Get More Mileage out of Your Tank

Have the Right Amount of Pressure in Your Tires

There are all kinds of good reasons to have the correct pressure in your vehicle’s tires. With the proper tire pressure, you will get better mileage and save fuel, your tires will experience less wear and tear, and your vehicle will emit less pollution. Perhaps most importantly, you will be safer in a vehicle with tires that have the right amount of pressure. Here are some helpful tips and reasons to keep the tire pressure at the right level in your vehicle.

1. More is not better

Some people think that inflating your tires to maximum capacity is the way to achieve the benefits of properly inflated tires, but the key is to inflate them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific vehicle. If you are having someone else put air in your tires, make sure you let him or her know this.

The manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle can be found on the tire information placard label, usually located on driver’s side doorjamb. This information is also in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

2. Better gas mileage

Having the correct tire pressure saves fuel, which is good for the planet and easier on your finances. Tires that are underinflated will “drag” along the pavement as too much of the tires’ surface area comes in contact with the road. This increase in friction forces your engine to work harder – and therefore use more gas – to overcome the friction and maintain speed.

3. Less wear and tear

Tires that are underinflated are, as noted above, prone to greater friction against the road. This friction not only increases gas usage; it also increases the chance of the tires overheating, which can cause their treads to separate.

Overinflated tires increase the tendency of the vehicle to bounce, making your ride uncomfortable and causing uneven wear – the center of the tire is disproportionately pressed against the pavement while the edges don’t hit the road surface much at all. Overinflated tires are also more prone to puncture.

4. Fewer emissions

The engine of a vehicle traveling on correctly inflated tires does not have to work so hard, thus cutting down on emissions. You use less gas, and less carbon dioxide gets into the air.

5. Safety

Maintaining the correct tire pressure is crucial to vehicle safety. Tires without enough air will compromise your ability to brake in time and turn corners. Not being able to handle your vehicle accurately can be the difference between a dangerous accident and no accident at all.

Also, tires that do not have the correct pressure are more prone to damage – either by overheating such as occurs with underinflation, or by puncturing which is more likely with overinflated tires. A tire that “blows out” while you are driving can put you and your passengers in great danger.

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Car

You do not have to purchase a hybrid or electric car in order to reduce your automotive carbon footprint (although it’s ideal if you can!). There are ways you can reduce the carbon footprint of your existing car. Here are some tips.

1. Maintain your car

Keeping your car in top working order makes it work more efficiently, thereby keeping emissions and gas usage at a minimum. Some things to keep in mind when taking your car in for maintenance are:

Tire pressure
Keeping the tire pressure at the optimum level for your specific car can make a great deal of difference in your gas mileage. Be sure to tell the mechanic or technician to inflate the tires according to the manufacturer’s standards. It should be printed on the inside of one of your car’s doors, and/or in your owner’s manual.

Clean oil and air filters use a lot less gas than dirty ones, because the engine does not have to work as hard to draw oil or air through clean ones. If the filters are dirty, the engine has to work harder and therefore uses more gas.

Keeping your oil fresh is important for maintaining your engine performance. A well-lubricated engine is much more efficient.

This is one of the most basic and significant means of effective car maintenance. Regular tune-ups keep your car running efficiently and will extend the life of your car.

2. Turn it off

When you are waiting in your car, turn off the engine when possible. Turn off the air conditioning when you are driving uphill.

3. Drive carefully

You may not realize it, but how you drive your car can have as much impact as how often you drive it. Accelerating rapidly, speeding, or gunning the motor are all wasteful (and dangerous) activities to engage in.

When going uphill, do not try to maintain your exact speed; be willing to slow it down a little and catch up to the speed limit when going downhill. Try to look ahead and anticipate when you will need to stop; slamming on the breaks wastes fuel.

4. Use alternative means of transportation

One of the ways you can responsibly use your car is not to use it! Public transit is inexpensive and far less polluting than cars. You can also make good use your car to transport groups in a car pool.

These are just some of the ways you can reduce carbon footprint of your car. There are benefits for all if we employ some of these techniques; even some insurance companies are offering lower rates to customers who drive their cars less and drive more carefully.