Ford offers 5 driving tips for saving fuel & reducing GHG emissions

The challenge of moving toward a cleaner, greener future can seem quite daunting when so much is seemingly out of our control, such as the environmental impacts of the industrial and agricultural sectors.

And while we may all be responsible for creating the demand and the markets for cheap disposable goods (which often come with a rather large environmental footprint), we can still make the decision to choose more eco-friendly and sustainable options for ourselves across a wide variety of products and activities, including one which we may not think that much about, but which we do probably every day, several times per day.

That common activity is driving. We may have already made the move to a more fuel-efficient vehicle (or perhaps even an electric vehicle or hybrid), but for those of us who can’t afford to upgrade our car yet, there are still some effective ways to increase our driving efficiency and reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with our travels.

According to the US EPA, about 26% of all US greenhouse gas emissions came from the transportation sector, which makes it the second largest contributor of GHG nationally, so addressing transportation emissions and efficiency can have a significant impact on not only short-term localized pollution issues, but also long-term effects on the climate as a whole.

While a large amount of transportation emissions are beyond our personal control, such as that produced by trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes, the number of miles traveled by passenger cars and light-duty trucks has gone up considerably since 1990 (up 37%), which plays a part in the overall rise in transportation GHG emissions (which are up by about 17% since 1990).

Ford Motor Company put together the following five tips, most of them rather commonsense (but unfortunately not that common in practice), to help drivers save fuel (and money) and prolong the useful life of their vehicles, as well as reduce the amount of GHG emissions associated with their driving habits.

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5 Driving tips to save fuel & decrease transportation emissions

  1. Be smooth: Accelerate smoothly, break softly and early and stay in one lane, if possible.
  2. Use the A/C only on the highway: Only turn the air-conditioning on at speeds of 55 mph or higher.
  3. Keep it light: Don’t travel with extra weight in the back seat or trunk, travel light and keep only necessary and important items in your vehicle. This can reduce mileage by up to 1%.
  4. Turn off the engine: Turn off the engine when stopped at stoplights or stop signs for more than a couple minutes.
  5. Tune it up: Keeping your vehicle tuned up and in proper working order can improve fuel mileage by an average of 4%.

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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