Driving on a dime Ways to use less gas

Even if you're not in the market for a new car, you can increase your own vehicle's fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent just by giving your car regular tune-ups and using fuel-efficient driving skills.

Here are some ways to drive more efficiently:

i Turn off your engine when you stop your car for ten seconds or longer, and avoid turning on your engine before you need to. An average newer car uses about the same amount of gas in ten seconds as it does to re-start the engine. If you turn off your vehicle whenever you're stopped for ten seconds or longer (when you're stuck in a traffic jam or pulled over — not when you're at a stop sign or a red light), you can easily save money and reduce emissions. And you also help out your vehicle.

Extensive idling actually damages modern engines, and (contrary to popular belief) you can best warm up a cold engine in winter by driving it, not letting it idle. You can save on gas costs, as well: For every two minutes a car idles, it uses about the same amount of fuel it takes to go

1 mile. By idling, you're really going nowhere fast — especially because medical studies have linked car exhaust to asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease, and cancer.

^ Opt out of the drive-through. Often, it takes less time to park the car and walk in than use the drive-through. With the money you have to spend on the gas you use while sitting and waiting, you could buy two sundaes rather than one. You can even join the local movement in many towns and cities to ban drive-throughs.

^ Keep tires fully inflated to the recommended pressure. Keeping your tires pumped up increases your car's miles per gallon.

^ Remove the roof rack during seasons in which you don't use it and remove the mud flaps behind the wheels during the summer. Believe it or not, removing these add-ons improves the aerodynamics of your car and reduces drag when driving, which increases your miles per gallon.

^ Don't stomp on the brake or the accelerator unnecessarily. You really waste a lot of gas when you gun the engine, and when you immediately cut off the momentum you had. Try to avoid road rage moments!

^ Drive at the speed limit, rather than over it. Fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions, and speed are directly related. According to a report by the European Transport Safety Council, simply enforcing the speed limit of 70 mph (113 km/h) in the U.K. would cut emissions by 1 million metric tons each year, and lowering that speed limit to 60 mph (97 km/h) would cut emissions by another 0.9 tons each year.

^ Take all that junk out of your trunk. Extra weight means your car uses more gas.

^ Keep up with maintenance. The more smoothly your car runs, the less gas it uses.

^ Run the air conditioning only when you need it. Most cars use engine heat to warm a car, but it takes extra engine power to cool it down — enough to lower the miles to the gallon you're getting. (Of course, rolling down your windows significantly increases drag if you're on the highway, so use this tip when on shorter or inner-city trips.)

^ Drive in the highest gear possible. In a manual-shift vehicle, driving in a high gear reduces the need to step on the gas peddle, and it also takes stress off of your engine.

BE# All the tips in the preceding list also apply to running your boat, motorbike, scooter, dirt bike, four-wheeler, jet-ski, snowmobile, golf cart, and so on. Even though cars and trucks produce most transportation-related emissions, get into the habit of driving everything more efficiently.

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