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Ten Simple Ways to Save Gas Money and Help Reduce Air Pollution
Air pollution in this region tends to be highest during the summer months. While you’re out and about this summer, please remember that by using less gasoline, you’ll not only spend less money, but you’ll also help keep air pollution at bay. Below are some easy ways to save gas money while saving the air:
1. Just slow down. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying about 26 cents more per gallon of gas.
2. Ease up on the gas and brake pedals. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and excessive braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent at lower speeds. On average, aggressive drivers waste $1.23 out of every gallon on the highway and $0.19 per gallon on city streets.
3. Avoid using drive-thru lanes. Idling a vehicle’s engine for more than 30 seconds at restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and so on uses more gas than turning off your engine and re-starting it. Idling can use a fourth to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. For every minute you sit in your car with the engine running, you could waste 1 to 3 cents with the AC off and 2 to 4 cents with the AC on.
4. Keep the junk out of your trunk. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle reduces fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent or 4 to 7 cents. (Smaller cars are affected more by excess weight.)
5. Don’t load your car rack. If you must use your vehicle to haul items, it’s better to put them inside than on a roof rack. Due to aerodynamic drag, a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5 percent, and cost you about 19 cents more per gallon.
6. Combine errands into one trip. Several single, short trips taken with a cold engine can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
7. Close your windows at higher speeds, and turn on the air conditioning if you’re hot. Unless you are driving under 35 mph, using the AC uses less fuel then than opening your windows, due to aerodynamic drag.
8. Avoid traffic congestion. Your miles per hour (mph) is 0 when your vehicle is stopped in heavy traffic, wasting anywhere from 23 to 47 cents in fuel every 15 minutes, depending on engine size and AC use. To the extent possible, don’t drive during peak rush hours and avoid heavy traffic areas caused by construction or special events.
9. Share the ride. When you ride with just one other person who lives nearby, half the amount of gas otherwise used is saved. Between the two of you, that’s like saving $1.86 on a gallon of gas that costs $3.72. You may find a carpool partner at www.Nuride.com.
10. Walk or bike for trips of a mile or less. According to a Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, 25 percent of all trips are made within a mile of one’s home. Why not walk or ride a bike? It costs nothing and is great exercise.
This list was compiled by AACOG’s Commute Solutions staff, using the sources from the U.S. Department of Energy at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml and http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/transportation.cfm. Calculations of gas money spent are based on an assumed fuel cost of $3.72 per gallon using conventional (e.g., not hybrid nor electric) vehicles. For more information or questions, please contact Annette Prosterman, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (210) 362-5213.