Seventeen ways to lower your fuel bill

Simple strategies for saving on gas and reducing emissions

Transportation is a huge slice of our carbon footprint – and most of it is from the fuel we burn in our personal vehicles.  These days, that fuel is pretty hard on our wallets too.  So here are some simple tips to save on fuel:

For small savings:

  1. Be a nudge breaker in traffic: advancing a meter or two every time the vehicle ahead of you does won’t get you to your destination a second sooner, so resist the urge to nudge ahead; you’ll save a shot of gas and a puff of emissions
  2. Buy gas at a station along your regular route: the pennies you save when you go out of your way are usually more than offset by the time and fuel you end up wasting
  3. Pick the first parking space you come to, versus driving around to find one nearer the building’s entrance (besides, walking is healthy!)
  4. Choose low rolling resistance tires.
  5. Remove junk and extra weight from your vehicle; remove roof racks if you’re not using them.

For medium savings:

  1. Keep tires properly inflated and your vehicle well maintained
  2. Don’t drive kids to school; choose options like walking, biking or taking the bus
  3. Don’t idle: get into the habit of turning off your engine if you expect to be stopped for more than 60 seconds (most European countries recommend even less – some as low as 10 seconds!).  More here.
  4. Avoid automatic starters because they usually lead to too much idling: even on the coldest winter day, vehicles warm up fastest by being driven
  5. Avoid drive-throughs (and yes, even with EVs, because every vehicle in a drive-through causes the vehicles behind it to idle longer)

For large savings:

  1. Speed up and slow down gently: imagine an egg taped under your right toe, and your goal is to get to your destination without smashing the egg.  Anticipate stops and coast as much as you can before braking.
  2. When possible, limit your speed to 95 KM/h; wind resistance goes way up after that, causing your engine to work harder and burn much more fuel.  For example, a typical vehicle uses 20% more fuel at going 120 KM/h than it uses at 100 KM/h.
  3. Minimize your use of air conditioning; opt for fresh air instead, especially at low speeds.  More tips here.
  4. Make fuel efficiency a top consideration the next time you change vehicles.  Dare to do an honest assessment of whether you really need AWD, an SUV or a truck.
  5. Make a commitment to buy electric for ENORMOUS savings and emission reductions; see available models here.
  6. Consider car sharing where the option exists
  7. Walk, bike, take transit or carpool – all are better (and better for you) than driving!

More tips here. Remember last Green Ideas, when I invited readers to see fossil fuel companies for what they are, and to strive to use less of their product?  Well, here you go – 17 ways you can do just that, and save a bundle!

Thank you – 2023 Terry Fox ‘Run’ AKA Beach Cleanup

Huge thanks to everyone who was able to support my 2023 Terry Fox ‘Run’ beach cleanup.  As of today, $12,726 has been raised, just shy of my $15,000 goal.  Here’s a two-minute recap of a glorious day, a wonderful team and a mountain of trash.

In the news:

Global temperatures soared to a new record in September – ‘absolutely, gobsmackingly bananas’ in the words of one climate scientist.

Europe launches its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, to protect local companies that have to pay for the pollution they generate from being undercut by products from countries where manufacturers can pollute for free.

Wow – fully-electric EVs made up 87% of all vehicle sales in Norway in September; plug-in EVs another 6%!!


“To the powerful, I can only repeat this question: ‘What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power, only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?'”
Pope Francis, Laudate Deum, October 4, 2023

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