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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

7 Simple Ways to Practice Eco-Friendly Driving

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average US household spends around $2,700 a year on gasoline. And that’s only if the gas prices stay where they are now and don't rise.

Making your car as eco-friendly as possible makes sense both for your pocketbook and for the environment. Not only does driving more fuel-efficiently often save you gas money, but you’ll also be doing some good for the planet. Check out these simple, easy-to-begin strategies that you can use to make your car even more eco-friendly.

drive eco-friendly
Image by Split Shire.

Drive with a Feather Foot

According to Popular Mechanics, one of the best ways to improve your gas mileage is by changing the way you drive. Basically, drive smoothly, lower your speed and avoid those “jack rabbit starts.”

Check Air Pressure

The US Department of Energy states that keeping your tires inflated to the manufacturer's suggested levels can increase your gas mileage as much as 3.3 percent. For example, if your tire pressure drops by just one psi, you'll lose 0.4 percent on your gas mileage. To find the ideal pressure for your vehicle, consult your driver's manual or the sticker inside your driver's door.

Upgrade to a More Fuel Efficient Engine

Look into upgrading to a more fuel efficient engine for your vehicle. For example, eco-friendly sports car engines can help traditional sports cars gain better mileage without losing performance. Depending on the kind of car that you own, similar options may be available for your make and model.

Add an App

Simply being more aware of your driving habits can impact how you drive and help you change bad driving habits. Adding an app such as Automatic will provide you with a report of your weekly driving habits and offer suggestions for changes you can make to improve eco-friendliness. Just install the app, and when your phone is plugged into the data port in your car it will track different aspects of your travel habits.

Make Maintenance a Habit

The US Department of Energy also points to regular maintenance as an indicator of how many miles per gallon your car might get. Make repairs quickly and get tune-ups on schedule. The Department of Energy mentions that an oxygen sensor that needs repaired can impact your fuel efficiency by 40 percent, and more minor things like an out-of-tune engine can cost you 4 percent in fuel efficiency.

Plan Errands in a Circuit

One simple way to save fuel is to reduce the amount of actual travel you’re doing. When running errands, complete as many tasks as possible in one trip. Look at the places you need to drive to ahead of time and plan your route in a circuit. By planning this way you’re not backtracking and wasting miles driving through the same areas. While this may not always be convenient, you can overcome issues like keeping items refrigerated by planning ahead and taking along a cooler with ice.

Carpool When You Can

Do you see your best friend at the grocery store every Saturday when you go? Make a mundane task into a fun outing and ride together, taking turns driving Not only will you save fuel and the environment, but you’ll spend some quality time with your best friend. Look into options for carpools to and from work, as well.

Some outlying suburbs have programs where you can park your car and ride the bus into the city. See what is available where you live and how much you can save in the course of a year. While you may not save a lot of money after paying for bus fare, you’ll be saving the environment for future generations and that is worth more than cash.

Making small changes now will pay off big in the long run. Start using these tips today and you’ll be on the road to getting the best gas mileage possible.

Kayla Matthews is a health and wellness blogger who loves jogging, yoga and hiking. Follow Kayla on Google+ and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.