Public Affairs Director
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April 21, 2017 – With Earth Day 2017 celebrations this week, AAA offers drivers some tips on how they can drive ‘greener’ and save money in the process.
AAA South Dakota understands the importance of recycling car batteries in terms of reducing toxic waste and cutting the unnecessary production of new materials. Sixty to 80 percent of car batteries consist of hard rubber or plastic. The lead and sulfuric acid can also be recycled. AAA South Dakota expects to replace batteries in nearly 1,380 vehicles in South Dakota this year as part of its member-based mobile battery service. The auto club recycles all of them.
“Many Americans are trying to make more environmentally conscious decisions, and that is especially top of mind this week as we near Earth Day 2017, Saturday, April 22,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokeswoman for AAA South Dakota. “There are four primary tricks we all can do to lessen our environmental impact behind the wheel while saving money as well.”
1. Imagine Eggs under the Pedals
The easiest and most effective way to drive ‘greener’ is to simply change our driving styles. Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, accelerate gently rather than making a ‘jack rabbit’ start.
“Imagine there are eggs beneath your gas and brake pedals. You want to apply pressure gently to the pedals in order to avoid breaking the egg,” said Buskohl. “Changing your driving style can have a tremendous impact on the amount of gas your car uses.”
The U.S. Department of Energy reports aggressive driving can reduce a car’s fuel economy up to 33 percent.
2. Just Slow Down
Getting to a destination faster does not necessarily mean getting there “greener.” The fuel efficiency of most vehicles decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.
“When AAA says slow down, that doesn’t mean becoming a moving roadblock on the highway. Safety should remain paramount. However, simply driving the speed limit or a few miles per hour less can reduce fuel consumption up to 23 percent,” said Buskohl.
Each 5 mph driven over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
3. Keep Your Car in Shape
A car that’s not properly maintained can produce more exhaust emissions and consume more fuel than necessary. “Dust off the owner’s manual and locate the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule inside. Making sure all recommended maintenance is up to date will help your car run with optimum efficiency,” said Buskohl.
AAA recommends having any vehicle problems, including illuminated warning lights, addressed by a qualified, trained technician. Minor adjustments and repairs can effect emissions and fuel economy by up to four percent, while more serious problems, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can reduce gas mileage as much as 40 percent.
4. Think and Plan Ahead
Think ahead before heading out to the store or another errand. Determine all the places you need to go that day and try to combine multiple trips into one. Several short trips starting with a cold engine each time can use twice as much gas as a single longer trip when the engine is warm. Also, plan the route in advance to drive the fewest miles, eliminate backtracking and avoid heavy traffic times and areas.
AAA can help drivers plan efficient routes for their errands and locate the best places to stop for gas along the way. Motorists can map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com/mobile.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and nearly 97,000 members in South Dakota. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.