Bethesda, Md. There are many ways to participate in Earth Day, and this year, why not include your car in the celebration? The Car Care Council offers the following five ways you and your car can help protect the environment on Earth Day, April 22, as well as every day:
Drive Green If you have to drive your car on Earth Day, recognize that how your drive has a lot to do with fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Jerky and aggressive driving decreases your miles per gallon (MPG) and increases wear and tear on your vehicle. Minimize unnecessary miles by combining errands in one trip.
Get a Tune Up Regular tune ups, maintenance and having clean air filters will help your car pollute less and burn less gas. With a proper tune up, you can save 4 percent on the cost of gas and up to 40 percent by replacing a faulty oxygen sensor. Simply changing the car’s air filter can improve efficiency by 10 percent.
Lighten the Load Get the junk out of the trunk and the stuff out of your car, with the exception of emergency items such as a spare tire, flares and a first-aid kit. Extra items weigh the vehicle down and cause an increase in gas usage.
Tire Checks According to the Car Care Council, around two billion gallons of gas each year could be saved if the tires on every American’s car were properly inflated. Optimal tire pressure for your vehicle is listed in the owner’s manual. Tires that are not properly inflated add rolling resistance that makes the engine work harder to move the vehicle. All of this increases fuel costs as much as three to five cents per gallon, and increases the risk of engine damage.
Gas Caps and Fill-Ups Check your vehicle’s gas cap. Approximately 17 percent of vehicles on the road have loose, damaged or missing gas caps, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year. Topping off your gas tank when filling up your car can also release harmful vapors into the environment.
“Driving technique and proper vehicle maintenance go a long way toward protecting the environment. Plus, when fuel economy is maximized, you’re not only minimizing the amount of pollutants from your vehicle, you’re also likely to pay less at the pump,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
Vehicle owners who do their own maintenance are also reminded to recycle or properly dispose of fluids and other vehicle components, including used motor oil, tires and batteries.
More information about environmental awareness and fuel economy are included in the council’s newly updated Car Care Guide, which can be ordered on the Car Care Council Web site at www.carcare.org.