Photo: Via Popular Mechanics
Have you checked out the new third generation Toyota Prius 2010? Maybe 80, 90 miles to the gallon, solar panels on the roof come on! I need that.
So my husband and I are having serious green car envy and wondering if and how we can justify turning in our two-year-old Prius for the newer version when it comes out next January. Assuming we can even get our hands on one. Those little guys fly off the lots like pop tarts from a toaster.Ryan, my husband, and I have a Subaru and a Prius. He drives more than I do, so he takes the Prius. I take the Subaru on short errands back and forth to Whole Foods, yoga classes, the airport stuff like that (when I'm in town I work from the house so my daily commute is simply up a flight of stairs). Though it's not a hybrid, we chose the Subaru because they're such a good auto manufacturer. But now the thing drives me crazy. He's running around town checking in at 50-60 mpg and I'm struggling at well below that. So we think, "can we keep the Prius but get rid of the Subaru and beg (or patiently wait) our way into another, newer Prius?"
We realize, at the end of the day we don't need to get the new Prius. And we know the eco downsides that come with that disposable car syndrome -— trading cars in for newer ones every couple of years. Truthfully, we probably won't do a thing. So instead, I do everything I can to make sure I'm optimizing the fuel efficiency in our solo gas engine vehicle.
Here are a few of my favorite tips.
Photo: Via worldcarfans.com
Aggressive Driving Kills Fuel Efficiency
Crazy and aggressive driving (rapid accelerations, sudden breaking we're all guilty) can kill your fuel efficiency by 5% in town and 30% on the highway. In fact, every 5 miles per hour you drive over 60 (65 mph, 70mph, etc.) equates to paying an extra 30 cents per gallon. Drive across state to see your in-laws and you're in some serious trouble...or debt!
Keep Tires Full of Air
Every car tire has its own recommended PSI (pounds per square inch). This is the point to which you should inflate your tires. And if you keep them at that optimal PSI you can improve your fuel efficiency by 3%.
Keep Your Car Light
Now be honest here. Do you really need everything you lug around? Because if you're carrying an extra hundred pounds, you're losing 2% fuel efficiency. Ditch the golf clubs or that extra stroller or a passenger. Your call.
Change Your Air Filter
Keeping your car running with a clean air filter (yes, sometimes you do have to listen to the guy at the oil change place when he suggests one) can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10%.
By most estimates, cars release around a pound of CO2 for every mile driven. Don't drive a mile and that's a pound less of harmful greenhouse gas emissions that you're responsible for. Every mile counts. Carpool, combine errands into one trip, work from home one day a week, ride a bike, take the bus, walk.
Unfortunately, time spent idling in the drive-thru or school pick up line also equates to CO2 emissions. If your car is going to sit for longer than 30 seconds or a minute, just shut the car off.
So, raise a glass. Here's to no more green car envy and being happy with the suddenly very fuel efficient vehicle you're already driving.
More on the Toyota Prius
::Toyota to Boost Prius Hybrid Production by 70% Next Year
::Toyota Unveils Plug-in Prius
::Solar Powered Prius Could Be First Hybrid With Solar
::Small Cars are HOT, Prius Hybrid Waiting Lists are Getting Longer
::Prius Most Popular Car in Silicon Valley