Green Driving

Summer vacations with long road trips are a great time to think about saving money and gas. Just because gas is less expensive these days it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice green driving tips. Here are some from the Minnesota Commerce Department and U.S. Department of Energy.

  • Minimize idling your car by turning off your engine when your vehicle is parked for more than 10 seconds. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use, adding up to 3 cents of wasted fuel per minute.
  • Drive sensibly and avoid aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking. Aggressive driving can lower your highway gas mileage by up to 33 percent and your city mileage by 5 percent.
  • Avoid high speeds. When driving above 50 mph, gas mileage drops rapidly. For every 5 mph above 50 mph, it’s like paying an additional 19 cents per gallon.
  • Reduce drag by placing items inside the car or trunk rather than on roof racks, which can decrease your fuel economy by up to 8 percent in city driving and up to 25 percent at freeway speeds.
  • Avoid keeping heavy items in your car. An extra 100 pounds could increase your gas costs by up to three cents per gallon.
  • Combine errands. Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
  • Check into telecommuting, carpooling, public transit and active transportation like bicycling or walking to save on fuel and car maintenance costs. Many urban areas provide carpool lanes that are usually less congested, which means you will get to work and home faster and more refreshed!
    Cost estimates above assume an average price of $2.69 per gallon. Source:

    The U.S. Department of Energy offers more information on fuel economy, including car maintenance tips and information on fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles and electric vehicles. Read more.

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    Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the division’s Energy Information Center at or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

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