The EarthSmart Road Trip

Road vacations are another excellent way to practice being more planet friendly. There are many ways to save energy and money if you travel Earthsmart. In fact, you can improve your gas mileage by several percent if you practice just a few simple things. Here’s a checklist you can use to help you make sure your family and vehicle are ready to go!

A Check-Up for Your Vehicle -- First, make sure your vehicle and its parts are properly maintained. Properly inflated tires are a big factor in gas mileage and can also help your tires last longer. Knowing your tires PSI (pounds per square inch) is critical. Some vehicles PSI will vary between front and back tires. I have a pair of old gloves and a tire gauge that I store in my car so I remember once a month to check my pressure.

Eco-Driving Tips -- Once your vehicle is ready to go, it’s time to think about becoming an eco-driver on the road. Remember that you’re taking a road vacation to enjoy the scenery along the way. So observe the speed limits. Some EPA estimates have shown up to 10% better gas mileage at 55 mph rather than 65 mph. According to the Department of Energy, you will pay an extra 10 cents per gallon for every mile per hour you drive over 60 mph.

Keep the Load Down -- The extra bulk of suitcases or wind-surfing boards on the roof of your car can make your car less aero-dynamic and drastically reduce your gas mileage. Also added weight in the trunk can increase gas intake. Try to pack light, and avoid putting items on the roof of the car.

Don’t forget to use the cruise control when you’re loaded down with gear and people. This will help you maintain a steady driving speed cutting down on your gas burned. Select your vehicles overdrive gear whenever you’re cruising down the highway to reduce your engine speed.

Tread Lightly -- If you’re driving a camper or some other low mileage vehicle, bring along a bicycle or scooter for quick errands to the store or the beach. Leaving the gas hog in the campground or a parking lot will save you money and fuel for more fun in the sun.