There are currently no such things as "environmentally friendly cars", but there are things we can do to reduce the negative impacts our cars have on the environment. Many involve increasing fuel efficiency, ultimately saving us money.

Use It Less

Driving fewer miles will help reduce air pollution. Plan ahead, combine several errands into one trip.

Carpools and public transportation reduce the number of cars on the road and miles driven. Check into carpools already available through your employer. Arrange to carpool with co-workers, even carpooling a couple of days a week is beneficial. If you own or manage a business, create incentives that encourage carpooling among employees. For assistance in organizing a carpool, call 1-800-292-POOL.

Try walking or biking for short errands and leisure activities.

Fuel Efficiency

When purchasing a new car, look for the most fuel efficient car available in the category that meets your needs. Standard transmission cars are more efficient than automatics.

Get regular tune-ups; tune-ups improve gas mileage and car performance. Replace worn spark plugs. Worn spark plugs cause poor starting, rough idling and reduced gas mileage.

Keeping your car properly tuned can increase fuel efficiency by up to 8%. Make sure air filters are clean. Dirty air filters increase fuel consumption.

Use an energy conserving grade of motor oil. The container will be labeled as an EC grade. Use multigrade, an EC multigrade can improve your mileage by as much as 1.5%. An EC-II rated oil can improve mileage by 2.7% over single grades.

Driving at a steady speed is more fuel efficient than continually speeding up and slowing down. This is true both in heavy traffic on open roads.

Avoid driving during peak traffic, when stop-and-go traffic is at its worst. This will not only save you gas, but will reduce the wear and tear on your car.

Start and stop evenly. Gently accelerating reduces gas consumption. Coasting to a stop lets the car's momentum, not its fuel, get you where you want to go.


Replacing worn bias tires with radial tires can increase your gas mileage by as much as 5% in the city, 10% on the highway. Radials also last longer, so they don't contribute as much to the waste tire disposal problem.

Mileage can also be improved by maintaining tire inflation at the higher end of the recommended range and correct wheel alignment.

Air Conditioning

When buying a new car think seriously about whether you really need an air conditioner. Air conditioners reduce fuel efficiency by adding weight tot the car and can be a major source of the release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, ozone-depleting chemicals) into the atmosphere. Cars are now available with CFC-free air conditioners. If you need an air conditioner, consider purchasing a car which has a CFC-free air conditioner. You can reduce your need for air conditioning by buying a light colored car with a light interior, it will stay cooler than a dark one. Tinted glass will also help keep the car cool.

More Ways to Reduce Air Pollution

Starting in January 1995, clean gasolines are being sold at all stations in Delaware.

Don't idle the engine unnecessarily. Contrary to popular belief, turning off and starting an engine uses less gasoline than letting the engine idle for 30 seconds. Stop the engine if it is idling at a drive-up window or in traffic jams. Limit engine warmups in winter.

Don't "top off" or, even worse, overfill the gas tank. Even if you don't spill gasoline, vapors can escape, leading to the creation of smog.

Washing Your Car

Use an automatic shut-off nozzle on your hose when you wash your car, and let the water drain onto your lawn and garden rather than down the gutter. Better yet, take your car to a commercial car wash that recycles water.

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