Mother Earth Living

Control Your Cruising

Improve gas mileage and save money on fuel with these tips.
By Gina Souders
July 2008 Web
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Gas prices don’t appear to be going down in price anytime soon, so instead of complaining about it, do the best you can. Don’t become a hermit who is unwilling to go anywhere because of the rising costs. Drive efficiently by following these dos and don’ts recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.

-Do remove unnecessary items from your car. Excess weight can reduce gas mileage by 2 percent for every 100 pounds added.

-Don’t take a lead foot to the gas pedal. Aggressive driving can raise gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town.

-Do use cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed saves on gas mileage an estimated 14 percent, according to Edmunds Inc. 

-Don’t idle. Typically, cars with larger engines waste more gas idling than cars with smaller engines.

-Do use overdrive gearing. This can save on gas and reduce engine wear.

-Don’t neglect clogged air filters. Replacing these keeps impurities from causing harm to the inside of your engine and can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

-Do use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil for your car. This can improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent.

-Don’t neglect the tires. Keeping tires inflated at the correct pressure can improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent.

-Do carpool whenever possible. Join a ride share program or form a carpool with friends from work. But remember, carpooling isn’t limited to work commutes. Try saving on gas by doing similar errands, such as grocery shopping, with a neighbor.

More about green driving

• Editor-in-Chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence knows what it's like to feel guilty about her car.

• Car sharing is becoming a more common trend. Get in on the savings!

• Separate fact from fiction about turning off that ignition.

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