10 Not So Biofriendly Motorist Mistakes

Last year the average U.S household spent close to $5,500 on automobile expenses (gasoline, repairs, parking, tolls, etc.). Some cities averaged as high as $10,000 per household. With Americans confined to their vehicles for about 5% of their time, these aren’t exactly what you’d call biofriendly expenses.

Image by The Infamous Gdub

It’s surprising the number of motorists who aren’t aware of or don’t follow some of the basic driving tips that could save them time, money, gasoline, lower their vehicle’s emissions, etc.

Some people are smart and try to avoid those hefty expenses as much as they can by opting for public transportation. Did you know it has even been reported that using public transportation is better for your weight and overall health? It also is a good way to travel without having to deal with the frustration so often associated with traffic and road rage.

But if you don’t live or work in an area with a good public transportation system, then you will definitely want to make sure you make the most of your drive. Therefore, I suggest you try to avoid these 10 not so biofriendly motorist mistakes in order to help you get on your way:

1 – Leaving the vehicle idling: There is no reason to leave your vehicle idling (unless you are stuck in traffic of course). You don’t waste gas by turning your vehicle off and back on again. You will definitely lower your emissions though and more than likely save money rather than let it idle away.

2 – Ignoring regular maintenance: Regular maintenance on your vehicle is key. Keeping your vehicle maintained will help ensure it runs better, keep your engine clean and can also help lower harmful emissions. A properly maintained vehicle also tends to break down less thus saving you money on unexpected repair costs. A proven fuel additive is always a plus too…Green Plus®.

3 – Rapid starts and stops: Don’t race off as soon as the light turns green only to slam on your brakes for the next red light. Your fuel economy will be better with a gradual start/stop and you won’t put as much wear and tear on your tires, brakes, etc.

4 – Keeping lots of “stuff” in your vehicle: Unless you are going on a trip, why keep your vehicle filled with stuff you don’t need? All it does it load the vehicle down and cause the engine to work harder due to the added weight.

Image by tylertate

5 – Not checking tire pressure: Properly inflated tires also play a roll in fuel economy. Correctly inflated tires can reduce your fuel usage by up to 3-4%. Tip: most vehicles have a sticker on the door to let you know the proper tire pressure.

6 – Not planning ahead: Planning ahead and consolidating mutual trips saves in many ways. Also, if you know you are going to need to run errands, don’t do so during rush hour traffic.

7 – Speeding: Gas mileage usually starts decreasing when you get to around 60 mph. Figure it this way….”each 5mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas“. So, slow down.

Image via fueleconomy.gov

8 – Not taking advantage of GPS: I know many men (and some women) don’t like to ask for directions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your GPS. Taking advantage of your GPS is also a smart way to save gasoline, not to mention time. Plug in your destination and let your GPS help you with the fastest route as well as avoid delays and unnecessary idling.

9 – Ignoring or overusing your cruise control: Cruise control is a great thing, but if you don’t use it properly it isn’t going to help you when you drive. Cruise control is perfect for relatively flat terrain. It keeps your vehicle at a steady speed and maintains it. Using cruise control while traveling through the hills/mountains will cause you to speed up a lot faster than if you were stepping on the gas yourself.

10 – Keeping your windows down: This one is kind of a toss up in my book. Keeping your windows up helps make your vehicle more aerodynamic, but having your A/C on all the time can lower the air quality in your vehicle. So, I guess it’s a personal preference.

Image by Vagabond Shutterbug

Now, I’m not saying that you will dramatically reduce your fuel economy or immediately save hundreds in automobile expenses just by avoiding these mistakes. I am saying that you might want to take note and make a few adjustments in your driving if you are making any of these not so biofriendly motorist mistakes.

If you have any personal tips that help you drive a little more biofriendly, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know. If it works for you, I’m sure others can benefit from it as well.


  • nan

    Great tips! Love the dog picture! I once saw a photo of a dog with his head out the window, in pure doggy heaven, ear flapping in the wind, and the caption was something like – ‘But don’t blow in my face!’ lol

  • Stephanie

    All these little steps add up to less fuel use and better gas mileage! Great tips, as usual (I love the dog photo too!) 😉

  • athensguy

    If even just a small percentage of the time I am successful at avoiding a light by quickly getting up to speed, I will get better gas usage and get home more quickly than the turtle sitting there wasting gas and idling.

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