Our Driving Tips to Make your Green Car Even Greener
Although it justifiably feels good to drive a hybrid, a plug-in, or an electric vehicle (EV), it is important to recognize that you may be able to make your green car even greener, increase your fuel economy or miles-per-kilowatt-hour (mpkWh), and save money. This is because no car is immune from the laws of physics. Aerodynamics, weight and friction all impact mpkWh, just as they do miles per gallon. In addition, if you own a plug-in or an EV, unless you are charging from a dedicated solar installation every time you charge, some of your battery power is coming from a dirty grid – especially at night. The dirtier your grid, the less green your car – especially if you don’t pay attention to the laws of physics and lose range.
How do you make your green car even greener? If you own a hybrid, you should be reviewing all our tips for improving your fuel economy. Even hypermilers could learn a thing or two by reading our tips. If you own a plug-in or EV, there are six steps you should take to ensure you get the full return on your green investment (and most of these apply to hybrid drivers as well):
- Maintain proper tire pressure to reduce rolling resistance. If your tires are under-pressure[d], it takes more energy to propel the car, reducing your mpkWh.
- When your tires are worn, replace them with low-rolling resistance tires (LRRTs). Properly inflated LRRTs can substantially reduce rolling resistance, increasing your mpkWh.
- Reduce drag through better aerodynamics
- Windows up at highway speeds. At some point above 68 mph, the drag from having your windows down will make the car less efficient than it would be with the windows up and the AC on.
- Roof racks off. The energy efficiency penalty from driving with an unused roof rack is substantial.
- Aftermarket Aerodynamic Enhancements on. Our research has shown that Prius drivers, for example, can increase their MPG by over 20% in some cases by placing these devices (which are easily removable) on the rear spoiler.
- Reduce weight – don’t lug unnecessary junk around. It’s like letting air out of your tires.
- Cool and heat the interior of your car in the most efficient manner possible, which may mean using seat warmers instead of the heater and rolling your windows down without the AC – at least for a few minutes.
- Charge during the day as much as possible, when renewables supply more electricity to the grid.
If you drive a green car, that’s awesome. You are making an important contribution to improving air quality and public health and curbing the pace of climate change. But chances are that you can get even greener. So join the rest of the Driving2Save community in pledging to follow one or more of the tips above. It’s easier than you think – and it will save you money too.