2. Become aware of your driving style and modify it accordingly – Are you aggressive, rushed, average or fuel-efficient? Natural Resources Canada identifies these four driving behaviours as significant factors in fuel efficiency and driving. Aggressive drivers focus on speed, rushed drivers focus on saving time, average drivers react to changes in traffic whereas fuel-efficient drivers are always mindful of how their driving will affect their fuel consumption.
3. Think before you drive – Can you take public transit? One bus takes up to 40 cars off the road, saves as much as 70,000 litres of fuel and prevents nine tonnes of air pollutants from being emitted each year. Can you work from home? Telecommuting one day a week cuts the amount of fuel used to go to work by 20 per cent that week. Can you plan your route? Allow for fewer stoplights, intersections and pedestrian traffic.
4. Avoid unnecessary idling – Some Canadians spend about four per cent of their annual fuel consumption idling their vehicles. In fact, for every 10 minutes of idling one third of a litre of fuel is wasted for an average vehicle. Experts recommend turning off your engine when you are parked for more than 60 seconds, except in traffic. Also, the best way to warm up your vehicle in cold weather is to run it for two to three minutes and then drive it.
5. Maintain your vehicle – Proper tire inflation, reducing extra weight, removing roof racks and following the maintenance schedule in your vehicles owners' manual, all help to keep your fuel consumption in check.
Driving with fuel efficiency in mind takes time, knowledge, steady hands and feet and a sense of commitment. NRCan has more tips, tricks and trivia at www.vehicles.nrcan.gc.ca.
15 ways to drive lean and clean
1. Accelerate gently
2. Maintain a steady speed
3. Anticipate traffic
4. Coast to decelerate
5. Avoid high speeds
6. Drive less often
7. Plan ahead
8. Combine trips
9. Track fuel consumption
10. Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle that suits your daily needs
11. Avoid unnecessary idling
12. Check tire pressure once a month
13. Remove roof racks not in use
14. Avoid carrying unnecessary weight
15. Use a fuel consumption display
By changing your driving behaviour to one with fuel efficiency in mind, you could save up to $500 a year in fuel costs and prevent more than 1,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide from needlessly entering the atmosphere.
Source: Natural Resources Canada, Lean and Clean: Best Practices for Fuel-Efficient Driving, www.vehicles.nrcan.gc.ca.