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July 16, 2010

Fuel-Efficient Driving: Saving the Earth While Saving Money

4556451157_58f61c09d2 Although the growing popularity of hybrid cars and other fuel-efficient vehicles has helped the modern consumer reduce fuel costs, buying a new car isn’t an easy option for most. In order to save money and reduce pollution, there are several things we can do to keep our current cars working at optimal efficiency.

Keep Your Tires Happy
Tires that are properly inflated cause vehicles to run better. Think about how much energy it takes to play sports with a poorly inflated ball. The same goes for your tires. With the correct amount of air, the ball "bounces" just fine and your tires will use less energy on the road. Insufficient air means more friction, which causes the engine to work harder.

Invest in a tire gauge to ensure that you have the right amount of air for your tires. Your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual or the label in your doorjamb can tell you how much air you need to put in the tires.

If it’s time to get a new set of tires, consider purchasing low rolling resistance tires. These tires are harder and therefore do not experience as much friction as normal tires. According to Treehugger.com, low rolling resistance tires can get up to six percent better fuel economy.

Slow Down, Baby!4787361495_66b5ef5d6d
One of the best ways to cut fuel costs is to change the way you drive. Speeding is not only unsafe, but  decreases fuel efficiency by up to 33 percent. Why? Speeding up and braking hard causes the engine to work harder. Therefore, preserving momentum while driving is a key factor in using less fuel. Drive at a moderate rate of speed, accelerate gradually and let go of the gas pedal to slow before braking.

Don’t Overload
The heavier the car, the more energy, or fuel, is required to move it. This is why many SUVs and trucks are considered gas-guzzlers. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that gas mileage decreases two percent for every 100 pounds of extra weight in your car. So start cleaning out that trunk and avoid keeping unnecessary or heavy objects in your car.

Taking care of your vehicle can mean more than just better fuel economy. You’ll save even more money by taking the necessary steps to ensure that your vehicle is safe and in working order. Keeping tires properly inflated lengthens their lifespan. Driving slower prevents engines from overworking.

There are plenty of other ways to keep your car running efficiently. What are some of the things you do to save on gas costs and other vehicle expenses?

Alyse Business 2_2 Alyse Speyer
AskPatty Contributor

Alyse Speyer has been an independent Internet marketing consultant for the past four years. She has a wealth of experience in content creation and management, social media marketing, brand positioning, SEO, SEM, email marketing and web strategy. Clients include: The Cobalt Group, Online Marketing Summit, AskPatty, Sipe & Associates, LLC. Connect with Alyse via Facebook and LinkedIn.

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