Brochure version for printing: Save Green on Gasoline
On the Road
The typical Missouri vehicle uses approximately 600 gallons of fuel and is driven more than 16,000 miles each year. With more than 4.2 million registered vehicles in Missouri, that adds up to a lot of miles driven, gasoline consumed and money spent at the gas pump. The following tips, when taken together and followed consistently, can help Missouri drivers Save Green on Gasoline.
There are several ways to reduce fuel consumption and save money. When possible, eliminate the use of motor vehicles altogether by telecommuting, bicycling or walking. When motor vehicle travel is necessary:
Where it is available, public transportation may be the least expensive way to commute. If there is not a stop nearby, consider driving to a point where you can board the transit service. One person switching from driving alone to riding the bus or train to work can reduce transportation costs up to $1,500 annually. For more information call:
- in Columbia – Columbia Transit, 573-874-7282
- in Jefferson City – JEFFTRAN 573-634-6477
- in Kansas City – KCATA, 816-221-0660
- in St. Joseph - St. Joseph Transit 816-233-6700
- in St. Louis – MetroBus and MetroLink (light rail), 314-231-2345
- in Springfield – CU Transit, 417-831-8782
- OATS (transportation services in 87 Missouri counties)
- Amtrak, 800-USA-RAIL
Even if it is just once or twice a week, carpooling saves money and helps reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Regularly sharing rides to work with a coworker can effectively cut commuting costs in half. Local Rideshare programs can connect workers with prospective carpool partners. For more information about Rideshare programs call:
- MoDOT Share the Ride Statewide Program
- Kansas City - Rideshare - 816-842-RIDE
- St. Louis - RideFinders - (800) VIP-RIDE
- Springfield – Carpool Matching Service - 417-831-RIDE
Some companies offer their employees the opportunity to multiply their carpooling savings by establishing vanpools. Using company vans, up to 15 individuals can travel the same distance for a fraction of the cost per person of driving alone.
Good Driving Techniques
A careful driver may get 20 percent more miles per gallon than the average driver and 50 percent more than a wasteful one.
- If more than one car is available, use the most energy efficient one as often as possible.
- Drive at a steady pace.
- Plan driving routes to avoid congested areas. Avoid rush hour and peak traffic times when possible.
- Avoid extended warm-ups. Don’t rev up the engine. Instead, accelerate gently and drive slowly for a mile or so.
- Accelerate smoothly and moderately. Achieve the desired speed and then keep steady pressure on the accelerator.
- Do not let the engine idle for more than a minute. It takes less gasoline to restart the car than it does to let it idle.
- Minimize braking. Anticipate speed changes. Let off the accelerator immediately after noticing a red light or slowed traffic ahead. Observe the posted speed limit. On the highway, most automobiles get about 20 percent more miles per gallon at 55 mph than they do at 70 mph.
- When the air conditioner is on, make sure the air is being recirculated instead of bringing in hot, outside air. If it is cool enough, use flow-through ventilation instead of rolling down the windows.
Regular car maintenance can mean greater fuel economy and dollars saved.
- Have your car tuned at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Regular tune-ups extend engine life and improve performance. A poorly tuned car can use as much as 3 to 9 percent more gasoline than a well-tuned one. The tune-up will pay for itself in gasoline savings and car reliability.
- Keep the engine air filter clean. Clogged filters waste gasoline.
- Use the gasoline octane and oil grade recommended for your car. Most cars run fine on regular. Regular grade fuel costs 10 percent less than premium grade. Look for the best price and limit purchases when prices are high.
- Check the tire pressure regularly. Under-inflated tires increase gasoline consumption. Every pound of pressure under the recommended pounds per square inch can cause a 2 percent loss in fuel economy.
Buying a Vehicle
Other considerations when purchasing a new car:
- Decide how you will use the car. A small, highly fuel-efficient model may suit your needs.
- Shop around, try several models and check the fuel economy label posted on each car’s window.
- Most major car and truck manufacturers now offer alternative fuel and/or hybrid vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the internal combustion engine of a conventional vehicle with the battery and electric motor of an electric vehicle, resulting in as much as twice the fuel economy of conventional vehicles.
When selecting options, consider these points:
- Automatic transmissions generally use more gas, especially on small cars.
- Top-quality radial tires, particularly steel-belted radials, will usually result in 5 to 20 percent savings by reducing rolling resistance.
- A light exterior and interior color and tinted windows will reduce heat build-up.
- Cruise control will maintain a steady speed and may be a worthwhile investment.
Driving for Fun
For many Americans, driving is more than a form of transportation – it also is a form of recreation. Family road trips – short and long – are traditions for many. Whether it’s a weekend trip or a long vacation, careful attention to details can substantially cut gasoline use and save money.
- For a vacation, choose a location where a car isn’t needed to get around once you arrive.
- Discover those treasures at home. Remember Missouri’s 85 state parks and historic sites, as well as its many other tourist destinations.
- Pack carefully. Unnecessary weight in the trunk will cut fuel economy. Baggage on a roof rack creates air resistance and decreases miles-per-gallon.
- Take a train, bus or plane instead of the family car. Let someone else do the driving. Save gasoline and enjoy the ride.
Planning is the key word. Plan driving routes and combine errands, plan regular car maintenance, and plan vacations – all with fuel economy in mind. Money saved from carpooling to work can help pay for vacations and pleasure trips. Remember – energy-efficient driving is safe, saves money, conserves fuel, extends the life of your car and moderates our dependence on foreign sources of oil.