We’d all love to drive Leo’s car, but those of us who simply aren’t going to own a Prius anytime in the near future can still earn green stars in the automotive category. Here are some other ways (besides the obvious—ride-sharing) to save fuel and money when you hit the road with KITT (remember how cool David Hasselhoff was in the 80s?):
Pump It Up: Keeping your tires pumped up like Ah-nold is a great way to conserve fuel. Greenercars.com says that for every three pounds your tires fall below recommended pressure, your fuel economy goes down by about one percent. Incentive: tires that are properly inflated last longer, which puts even more green back in your pocket.
Keep a Lid on It: According to the Car Care Council, loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year. Cap it like a tax.
Shady Parking. No, don’t make a special effort to park at the dodgy end of town. But do, if you have the option, park someplace that offers a little shade. Like someplace with a few of those, you know, whatchacallems…. trees. No one likes to get back into a sauna of a car; moreover, if you leave your car out to melt in the sun, you’ll lose gas through evaporation.
Good Venting: Venting during an episode of violent road rage while you’re merging onto Route 1 is a bad idea. Cleaning out your vent when you get home is a good idea. According to Bankrate.com, “Replacing a clogged air filter could improve your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent and save you 15 cents a gallon.” Sold.
This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2007. The story was moved to MNN.com.