Green Your Ride – Steps to a more Fuel Efficient You in 2017

Experts

Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment
Senior Communications Associate, Energy Policy

By Jason Kuruvilla on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Want to make a resolution this New Year that saves money and helps the environment? Improving vehicle fuel efficiency can help you avoid time at the gas station and keep more money in your pocket. Below are several ideas, ranging from small to big steps, you can take to reduce fuel consumption:

Quick Fixes:

5 easy ways to make your car as efficient as possible:engine-tune-up

  • Reduce Unnecessary Drag – cargo and bike racks block air and cause engines to work harder, significantly reducing fuel economy.
  • Keep your engine properly tuned – carbon build-up in engine parts can reduce efficiency. Regularly tuned engines maximizes power and enhances fuel economy.
  • Remove unnecessary and heavy items from your car – added weight reduces fuel efficiency, so remove items that don’t need to be in the car.
  • Use cruise control on long trips – steady driving uses less fuel
  • Slow down and avoid hard acceleration – lead foot driving burns way more gas. Smooth acceleration and staying close to the speed limit will keep fuel use to a minimum.

Conscious Lifestyle Changes:

5648324560_ea9a6d0fdd_zIf you want to really make a dent in your annual fuel use, consider alternate transportation options or even going car-free. Improved bike and pedestrian infrastructure, along with new technologies and services, make this option more accessible than you might realize:

  • Bike more – a number of cities now offer affordable bike sharing options, along with improved bike safety features with new bike lanes and public awareness campaigns to encourage drivers to be more attentive to riders sharing the road.
  • Take advantage of public transit – depending on where you live, extensive bus and train routes make car-free lifestyles a realistic and affordable option for many people
  • Car-sharing services – when biking or transit won’t suffice, consider short-term vehicle rental services or ride-hailing apps to fill the gap.

(Check out this resource from lifewire on how to use Google Maps to take advantage of all the above ideas!)

  • Combine trips and consider carpooling– reduce overall traffic congestion and your personal mileage by joining a carpooling program in your neighborhood. Bonus: Meet some new people and/or get some reading/podcasting time! A number of websites and apps are available for local communities – find one specific to your area.

Be Impactful:

You can really improve fuel economy by cutting out fuel altogether and help spread the word!

  • nissan_leaf_001Consider fuel economy in you next vehicle purchaseLet dealers know you want more fuel efficient options; test drive one of the several hybrid or electric vehicles on the market today (you might be surprised at how easy they can fit your lifestyle).
  • Buy an Electric Vehicle – EVs can fit into most lifestyles with new electric vehicles offering 100+ mile range, and several offering 200+ mile range. New charging infrastructure are making road trips accessible as well.
  • Let your neighbors check out your fuel-efficient ride – Got a really efficient car, hybrid  or electric vehicle? Show it off! Invite friends and neighbors over to check out the car and how much you’ve saved by owning it.

Tell Automakers and Lawmakers to Improve Fuel Economy!

To make large-scale changes in reducing fuel consumption, and the harmful emissions that go along with it, we need automakers and lawmakers to support industry-wide fuel efficiency improvements. Here’s how you can help. Below are a few things you can do to show your support for improving fuel efficiency:

  • Contact your representatives Let them know you support continuing the progress we’ve made on fuel economy standards and you want to see more fuel efficient options at your local dealership.
  • Spread the WordTell us your story about why fuel efficiency matters to you. Share your support on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #cleanercars. You can even Instagram a picture with your fuel efficient vehicle!  
  • Participate in engagement activities – make your voice heard by support petitions, online actions, tweeting at automakers and policymakers, writing letters to your local papers and a host of other activities to make it know you want cleaner cars.

Here’s to a new year that’s cleaner, greener and financially-healthier!

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