Top 10 Tips for Eco-Friendly & Fuel Smart Driving

Posted on 11/08/2017 by Left Coast

At Left Coast, driving is our last preferred mode of transportation. We’ve even got Environmental Cash Incentives to discourage our team from driving, with increasing values from carpooling and taking public transit to cycling and walking to work. But within a motor vehicle-based society, for some of us, driving can’t be helped. What can change is how you do it—yes, there are eco-friendly and fuel efficient ways to drive that will save you 5-25% on fuel consumption!

Nicholas Lamm of Green Workplace came in during our monthly meeting and talked about the ins and outs of “Fuel Smart Driving.” Not only will you be releasing less carbon into the environment, you’ll save money on gas, and there’s less wear and tear on your car. An added benefit is that it could help you practice patience. Yup, mindful driving is your new yoga.

Here are 10 eco-friendly driving tips. Or for convenience, remember the top 4 via Green Workplace:

1. Maintain a 3 Second Buffer Space

Leaving space allows you to see obstacles and hazards sooner and reduces the need for strong braking and acceleration. Look at a stationary landmark when the car ahead of crosses, then count one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand…

2. Anticipate Traffic Flow and Obstacles

Scan for potential obstacles 500 – 750m ahead. Look out for things like stale green lights, construction zones, accidents, brake lights on the car in front of you, pedestrians, stop signs, and traffic waiting at a light.

3. Use the Momentum of the Vehicle to Stop

Learn the coasting distance of your vehicle and learn how to time your arrival at an obstacle by “pre-braking.” If you must stop, use momentum to coast up to the obstacle (ie. take your foot of the break!). And if you’re only driving a short way before stopping, don’t accelerate to full speed. What goes up must come down, so the faster you go, the more energy it’ll take to come to a stop.

4. Keep your RPMs under 2000

This one is simple enough to explain, but probably the hardest to do. When there are hills or if you’re the first car stopped at a red light, it could take well over 2000 RPMs to get going. Instead of 3 or 4 seconds, it can take upwards of 10 seconds to reach the speed limit. But this one is really worth trying because fuel consumption during ACCELERATION can be 5 to 10x higher than cruising at 50-60 km/hr! It’s also a great way to practice patience and mindful driving.

5. Don’t Idle Excessively

When does it make sense to turn off your engine? The surprising answer is any time you anticipate being stopped for more than 10 seconds. Some circumstances include: long traffic lights, railway crossings, and while picking up or deliveries.

6. Manage Cabin Cooling Intelligently

The general rule of thumb is: Use air-conditioning on highways, but rolled down windows for city driving. The reason? Drag. Did you know the most efficient speed for any vehicle on highways is 90km/hr? Any faster than that the drag goes up exponentially. And when you increase speed from 100km/hr to 120km/hr, your vehicle will consume 20% more fuel!

7. Properly Inflate Tires

Check visually to ensure no tires are under inflated. For the right amount of pressure (because your front and back tires can need different pressures!) look on the passenger side on the door of your car. Use tire pressure gauge if possible. A single tire under inflated by just 8 psi can lose 15,000 km from its lifespan. A flat tire = an overworked engine.

8. Empty The Trunk

Remove extra weight from vehicle, such as unnecessary tools, equipment, and food.

9. Don’t Rush!

Not only is rushing dangerous, it increases fuel consumption SIGNIFICANTLY and only marginally decreases trip time. Green Workspace experimented and found that for every hour of travel in the city, driving aggressively only saves you on average 2.5 minutes. That’s all. Also, aggressive driving, hard stops and quick starts increase fuel consumption by as much as 39%.

10. Take Advantage of Cruise Control

When you’re on the highway, another way to decrease RPMs is to let Cruise Control do all the work. Of course, don’t just set it and forget it, keep your eyes on the road at all times, but enjoy not having to constantly press the pedal.

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