Three friends out of and standing up on car in front of countryside and mountains.

What if there was a way to drive your vehicle that could not only meet your needs but also save the environment at the same time? This knowledge could reduce fuel consumption in your car by upwards of 20 percent, with an average significant long-term effect of about 7 percent under usual driving conditions. We can all agree that reducing the overall emissions of your vehicle is good for the environment, and it's worth mentioning reducing overall fuel consumption is excellent for your wallet too. But you don't have to buy a Prius or a Tesla to become a greener driver. By making a few changes to the way you drive, you can help to reduce emissions and do your part to save the planet.

Tire pressure and driving style

The very first thing you should do to apply these principles is to make sure that your tires are inflated to the pressure indicated in the manufacturer's recommendations. Typically, you can find the pressure indicated inside your door jam or behind the gas cap; if not, try the user manual or the side of the tire itself. The next tip applies only to those with a manual transmission, tiptronic, or paddle tiptronic DCT, in other words those who can control which gear they're in. Make certain that you're short-shifting your vehicle, and keep the gear in a ratio low enough to use less fuel, but still not low enough to lug the engine.

Idle time, weight, and aerodynamic efficiency

Next, when you're in traffic or have the car parked idly, make sure to turn the vehicle off. This will help you to consume much less fuel. If your vehicle has a stop-start system, ensure it's turned on via switch or console menu. Something to consider also is aerodynamic resistances and weight efficiency. Remove any unnecessary weight inside the car first. When possible, be sure to remove roof racks or bike carriers when not in use, as this will significantly increase fuel efficiency and reduce overall emissions.

Air conditioning

It's no secret that your vehicle's engine works harder when the air conditioning is turned on. In case you were wondering, this wasn't leading up to a suggestion to turn it off completely, at least not right away. However, since driving around with your windows open creates aerodynamic drag, modern cars are more fuel-efficient with climate control and less aerodynamic resistance. But just a few miles short of your destination, you get the best of both worlds if you turn the air conditioning unit off. The fans will continue to circulate cool air, but your engine doesn't have to work harder to run the compressor. So keep your windows rolled up and your AC blasting, then turn it off once you're near your destination. 

Eco-friendly tires

Something else to consider is choosing to get eco-friendly tires for your next set of road rubber. All of the big brand name tire companies are getting in on the effort to reduce emissions and overall waste product of automotive technology. The tires themselves are made of raw materials that are much more sustainable. Add that to the fact that they take less energy to move on the ground, and with their recyclable nature, switching to eco-friendly tires is one of the most sensible choices that a conscientious driver can make.

Regular maintenance

Finally, the last bit of advice is going back to some basics; always make sure that you're giving your vehicle the maintenance it requires. Failing to change air filters, for example, can prevent the engine from combusting in a perfect stoichiometric ratio, increasing emissions considerably. In addition, build-up can take place in the engine over time, further increasing emissions. So make sure to change oil, oil filters, and air filters.

On a final note, it's worth noting that modern cars are considerably better for the environment due to the strict standards current emissions laws place on them. So regardless of whether you follow even half of the recommendations outlined above, there should be an improvement in your emissions and fuel economy. Driving greener is one of the best things you can do to create a more sustainable tomorrow for your family, and the fragile pale rock we call our home. So please, drive safe, and drive sustainable.

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About The Author

Jennifer Madsen's picture

Jennifer Madsen is an experienced freelance writer with a background in health and wellness. When not working she loves to travel and especially enjoys lakeside and seaside locations.


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