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Fall is just around the corner, and many of us will take advantage of the cooler temperatures  - going on road trips to see the leaves change or to head to the hiking trails and campgrounds.  Adding up all the trips and miles driven this fall also adds up a not-so-fun part of the season—parting with cash to drive to all of these adventures.  

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Today, September 21, is Zero Emissions Day, a day focused on protecting our environment from harmful emissions.  Here are some tips to help lower emissions and fuel costs so you can spend your money on exciting adventures:  

  • Don’t waste fuel when you aren’t driving. Idling your car can use a half gallon of fuel per hour. That means you are wasting 3 cents for every minute you idle.  If you are parked for more than 10 seconds, it is more fuel efficient to turn off your vehicle while waiting.
  • Pack light when you head out this autumn.  For every 100 extra pounds of luggage in your vehicle, your fuel costs go up about 3 cents per gallon.  And, if you have to attach a luggage rack to the top of your vehicle your fuel economy can decrease by up to 25% at Interstate speeds due to drag.  Instead, try to pack light and keep your luggage inside the car or trunk.
  • Be sure that your car is in tip-top shape by keeping up with maintenance.  Problems with spark plugs, dragging brakes, sagging belts, or transmission can cause fuel economy problems.  Fixing some serious maintenance problems can increase mileage by up to 40%. 
  • One of the best things you can do to improve fuel economy is choose a vehicle according to your need. For example, if you are a city driver, a small hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle is probably right for you because they get better fuel mileage and are easier to maneuver and park in small city streets.

Importantly, saving money by increasing your fuel economy is likely lowering your emissions, and therefore keeping the scenery and air pristine.  Now that you have some ideas of how to lower fuel costs and emissions, sit back, relax, and enjoy the open road!