With oil prices surging due to supply chain issues and Russia’s war with Ukraine, conservation has become essential in combating high fuel prices. Adopting eco-friendly driving practices can help cut fuel use and carbon pollution. This article is part of a 3-article series on fuel-efficient driving, focusing on various factors that affect fuel efficiency and providing tips for eco-friendly driving.
Seasonal Factors Affecting Fuel Efficiency
Spring and summer weather generally improves fuel efficiency, but air conditioning use can reduce it. On the other hand, winter weather and cold temperatures increase fuel usage. Winter tires add road friction and reduce mileage but provide extra winter grip. Keeping the car clear of snow and ice maximizes aerodynamic efficiency. Driving in rain, snow, and on gravel roads adds rolling resistance and increases energy usage. It’s important to be aware of these factors and adjust your driving habits accordingly.
Reducing Carbon Footprint with Fuel Efficiency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average car leaves 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Smaller cars tend to be more fuel-efficient and have a lower carbon footprint. However, tradeoffs may need to be made for comfort and eco-friendliness. For example, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is an eco-friendly car with ample legroom for front and rear passengers, a spacious interior, and a large trunk, making it ideal for families or individuals who need to transport a lot of cargo.
Winter Challenges to Fuel Efficiency
Gas mileage decreases in winter due to multiple reasons, including cold weather causing drag on a vehicle due to dense air, rolling resistance on a vehicle increasing due to cold air affecting tire pressure, and winter blends of gasoline having less energy per gallon than summer blends. Winter fuel requires an increase in Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), and idling your car for too long decreases gas mileage. Engine and transmission friction also increases in cold weather due to cold engine oil and other drive-line fluids.
Tips for Maximizing Mileage in Cold Weather
To maximize the mileage in cold weather, consider keeping tires properly inflated, avoiding idling, using seat warmers instead of cabin heat, and using a block heater to warm the engine before starting. Additionally, closing windows and using the air conditioning on the highway can save fuel. By implementing these eco-friendly driving tips, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and save money on fuel costs.