Commentary by Fred Alley
1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron
10/15/2010 - HURLBURT Field, Fla. -- About half of the energy consumed in the state of Florida is spent on transportation. That equals more than $100 billion spent by consumers in the last year alone. Small changes in your driving and vehicle maintenance habits can reap big energy savings.
Here are a few tips:
- TAKE YOUR TIME: One of the biggest energy savings tips is to gently accelerate and brake your vehicle. Quick starts and stops can decrease mileage by up to 12 percent. Looking ahead and letting your car coast to a stop is a good way to improve your gas mileage.
- DRIVE DEFENSIVELY: Don't allow other drivers to dictate your driving habits. Relax on the highway and enjoy driving. Aggressive driving can incite road rage and lower your car's gas mileage by up to 33 percent.
- INFLATE YOUR TIRES: One of the simplest ways to save energy is to keep your tires properly inflated. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that four million gallons of gasoline could be saved nationwide each day for every pound per square inch of under-inflated tires.
- ROLL DOWN YOUR WINDOWS: When you first get into your car, cool it down the old fashioned way by rolling down the windows first. Then start the car and turn on the air conditioning. Flipping the air conditioning on full blast as soon as you start the car wastes gas. In fact, using air conditioning when you don't really need it can decrease gas mileage by as much as 20 percent.
- CHECK YOUR ENGINE: Another tip is to make sure that your car is properly tuned. Check to see if the spark plugs are firing right and the oil and air filters are clean. Old, dirty oil and clogged filters rob your engine of energy efficiency as well as increase air pollution.
- AVOID SPEEDING: Speeding is a very wasteful and expensive habit. Driving faster may or may not get you to your destination faster. If you're speeding, you may have an unpleasant encounter with a police officer. Speeding wastes gas and you may end up spending more time and money at the fuel pumps. Reducing your speed is one of the simplest ways to save energy on the road. The Environmental Protection Agency says that for every one mile-per-hour that you drive above 55 mph, a vehicle loses about one percent in fuel economy.