn your engine off if you will be idle for more than five minutes, such as in a carpool line, at a long railway crossing, or when encountering a full traffic stop. The same rule applies when you first enter your vehicle. No need to warm up today's engines, especially in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Just get in and go.
Feel the wind in your hair...at least in the beginning of your ride. Cars in our area heat up pretty quickly even in our winter months. When you first enter your vehicle, roll down the windows and let the built up heat escape. When the interior is sufficiently equal to the outside temperature, then you can switch on the A/C. Until then, you would be overworking the unit and burning through fuel unnecessarily. In fact, try not to assume that you need the A/C at all. Once you get going, try letting our balmy ocean breezes do the cooling. If you do turn on the vehicle air conditioner, be sure to use the "recycled air" setting so that your A/C is not constantly trying to cool incoming hot air.
Maintain your car. It seems like an unrelated piece of advice, but car maintenance including properly inflating tires, changing oil regularly, adhering to service schedules, and following up on recalls will keep your car running efficiently, will minimize its impact on the environment and will cost you less in the long run.
For more tips, see Green Your Vehicle Routine.