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But you can reduce your vehicle’s impact and save a bundle just by making some surprisingly small choices. Here are seven easy changes you can make to your car habits, from dealership to driveway, to put some green back in your pocket:
1. Choose the most fuel-efficient model for your needs.
Those gas-guzzlers on TV may have temptingly low prices, but do some research and keep your needs in mind before you buy. Over the lifetime of a vehicle, fuel costs can add up dramatically. Picking a compact or mid-size car over a SUV can put up to $7,500 back in your pocket over 200,000 kilometres, and prevent tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Look for a model with idle stop-start.
Vehicles with ide stop-start technology turn off their engines automatically when idling and while decelerating at low speeds. The system works seamlessly, so you won’t even notice any difference behind the wheel — just at the pump. 3. Drive smart. Aggressive acceleration wastes fuel, so don’t floor the gas pedal taking off from a red light. Plan your driving and look ahead at traffic. If you keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead, you can avoid sudden braking. Avoid driving in peak traffic periods if you can help it. And remember that driving at 120 km/h burns about 20 percent more fuel than driving at 100 km/h. On flat highways, use cruise control to keep a steady speed.
4. Keep an eye on tire pressure.
Driving with tires under-inflated by just 8 psi can reduce the life of your tires by more than 10,000 km and increase the vehicle’s fuel consumption by up to 4 percent. Set a schedule for yourself to measure your tire pressure monthly, and add extra checks during seasonal changes. 5. Avoid idling. If you’re going to be stopped for more than a minute — except in traffic — turn the engine off. From a cold start, even in the winter, you need only 15 to 30 seconds of idling before beginning to drive — just make sure the windows are clear. The best way to warm up the car is to drive it. 6. Refuel right. At the pump, avoid overfilling and spills, which cause surface contamination and release harmful chemicals when the spilled gas evaporates.
7. Check out a free online ecodriving course.
When, where and how you drive influences your vehicle’s fuel consumption and emissions. Ecodriving Online is a quick course that will show both new and experienced drivers how to use less fuel by driving in a fuelefficient manner. The techniques you’ll learn can not only save you hundreds of dollars in fuel each year but also improve road safety and prevent unnecessary wear on your vehicle. Access the free course at www.ecodrivingonline.ca/home. htm.