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Five easy ways to drive green


Last updated 9/4/2008 at Noon

It only takes a single car to substantially impact the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average car emits as much as 575 pounds of carbon monoxide into the air each year. Until automakers develop a more environmentally friendly automobile, it’s up to each driver to help reduce their car’s footprint on the planet. Here are five easy ways to drive green without buying a new car or drastically changing one’s driving habits:

1. Simply follow the maintenance recommendations in the owner’s manual. An out-of-tune engine can increase emissions and fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent. Always follow the car manufacturer’s suggested tune-up schedule to ensure a vehicle is performing at its best.

2. Upgrade motor oil. Some of the newer high-performance synthetic motor oils have been proven to significantly reduce emissions. They also improve fuel economy by as much as five percent and produce notable horsepower and torque increases. So, it is possible to switch to an environmentally friendly product without giving up performance.

3. Regularly replace the air filter. A clogged air filter can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. Air filters keep impurities from damaging the interior of the engine, so replacing dirty filters will save gas and protect the engine.

4. Keep the tires properly inflated. The US Energy Department reports that under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to six percent. One study estimates that 50 to 80 percent of the tires rolling on US roads are under inflated. Astonishingly, up to two billion gallons of gas could be saved each year simply by properly inflating tires.

5. Avoid topping off the gas tank. Topping off releases gas fumes into the air and cancels the benefits of the pump’s anti-pollution devices. Capping the tank once the pump automatically shuts off is safer and reduces pollution.

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