10 Steps to a Greener Car

Is your car new, old, big, small – regardless of size or By following a few simple preventive maintenance steps, you can help protect the environment by improving gas mileage, which in turn saves money at the pump.

1. Keep your car properly tuned for optimum performance- A properly maintained vehicle can improve its efficiency, reduce emissions and save you money.

2. Drive Smart – How you drive has a lot to do with fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Drive wisely and minimize unnecessary miles by consolidating errands, getting good directions and avoiding excessive idling.

3. Lighten the Load – Get the junk out of the trunk! With the exception of emergency items, of course! Extra items weigh the vehicle down and cause an increase in gas usage.

4. Regularly check and replace dirty air filters- Replacing a clogged air filter will improve your car’s performance and acceleration, but not miles per gallon. The air filter should be inspected at each oil change, and replaced annually or when restricted, torn, water or oil-soaked.

5. Have spark plugs checked and replaced if necessary- A vehicle can have four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as three million times every 1,000 miles. This results in heat, electrical and chemical erosion and waste of fuel.

6. Maintain the cooling system- A cooling system thermostat that causes the engine to run too cold will lower the fuel efficiency of a car by as much as one or two mpg.

7. Tire Checks – Proper tire pressure can improve gas mileage by 3.3 percent or 10 cents per gallon. Tire pressure should be checked monthly, including the spare. Optimal tire pressure for your vehicle is listed in the owner’s manual or on the car door sidewall.

8. Gas Caps  – Don’t waste your gas money! Check your vehicle’s gas cap. A loose, cracked or damaged gas cap allows gas to escape from your tank as a vapor, wasting fuel and increasing vehicle emissions.

9. Fill-Ups- Pump, don’t dump! When filling up your car, remember to stop when the nozzle shuts off! Topping off the gas tank can release harmful vapors into the environment and waste money.

10. Emission systems – Your car’s emission system keeps the engine running cleanly and efficiently in all sorts of operating conditions, and keeping it in proper working condition can save money and protect the environment. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve gas mileage by 40%!

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