Eco-Driving and Driving Behavior
What is Eco-Driving?
Did you know that your personal style of driving could have a significant impact on the environment? The importance of "eco" or green driving to the environment is often underestimated but you can make a difference. By driving in a more careful and environmentally responsible way, you can be a safer driver while you cut exhaust emissions, save fuel, and at the same time -- save yourself some money at the gas pump. Proper vehicle maintenance is another way you can help the environment.
Below are some driving behaviors and tips that will help you become an eco-driver.
- When you first start a car after it has been sitting for more than an hour, it pollutes up to five times more than when the engine is warm.
- Combine errands into one trip.
- Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
- Trip chaining saves on gas in addition to cutting emissions from eliminating numerous trips.
- By trip chaining you will avoid retracing your route and reduce the distance you travel. You’ll not only save fuel but also wear and tear on your car, reducing potential maintenance costs.
Smooth Driving and Speed Control
- Avoid slamming on the brakes or stop-and-go driving.
- Avoid jackrabbit starts.
- Maintain a safe following distance helps reduce the need for stop-and-go driving.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly and smoothly – it’ll save you up to 2 mpg.
- Anticipate stops and slow down gradually.
- It takes 20% less gas to accelerate from 5 mpg than from a full stop.
- Smooth driving is safer, reduces brake wear and, on average, gets you to your destination just as quick.
- Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 55 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 55 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas.
- Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town.
- In highway driving over 50% of the energy required to move your car down the road goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance increase. As a result at speeds above 55 mph fuel economy decreases rapidly.
- Overdrive gears improve the fuel economy of your car during highway driving. When you use overdrive gearing your car’s engine speed decreases.
- In city driving, nearly 50% of the energy needed to power your car goes to acceleration. Unnecessary braking wastes that energy.
- Avoid extreme acceleration, except in emergency situations.
- If you anticipate traffic conditions ahead of you and don’t tailgate, you can avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration and improve your fuel economy by 5-10%.
- It takes more energy to cool a hot car than it does to cool a medium-sized home in Atlanta, Georgia during the summer!
- The A/C consumes nearly a gallon of gas per tankful to keep you cool.
- To minimize the impact of using the air conditioner, drive a light colored car with a light interior and/or park in the shade.
- Inside the windshield sun-blockers also do a good job of keeping a vehicle cooler while it’s parked.
- When you’re driving in summer, close the windows and turn on the fresh air vents. At speeds over 40 mph, the drag caused by open windows eats up more gas than a working air conditioner.
- Idling gets 0 miles per gallon.
- You will save more gas by turning the engine off and restarting it again if you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds.
- By avoiding long idles you will prevent pollution.
- Try parking your car and going into restaurants, banks, etc., instead of idling in drive-up lanes.
- Idling can consume as much as a gallon of gas per hour. Idling also wastes more fuel than restarting the engine.
- Idling is not an effective way to warm up your engine even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. No matter how efficient your car is, unnecessary idling wastes fuel, costs you money and pollutes the air.
- Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems.
- Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling.
- The bottom line is that over thirty seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
- Cruise control is ideal at highway speeds since it saves fuel by reducing excess gas pedal activity.
- In mountainous or hilly regions, you’ll get better gas mileage if you hold a constant throttle position instead of using cruise control. To do this, just maintain a steady foot angle.
- When refueling a gas engine take special care when tank is nearly full – little drips and drops of spilled gas are a major source of pollution
- Avoid topping off the tank – pumping in more gas after the pump cuts itself off. It releases gas fumes into the air and cancels the benefits of the pump’s anti-pollution devices.
- Get fuel when it’s cool. Refueling during cooler periods of the day or in the evening generates fewer polluting hydrocarbon vapors.
- Remember to tighten your gas cap until it’s secure.
- You can lose up to 30 gallons of gas a year by not tightening your gas cap properly.
- A loose cap could signal your car’s onboard computer to turn on the service engine light on the dashboard.
- Replace your gas cap if it is damaged to maintain a complete seal on the gas tank.
- Get rid of all that extra junk in your trunk.
- If you have a choice between putting cargo on the top of your vehicles or inside, choose inside, carrying items on the roof increases aerodynamic drag.
- Remove roof racks when not in use to prevent excess aerodynamic drag.
- The weight of that extra cargo makes engines work harder, burning more gas, releasing more emissions.
- You get four percent less gas mileage for every 100 pounds of excess weight carried in your car.
- That can cost you about a dollar for every time you fill up your gas tank that's a couple of new CDs every year.
- It wastes gas, a non-renewable resource.