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Apr 15, 2021

6 min. read

With Earth Day coming up on April 22, many people are looking for ways to lower their impact on the environment when they use their car. Even if you don’t drive an electric or hybrid vehicle, these eight driving and car maintenance tips aren’t just good for the environment, they’re also good for your wallet. Here are eight simple things you can do to help protect the planet.

Don’t idle—avoid running your car engine while parked

Idling burns one to two litres of gas per hour, whereas restarting your car uses only 10 seconds worth of fuel—so avoid keeping your engine running if you’re parked.

Avoid rapid starts and stops while driving

Rapid acceleration and hard braking can increase gas usage. Try to drive smoothly to save on fuel, protect your tires and avoid wear-and-tear on your vehicle. Using cruise control on highways can also help to maintain a constant speed.

Don’t speed when driving

According to the laws of aerodynamics, the faster you drive, the more power you need to propel your vehicle through air. That means driving at 120 km/hr uses 20 percent more fuel than at 100 km/hr, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRC). By following the speed limit, you can greatly reduce how much fuel you use—and help keep everyone safe on the road.

Decrease drag by removing roof racks off your car when not in use

Roof and bike racks add weight that increases aerodynamic drag, which in turn eats up more fuel—by as much as 20 percent, according to NRC. Take roof racks off when not in use and avoid driving with heavy items in your vehicle for prolonged periods of time.

Cut back on the air conditioning

Air conditioning can dramatically increase your fuel consumption, so use it sparingly and opt to open the windows whenever possible.

Keep up with regular car maintenance

Underinflated tires increase fuel consumption by up to four percent according to the NRC. You can also improve your mileage by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil and keeping your engine tuned.

Combine trips by running multiple errands in a single trip

Since vehicles are more fuel efficient after being warmed up. Try to combine multiple errands into one trip rather than taking several short trips with a cold engine.

Consider alternate modes of transportation

If you’re commuting or running errands, sometimes it might make more sense to walk, ride a bike, use a ride-share program or take public transportation. And if you own more than one vehicle, choose the one that’s more fuel efficient whenever possible.

Get more with CAA

Spring is a great time to have your car inspected to make sure it’s in good condition. Visit one of CAA’s Approved Auto Repair Services facility for Member-exclusive perks and benefits.

Plus, to learn more about electric vehicles, including government incentives for owning one, visit CAA online.

Image credit: RyanJLane/iStock

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