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Green Driving Tips and Maintenance

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Moving entails a lot of driving, which sometimes can’t be avoided. There are certain things you can do to your car to lessen its impact, though. Give your car proper maintenance, and it can run much more efficiently.
During your move, you will probably spend a lot of time driving. In addition to transporting your belongings to your new town, you may drive there to shop for a house, scout out schools, or sign paperwork. All of these trips burn up a lot of fuel and can add significantly to your carbon footprint. There are, however, a few things you can do to make sure that your vehicle is operating at peak fuel efficiency for your move, thus reducing its negative impact on the environment.

Maintenance

Making sure that your vehicle is running at maximum efficiency is the first step toward limiting your fuel consumption. If your vehicle isn't operating smoothly, it takes more effort for it to run and, therefore, more fuel to drive it. You should always try to keep your car in good condition, but it's especially important to do so before long trips. Here are some maintenance tips:
  • Check your tire pressure. Deflated tires actually cause your vehicle to consume more fuel, so make sure they have the right amount of air in them. The owner's manual for your vehicle should tell you the appropriate air pressure.
  • Check and change your oil regularly. You should change it as often as your type of oil calls for. For example, if you have 5,000 mile oil, you should change it every 5,000 miles. Also, especially before a long trip, make sure you aren't low on oil. Oil keeps your engine lubricated so that it can run with less resistance.
  • Check your oil filter to see if it needs to be replaced.
  • Change your air filter if it's clogged or dirty.
  • Bring your vehicle in for regular tune-ups. Your auto mechanic will check everything listed above and more. You can have him or her check every aspect of your car to make sure it's running at its best.

Driving tips

In addition to keeping a well-maintained vehicle, there are some things you can do while you're driving to keep fuel consumption to a minimum. Keep these tips in mind while you drive, and you just might see a few extra miles between fill-ups.
  • Try to maintain a constant speed (staying inside the speed limit, of course). The more often you accelerate the more fuel you use. It's better to stay at a slower speed consistently than to speed up and slow down frequently.
  • It may be difficult if you're hauling belongings to your new home, but limiting excess weight increases fuel efficiency.
  • Use the air conditioning sparingly. If it's really hot and you need to cool down, follow this general rule: If traveling over 45 mph, use the AC. If driving under 45 mph, roll down your windows. Having your windows down at over 45 mph creates drag on your vehicle, therefore causing it to use more fuel.
  • Take fewer trips. If you can combine errands into one, longer trip, you should do it.
  • Plan out your route. Choose a direct path with few stops. Idling at many traffic lights or stop signs during your trip wastes fuel.

TIP: For more information on fuel efficiency visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

Don't just limit this advice to when you're moving. You'll make a much bigger difference by applying it every time you drive. Also, the more people that are involved, the better, so share these tips with family and friends.

  Posted by Sean McClain on January 11, 2010

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