If you haven’t traded in your car with the governments cash for clunkers program and you don’t foresee yourself buying an electric car in the near future, there are still some things you can do to make your car run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
1. Use your cruise control whenever possible. In town this may not be feasible, but on the highway if you maintain a steady speed (less breaking and accelerations) your car will use less fuel. Avoid circling parking lots and rush hour traffic will also decrease your breaking and acceleration.
2. Don’t leave your car idling. Cars today don’t need to be warmed up before you drive. If you gently drive your vehicle until it has warmed up, your car will be running for a shorter period of time. If you’re sitting at a drive through, or just running in to the market to get something, always turn your engine off.
3. Use the highest gear possible for your speed. A higher gear means better fuel efficiency.
4. Use air conditioning as little as possible. Opening a window is often enough to cool down your car. On the highway however, the extra drag caused by having a window open will increase fuel consumption, so your probably better off using the a/c.
5. Don’t carry stuff you don’t need. The extra weight on the car and extra drag caused by roof racks will increase your gas mileage. Even snow on the car can increase your weight and drag.
6. Use your garage if you have one. (I could never understand why someone would have a garage and not use it.) The car will need less heating in the winter and less cooling in the summer. It’s more convenient for you and better for your car.
7. Keep your engine tuned and your tires inflated. A clean air filter and the right oil all contribute to better fuel economy. Take winter tires off when driving in good conditions they significantly increase fuel consumption.
8. Buy gasoline during coolest time of day – early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities.
I guess the best thing to do would be to cut down on your driving. Car pooling and planning your errands when your already out is a good way of reducing fuel emissions and saving yourself some money.