When you hear someone talk about biofriendly driving they aren’t just referring to lowering your emissions or saving money. Biofriendly driving is about doing what you can to lower the “footprint” you are leaving as a result of you driving in the first place.
Now, someone who drives to work is obviously going to emit more emissions than someone who rides their bike or car-pools to work. And, of course, someone who drives a hybrid is going to emit less emissions than a gas-guzzling co-worker. But what’s the difference in terms of environmental impact and are there specific driving tips that can help lower that impact?
1) First tip, before you buy a new vehicle, do a comparison. Take a look at key points including cost of the vehicle, MPG, cost of fuel, estimated fuel consumption (don’t forget to factor in savings if you use a good fuel additive), carbon footprint, EPA air pollution score and more.
Fueleconomy.gov has a great comparison tool where you can see all this information at a glance. Take a look at the difference between a 2010 Ford Fusion, a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and a 2010 Ford Fusion FFV (Flex-fuel vehicle).
2) Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving actually wastes gas. Driving sensibly can improve your fuel economy between 5-30% on average. It also helps lower the wear and tear on your brakes and tires. There is no reason to rapidly accelerate if you know you are going to have to slam on the brakes a moment later.
3) Follow the rules of the road. Speeding, running red lights, not paying attention to pedestrians, texting while driving, etc are all things that will adversely affect not just you but people around you. This simple tip can save time, gas, money and lives.
You don’t want to be a Mr. Wheeler…
4) I’ve said it many times before, but if you are going to drive please ensure you keep your vehicle properly maintained. Getting regular oil changes, rotating your tires and ensuring they are properly inflated, checking fluid levels, basic maintenance, etc. all help extend the life of your vehicle. Proper maintenance also cuts down on repair costs.
Using the correct oil can also help you save money and improve gas mileage. Did you know there are even “Energy Conserving” oils? But don’t be fooled, even though oils with that designation have passed tests showing the oil has the ability to conserve energy, the API states “…a particular vehicle operator may not experience a fuel savings as a result of using these oils.” Doesn’t say it won’t help, but you might want to check your owner’s manual.
5) When traveling long distances, try using your cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed can sometimes help save gas. Using your cruise control also can help keep your legs from getting sore on a long trip.
6) Drive less. It may sound like a funny way to drive, but driving less saves you money, gas and save on the harmful emissions your vehicle releases into the environment. I don’t mean you have to sit at home. Walk to your destinations. Ride your bike. Car-pool or ride-share. Take public transportation.
Try it….leave your vehicle at home one day a week and see what a difference it can make.
7) Tap into your GPS navigation. People who use their GPS to figure out where they are going ahead of time, typically spend less time on the road and less time looking for their intended destination. Saves time, money and frustration.
For those of you who are looking for more, you might want to check out a backseat smart driver:
Do you have any biofriendly driving tips that help you save? I’d love to hear them. Remember, drive safe and drive smart!