This blog was written by Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.Guest Blog | May 24, 2018
If you are going to join millions in hitting the road this Memorial Day Weekend, you can squeeze more miles-per-gallon (MPG) from your vehicle by changing a few things about the way you drive. Improving driving habits can reduce the amount of time spent on the road, prevent pollution from the tailpipe, and reduce the amount of fuel used per trip – saving you time and money!
Consolidating trips: When using your vehicle to visit multiple locations, thinking about all the stops along the way can help to reduce the amount of time spent on the road. For instance, travel to the furthest location first and work your way back home, stopping at the next closest location along the way. This method will reduce the amount of time you spend overlapping along the same route. Less time on the road means less fuel and less emissions!
Carpooling: Carpooling, or ride-sharing, is one way to reduce fuel usage that is fairly simple, and has been successfully utilized in previous times of national fuel shortages. Sharing a ride with a friend, or multiple friends, is a great way to get more cars off the road and reduce the amount of total fuel used in a given trip. For example, having four people ride in one car is (quite obviously) much more fuel efficient than having four people ride in four cars, or two people in two cars, etc.
Lower shifting: In vehicles with a manual transmission, shifting gears at lower RPM’s (revolutions per minute) can result in substantial fuel savings. Higher RPM’s result in more fuel used to reach higher speeds and horsepower, while lower RPM’s utilize less fuel. While the vehicle may accelerate somewhat slower, less fuel will be used to reach the same speeds.
Smoother acceleration: Accelerating more slowly from a complete stop will also help to reduce fuel consumption. Use a “lighter foot” on the gas pedal to get momentum in the vehicle towards your target speed.
Coasting to stops: Maintaining forward momentum in a moving vehicle uses much less fuel than having to reach a given speed from a complete stop. When slowing down or coming to a complete stop, give the vehicle plenty of room to slow down, instead of coming to an abrupt stop.
Idling: When a vehicle idles, it gets zero MPG! If you plan to idle more than a minute or so, turning off the engine can save fuel in the vehicle and reduce air pollution.
Renting Green: If you are taking a long trip, this weekend or any time this summer, consider renting a newer, more fuel efficient vehicle than what you own in order to get better milage on your whole trip. If you have the option, rent a hybrid – or better yet, consider renting an electric vehicle if that’s an option in your market. Here’s a fun drive electric rental program you can check out if you’re planning to visit the parks in Orlando this summer!