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Keep a Level Head at the Wheel…and Save Money

2009 July 2

image of traffic on a highwayA recent survey on aggressive driving habits across the United States pointed to a wide variety of activities in which drivers vented their rage at the wheel. Some of these bad driving habits include tail-gating, honking horns, making obscene gestures, and speeding, to name a few. Large metropolitan areas have consistently been featured among the top offenders in the road rage arena. Nonetheless, many of us have encountered these aggressive drivers whether we live in the city, suburbia or rural areas. While I hope no one will challenge that many of these bad habits are dangerous, offensive and even illegal, keeping a level head at the wheel will allow you to save money and ultimately protect the environment.

Here are some tips that will help you use fuel more efficiently while driving. Try to keep a steady pace while driving. Sudden acceleration and heavy braking may reduce the fuel efficiency of your economy by up to 33 percent. By keeping distractions to a minimum, you can gauge your pace even in heavy traffic. Another piece of advice—observe the speed limit. Seems like a no brainer, but did you know that fuel efficiency decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph?

Furthermore, keep your car in shape. It’s important to keep your engine properly tuned to improve gas mileage. Plus we often forget to keep our tires properly inflated. Inflating tires at the proper pressure will improve your gas mileage and the life of your tires. Using the proper octane level at the pump also improves your mileage. Check your owner’s manual to see the most effective octane level for your car. Unless it’s recommended by the manufacturer, buying a higher octane gas might be a waste of your hard-earned money.

Since we’re approaching the 4th of July weekend, there are many who will hit the road to visit family and friends or relax in the great outdoors. Consider these tips so you can enjoy your drive and protect the Planet at the same time.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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One Response leave one →
  1. Amrita permalink
    July 23, 2009


    Yes, for many people who drive regularly, fuel can be a huge cost that’s hard to drive down. it is possible to cut down on the amount of petrol you use just by changing the way you drive and you can also increase your fuel efficiency by driving better.

    While driving you should not over-accelerate as it can be harmful to the engine as well as burning unnecessary fuel. So always avoid accelerating quickly and harsely.

    Keeping your tyres at optimum pressure can do wonders for the fuel-efficiency of your car. Under-inflated tyres will create more resistance between your tyres and the road whenever you drive, meaning you use up more fuel.

    Minimise the weight your car has to carry by removing all unnecessary items from your car. The lighter your car is, the more fuel-efficiently it will drive.

    Finally, you should keep your car well-maintained and have it serviced regularly.

    With Regards

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