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Week of 6.9.06

Action Steps: Tips on Conserving Fuel

How can I conserve fuel with my existing car?

Photo of gas pump
  • Observe the speed limit. Driving 65 mph rather than 75 mph increases gas mileage by about 10 percent.

  • Avoid using air-conditioning when possible. It can decrease fuel efficiency by as much as 12 percent in stop-and-go traffic.

  • Avoid extra weight. For each additional 100 pounds of weight, fuel economy decreases by 0.5 miles per gallon. Place luggage and cargo inside rather than on the roof or trunk of the vehicle to maintain an aerodynamic profile and minimize drag.

  • Avoid idling and turn off your engine when you're not driving. This avoids periods when you might otherwise be getting 0 miles to the gallon.

  • Combine errands, as much of the pollution generated by a vehicle occurs during cold starts, when the engine has been off for 90 minutes or longer.

  • Avoid rush hour if you can. So-called stop-and-go driving increases emissions.

How should I maintain my car to maximize fuel efficiency?

  • Try to get regular tune-ups to ensure that your filters and spark plugs are functioning properly to maximize engine performance.

  • Ensure that your tires are properly inflated. Gas mileage improves by around 3.3 percent when tires are inflated to the correct pressure.

How much is my car polluting?

Use one of the calculators below to find out how much pollution your auto activities are creating.

TravelMatters Individual Emissions Calculator
This calculator measures how much greenhouse gas you generate as a result of your daily transportation activity.

Environmental Protection Agency Calculator
The EPA's online calculator allows you to obtain an estimate of your household's greenhouse gas emissions, including those from your vehicle.

Where can I found out more about which cars are the most fuel efficient?

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy maintains a list of the Greenest Vehicles for 2006

A page devoted to purchasing an energy efficient car can be found at The Department of Energy

Sources: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Environmental Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy