Friday, November 11, 2011

Simple driving habits that can save you money

Save money and carbon emissions with these driving tips from Mary Hunt, author of Debt-Proof Living.

Stop idling and save $365/year

For every two minutes your car idles, you burn as much fuel as driving 1 mile, according to Rob Schlichting, spokesperson for the California Energy Commission. With gas prices at about $4/gallon nationwide, 10 minutes of idling costs you $1 a day. If you’ll be waiting longer than 30 seconds, turn off the engine.

Follow the 4/40 rule and save $96/year

What’s more cost-effective: air conditioning or open windows? Rule of thumb to conserve two gallons of gas a month: if you’re driving under 40 mph, open all four windows and turn off the a/c. Over 40 mph, close the windows and run the a/c.

Slow down and save $345/year

Every 5 mph you drive over 60 is like paying an extra $0.29 per gallon. Stick to the speed limit and you’ll shave off 12% at the pump.

Don’t drive aggressively and save $916/year

Accelerating forcefully, making abrupt lane changes, and braking sharply all reduce gas mileage, says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at, a leading auto information website. Take it easy behind the wheel and you’ll boost mpg by 30%. That’s about $1.20 less per gallon – a big savings on the $3100 the average family annually spends for gas, according to the Consumer Federation of America.

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