Drive Green, Drive Safe!

green image of earth with plant growing out of itI wrote this article 14 years ago when gas prices rose by 6 cents a litre between leaving for work and driving home one day. The information that I shared then appears to be even more appropriate today with both prices and climate change to consider. Drivers can choose to drive economically and that choice can also result in improved road safety.

Choose Your Speed, Choose Your Cost

The speed you choose and the way you maintain it has a significant effect on your gas mileage.

Driving at a steady speed as opposed to accelerating hard on the green and braking just as hard for the next red will save fuel and minimize wear and tear on your drive train and brakes.

Keeping with the flow of traffic rather than dodging from lane to lane to get ahead could save as much as 20%. That adds up to a considerable saving over time.

Higher Speed, Higher Cost

Increasing speed from 100 km/h to 120 costs you 20% more fuel. Reducing your speed from 100 km/h to 90 can save you 10%. Aggressive city driving might save you 4% on the clock, but it can cost you up to 37% at the pump and produce five times the threat to your lungs through increased emissions.

Tips For Saving Fuel and Money

  • Buy an efficient vehicle
  • Avoid idling
  • Remove unnecessary weight in your vehicle
  • Check and maintain your tire pressure at least monthly
  • Remove roof and bicycle racks when they are not in use
  • Use air conditioning only when really needed
  • Shift your manual transmission to avoid high engine RPM
  • Combine your trips
  • Use alternative transportation methods

Learn How For Free!

Natural Resources Canada offers a free on line ecoDriving course via Stantec. The course takes about 30 minutes to complete and suggests that applying the techniques show could save as much as 25% on your yearly fuel bill regardless of the type of vehicle that your drive.

Efficiency = Safety

Anticipation of what the traffic around you is going to do is an important key to efficient driving. It's also a critical skill for safe driving.

Males increase the possibility of a crash by half again and females may triple the risk by driving aggressively. Instead of concentrating on getting there first, think how aggressive behaviour can turn a 199.9 cent litre into the equivalent of a 273.9 cent litre and put you and others at risk.

The bottom line? Think green, drive defensively, save money and save lives. Simple!

Unfortunately to take this course one has to turn off ones pop-up blocker which I refuse to do. Great way to leave yourselves open for viruses.

You can choose to allow them only for a known safe site, and you can block them entirely with PiHole. I have this running on a Raspberry Pi 3 for my home network and like it.

Love to play the green light from the right lane and try to keep rolling like a trucker. So many times I have had people upset at me as they get into the left lane accelerate hard to the next red light. Stop and then I will pass them again. If you want to be aggressive take it to the bedroom not the highway.

Shall I say fuel is not expensive enough for some.

Mythbusters had an episode that debunked the use of AC in a vehicle, and an increase in fuel consumption. Most AC compressors run, while driving nowadays. My vents blow ice cold in a 2016 chevy Silverado, with the AC off.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

What that episode says is that it is more fuel efficient to drive with your windows down to cool the inside of your vehicle than it is to use air conditioning.

Natural Resources Canada also says that using the air conditioning uses fuel.

Logically, you cannot run the air conditioning compressor for nothing. No compressor, no air conditioning.

Here is a report that some may find interesting.…

I use my AC or the vents as the sound of the wind buffeting bothers my ears. It is surprising how warm a day it can be and on the open highway just using the vents and the fan keeps the vehicle cool.

A trick I was told years back was to keep the fan turned to a higher speed and adjust the temperature with the temp knob. If you turn the AC to max then turn the fan off you are not getting full advantage of the cooled air and the AC works steady. This also works best even when heating and helps keep the windows from fogging up.

I won't say all vehicles but everything I have owned since the 80's when you turn the defrost on your AC runs.

In reply to by James_O

I won't say all vehicles but everything I have owned since the 80's when you turn the defrost on your AC runs.

That's something a lot of drivers probably don't realize - but the cause of the windshield and other windows to fog up is the driver and passengers, emitting moist, warm air in the vehicle every time they exhale. And the reason that having the A/C getting turned on automatically is because it's dry air, which will enhance the defogging. Don't worry about it making the interior colder, it will only help to clear the windows (and if I'm not mistaken, it will have been passed through the front heater).

From an environmental point of view, running the A/C at anytime seems counterproductive due to the use of energy. But like many mechanical features of a vehicle, the worst thing you can do is not to use it from time to time, in terms of longevity and reliability.

But when you need to see where you're going, that's the most important factor. It's also why in low temperatures, many of us still 'warm up' our vehicles in the driveway before heading off to our destination. Because it's safer.

As an aside, I don't ever want to own a vehicle where I have to start pushing computer buttons on some dashboard screen to operate the climate controls. This is a major distraction, and totally unnecessary. It shouldn't need more than a glance at the dashboard to allow you operate the climate controls, in fact. And with good familiarity and normal human propreoception you probably don't even need that glance ...