- You can cut the pollution your car emits and your annual use of gasoline by a quick 15% by simply keeping your car tuned and the tires properly inflated. (Check them once a month.) Significant additional fuel savings are easy to get: cover pickup beds, take unused roof racks off.
- Use 4/40 air conditioning (four windows down at speeds below 40). Above 40, your air conditioning is more fuel-efficient. Fifty-five mph speed limits, though they may seem pokey now in some areas, are the most fuel-efficient and the safest (20% fewer fatalities).
- New cars lose 20% of their value as theyre driven off the lot, 30% to 40% by the end of two years. Why not buy a well-maintained two-year-old car and take advantage of this situation? If you really miss that new car smell, buy a new car scent air freshener for under a buck (were not making this up!).
- Make fuel efficiency and reliability your top priorities in choosing a car, not status and color. How often will you use that four-wheel-drive or need a minivan that seats eight? Enough to double your car payments and fuel bills?
- Congestion relief: make an effort to find at least one other person to car pool with, at least once a week. Commuting in a van pool (six people or more) is ideal: it can reduce your contribution to air pollution by as much as 85%.
- If youre a careful, defensive driver, consider a motor scooter for errands and even commuting--saves money and parking hassles.
- Learn to do simple maintenance and repairs on your vehicle yourself, or trade services (barter) with a friend who can.
- Get a bicycle and ride it at least one day a week. Save money, get in better shape, and in traffic-clogged cities, you just may get there faster. (Next time youre sitting in gridlock, see how many bikes zip past you.)
- Sell your second (and third, if applicable) vehicle, and only gas, repair, maintain, insure and otherwise pay for one.
- The average person could save $6,000 a year by not owning a car at all. Use alternative transportation, and rent vehicles for weekend fun and shopping, when car rental rates are low.