Make trips eco-friendly

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Local News -

METRO >> Many driv­ers anx­iously await the ar­rival of spring, when they can rev their en­gines and en­joy the bur­geon­ing green­scapes syn­ony­mous with the sea­son. Though the col­ors of fall fo­liage might be more closely as­so­ci­ated with road trips, many driv­ers en­joy the first few warm days of spring when they get a chance to hit the open road with their win­dows down for the first time in months.

Driv­ing is not al­ways the most eco-friendly ac­tiv­ity. How­ever, there are var­i­ous ways to en­joy spring road trips with­out com­pro­mis­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

• Do not idle your ve­hi­cle. When en­gines are run­ning but cars are not mov­ing, this is re­ferred to as “idling.” It’s hard to blame driv­ers for idling their ve­hi­cles in win­ter, when many mo­torists try to warm up their en­gines and their ve­hi­cles’ in­te­ri­ors so their morn­ing com­mutes are as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble. Idling cars might not be mov­ing, but they are still burn­ing fuel, mean­ing driv­ers who rou­tinely idle their ve­hi­cles are ad­versely af­fect­ing fuel ef­fi­ciency. It’s also im­por­tant to note that idling is no longer nec­es­sary in mod­ern ve­hi­cles. That’s be­cause the elec­tronic fuel in­jec­tion sys­tems in to­day’s cars re­quire just a few sec­onds to get full oil pres­sure through­out the en­gine. Such sys­tems were not present in older ve­hi­cles.

• Take it easy on the road. Road trips tend to be more en­joy­able and are cer­tainly safer when driv­ers take their time and don’t rush to their des­ti­na­tion. And driv­ing slowly hap­pens to be more ecofriendly as well. Ac­cord­ing to the on­line au­to­mo­tive re­source Ed­munds. com, gen­tly gain­ing speed is much more fuel-ef­fi­cient than ac­cel­er­at­ing quickly. Al­ways obey speed lim­its and avoid quickly ac­cel­er­at­ing when stop­lights turn green.

• Empty the trunk. Dur­ing win­ter, many driv­ers un­der­stand­ably carry some ex­tra items in their trunk to ac­count for in­clement weather. Keep­ing ice scrap­ers, ex­tra coolant or even a snow shovel in the trunk might make sense for driv­ers who live in re­gions that rou­tinely en­counter heavy snow­fall. When spring ar­rives, driv­ers should re­move any un­nec­es­sary items from their trunks. Such items will in­crease the weight of the ve­hi­cle, thereby re­duc­ing its fuel ef­fi­ciency. Ath­letes and out- doors en­thu­si­asts should also re­move golf bags and sport­ing equip­ment from their trunks when tak­ing trips where such items won’t be needed.

• Don’t top off at the gas pump. Many driv­ers, espe­cially those on road trips who want to avoid ex­tra tops at the fill­ing sta­tion, top off their gas tanks when noz­zles shut off au­to­mat­i­cally. Such a prac­tice is harm­ful to the planet and may not be do­ing your ve­hi­cle any fa­vors, ei­ther. The U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency notes gaso­line needs some ex­tra room in gas tanks to ex­pand. With­out that ex­tra room, the gas may evap­o­rate into the ve­hi­cle’s va­por col­lec­tion sys­tem, ad­versely af­fect­ing emis­sions and po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing the ve­hi­cle.

Mo­torists can em­ploy sev­eral sim­ple strate­gies to make spring road trip sea­son more eco-friendly.

METRO PHOTO

Driv­ing is not al­ways the most eco-friendly ac­tiv­ity. How­ever, there are var­i­ous ways to en­joy spring road trips with­out com­pro­mis­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

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