• Ensure proper tire maintenance, tread and inflation. A properly inflated tire can increase gas mileage 10 percent to 30 percent. (Ideal inflation should be listed on the sidewall of the tire.)
• Tighten the gas cap after every fill-up. A loose, cracked or missing gas cap can emit harmful emissions and reduce gas mileage.
• Avoid stop-and-go traffic. Try to drive at off-peak times.
• Limit idling. Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more gas and causes more pollution than simply restarting your engine.
• Select the most efficient vehicle for your lifestyle.
• Get regular emissions tests. Most places require you to get your car "smogged" before you can sell or register it.
• Consider getting a green vehicle, such as a hybrid.
• Never drive for a long time with an illuminated "Check Engine" light. It can mean a problem that's harmful to the environment and your car, yet more than 8 percent of all vehicles on the road today do so.
Adopted as a government mandate to lower emissions, the "Check Engine" light illuminates when a vehicle's computer detects a problem that affects emissions output. All 1996 and newer cars, light trucks, SUVs and minivans manufactured for use in the U.S. have this technology.
• Make sure your car or truck is in optimal running condition. One way is to periodically test for emissions-related problems.
A recently introduced diagnostic tool provides drivers with a fast, convenient solution for monitoring their vehicles' health, particularly with regard to "Check "Engine" light issues.
Called CarMD®, it combines an easy-to-use, handheld tester with an unprecedented online database to give consumers information that, until now, only mechanics could access. The consumer-friendly information describes potential problems, estimated repair costs and more. It even tells you if your vehicle will pass an emissions (smog) test.
CarMD helps keep your vehicle running cleaner and more efficiently by detecting problems with your emissions system. By identifying misfires, catalytic converter problems or even a loose gas cap, drivers can pinpoint the problem, improve gas mileage and reduce emissions output.
For more information, visit www.CarMD.com or call (888) MyCarMD.
Note to Editors: While useful at any time, this release is particularly appropriate on Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22 this year.