“Green driving” can lead to major fuel savings and lower vehicle insurance rates, not to mention being better for the environment and safer overall.
Cut Idle Time
Environmental agencies cite idling as one of the most damaging practices drivers engage in. When your car’s ignition is on but you’re not moving, you are still emitting exhaust that does a lot of collective damage. While it’s not always possible to avoid idling when you’re in a traffic jam or waiting at a stop sign or red light, there are many other instances in which you can cut unnecessary idle time:
- Don’t use drive-thru restaurant services; they are a leading source of vehicle emissions, and in many cases, it’s faster to go inside and place a take-out order
- Cut the amount of time you spend warming up your engine during the winter; studies show that it doesn’t make much of a positive difference relative to the pollution it generates
- Park your car and cut the engine if you have to complete an errand; from a vehicle theft standpoint, it isn’t a good idea to leave a running car unattended anyway
As a general rule of thumb: if you’re going to be idling for more than about a minute and you can avoid it, you’re better off to turn off the ignition and restart your car when you’re ready to start moving again. Use this strategy when you’re waiting to pick passengers up, sitting in line at a parking lot or gas station, or staying put at a railway crossing while a train passes.
Practical Tips for Reducing Emissions on the Road
The way you drive and the way you maintain your vehicle also have a strong impact on the amount of emissions you produce. For starters, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to learn more about approved best practices for maintenance. Keep fluids topped up at all times, and have your car serviced regularly to make sure there are no mechanical issues that are negatively affecting your fuel efficiency rates. Clean air filters are also essential when it comes to improving vehicle performance; research shows that clean, well-maintained air filters can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Here are some other green driving tips to keep in mind:
- Try to maintain an even speed; braking and accelerating in traffic increase the amount of exhaust your vehicle produces
- Cut unnecessary weight from your vehicle; remove heavy items from the trunk unless you have an immediate need for them, and remove roof racks and other accessories when they’re not in use
- Plan ahead for maximum efficiency: check for the best route to an unfamiliar place so you’re not driving around trying to find your way, and run as many errands as possible in a single outing so you aren’t constantly using your car for short trips
- Use your air conditioner only when necessary if you drive an older vehicle; A/C units draw fuel to operate, which in turn increases emissions
If you have a newer vehicle, A/C can actually help improve fuel efficiency, relative to the drag created by driving with the windows down. Check your owner’s manual or contact your vehicle manufacturer if you’d like to learn more.
Fuel and Insurance Savings for Green Drivers
In addition to avoiding unnecessary braking, you can also use these proven strategies to reduce your fuel consumption:
- Accelerate at a smooth and even rate, and maintain your speed as much as possible (within posted limits)
- Scan the road so you’re well aware of any upcoming stops, and take your foot off the gas as early as possible when approaching a stop sign or red light
- Keep your tires inflated to recommended levels at all times
- During the summer, try to drive when the air is cooler if possible, as hot temperatures adversely affect fuel efficiency
Some insurance providers also offer discounts to drivers who purchase fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles. If you own one, be sure to inform your insurance company to see if you qualify for a rate reduction.
Count on Lane’s for Great Vehicle Insurance Rates and Outstanding Service
The friendly, knowledgeable professionals at Lane’s Insurance are here to ensure you get excellent rates on vehicle insurance in Calgary, along with the outstanding service you deserve. Visit Lane’s today to get a fast, free vehicle insurance quote.