Keep a Level Head at the Wheel…and Save Money

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.

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