Earth Day: Celebrating eco-friendly cars & driving habits

 

Whether it be recycling, conservation, or limiting air pollution, Earth Day celebrates our planet and reminds us to treat it with care.

Although this celebration only comes once a year, we can contribute to the betterment of our climate in our everyday lives. Emissions created by the burning of gasoline in your car contribute to the global climate issues we are experiencing today.

In order to contribute to the Earth Day cause, here are some tips on how to “drive green” today, on Earth Day, and beyond.

Vehicle maintenance

  • Routine vehicle maintenance can lower your gas consumption. Simple fixes for brakes and spark plugs as well as fluid checks “can help improve your mileage by as much as 40 per cent” according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Tip: The month of April celebrates National Car Care Month, so cities all over the United States host events to promote car care. For the month of April, I can get a maintenance check for free, right outside of Austin! Visit the Car Care Council’s Be Car Care Aware campaign website to see if there is an event near you.

Conscientious driving

  • In order to help the environment, try to be a conscientious driver. Heavy acceleration or braking while driving consumes a large amount of your car’s gas. If you practice gradual acceleration and slow braking, you can contribute not only to a better earth, but safer roads.
  • Tip: When on longer trips or highways, using cruise control can limit your acceleration and braking, and in turn preserve gas.

Air conditioning

  • Although air conditioning may often seem like a necessity, try to minimize your use of AC. In order to power the car’s air conditioning, a generous amount of gas is required.
  • Tip: Turn it off, and open up your windows for some fresh air!

Idling

  • To improve fuel economy, minimize idling.
  • Tip: If you are going to stop for a long period of time, put your car in park mode. Although you aren’t moving, your car is still consuming gas.

Limit cargo weight

  • Try to limit the amount of weight you are carrying in the trunk of your car. The more items you have weighing down the back of your car, the more drag you will experience. This drag leads to greater gas consumption.
  • Tip: For road trips, try putting luggage and other travel items in the middle and front sections where space allows.

If you are shopping for fuel-efficient vehicles, here are some additional tips on different types of cars to consider.

Hybrid and electric vehicles

As many people know, hybrid and electric vehicles both have some environmental benefits. For those of you who don’t know, hybrid vehicles use both gasoline engines and electric motors for power, along with certain features to limit overall gasoline exhaustion. Electric vehicles have motors powered by rechargeable batteries that use electricity, essentially limiting gas usage to nothing.

Fuel economy

Although you may think the smaller the car is, the better the fuel economy rate will be, some large SUVs and trucks are very fuel-efficient. Midsized vehicles can be economical too. Recent Consumer Report studies have found that some midsized cars actually have better gas mileage than certain smaller, compact cars.

In order to get the most fuel-efficient car, do your research beforehand. See what kind of gas mileage different types of cars have. Use RoadLoans’ fuel savings calculator to compare the miles per gallon of your next potential car to your current vehicle, and estimate what you’ll save on gas money.

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