The U.S. Department of Energy has calculated that drivers by following smart driving techniques can cut gas consumption by 20 percent. The V.I. Energy Office offers these tips:
1. Before getting into your car, ask yourself "Is this trip necessary?"
2. On short trips, try walking or bicycling. It's good exercise.
3. Consider car-pooling and share the gas bill and ride.
4. Always use the shortest route and avoid sightseeing trips and bottlenecks.
5. Organize activities and perform as many errands as possible in one trip.
6. If possible, avoid driving during rush-hour and other peak traffic periods.
7. When bargain hunting, check newspaper ads, Internet and use your telephone.
8. Keep brakes properly adjusted. Dragging brakes increases resistance.
9. Make a list and do all the grocery shopping once or twice a week.
10. Let the kids run some of the errands. Let them walk to school, too.
11. Public transportation may be cheaper, especially when traveling alone.
12. Pack as little in your car as necessary so it has less weight to carry.
13. Shop around for service stations with the lowest gasoline prices.
14. Check to see if there are "self service" gas stations in your area.
15. Don't speed. Cars get about 21 percent more mileage at 55 mph then at 70 mph.
16. Better planning reduces the need for speeding, to get there in time.
17. When starting your car, don't idle it for more than 30 seconds. Today's cars are designed to be driven almost immediately.
18. If you must stop for more than 30 seconds, don't idle your car. The engine is more fuel efficient if your turn it off and restart it.
19. Drive evenly with a steady foot. Avoid jiggling the accelerator.
20. Keep tires properly inflated at all times.
21. Use air conditioning only when necessary. Try opening the window.
22. Avoid sudden starts. When starting, press accelerator slowly.
23. Avoid panic stops. When possible, coast to stops such as traffic lights.
24. Keep wheels aligned for better mileage - Longer tire life, too.
25. Don't forget to release the emergency brake before pulling away.
26. Never rev engine before killing it. This wastes gas, wears out cylinders.
27. When you see a hill ahead, build up speed before you reach it, then maintain your speed on the slope. (If you must accelerate on the hill, you will use much more fuel). Then coast down the other side..
28. Make certain your gas cap fits properly.
29. Use regular gas instead of premium.
30. Use only your right foot for accelerating and braking. That way you can't accidentally ride the brake and use excessive gas.
31. Shift into high gear as soon as possible. If you have automatic transmission, lift your foot from the accelerator about one second early.
32. Pass other cars as soon as you see you are overtaking them. Don't wait.
33. Keep your car properly tuned for top fuel efficiency.
34. Avoid cars with gas-consuming options such as air conditioning; power equipment such as window, door locks, etc.; automatic transmission, etc.
35. Drive a car with light colored exterior and interior, to reflect light, heat. Tinted glass also prevents heat buildup.
36. Use radial tires for less friction between tire and road.
37. When driving, keep your eyes moving and your feet still!
38. Keep your steering wheel still too. The more you weave back and forth, the farther your car has to travel and the more gas is consumed.
39. Don't overfill your gas tank. It could leak or spill in heat or on a hill.
40. When you see a hill ahead, build up speed before you reach it, then maintain your speed on the slope. (If you must accelerate on the hill, you will use much more fuel). Then coast down the other side.
For more information about energy efficiency or alternative energy please call the V.I. Energy Office at 773.1082 on St. Croix and 774.3320 on St. Thomas.
BioDiesel Feedstock/Production Feasibility Study, Demonstration
Target audience(s): Fleet Operators
The VIEO entered into a partnership with the DPNR Division of Environment Protection, and the St. Croix Vocational School Diesel Technology Program, applied and received a grant from the U.S. EPA to conduct a feasibility study on existing feedstock for biodiesel production. VIEO will provide 50% cost share in the joint effort to promote the use and implementation of biodiesel from used vegetable oils to be used in diesel engines for the local government fleet. Additionally, a feasibility study will be conducted on the development of infrastructure to support biodiesel.
Transportation Energy Efficiency Program
Target audience(s): Private and Public Fleet Operators
Territorial residents attending VIEO town meetings were adamant about the need for more programs to reduce energy consumption in transportation. Through collaboration with the Department of Public Works Office of Transportation a feasibility study will be conducted on the potential of Park and Ride, Carpooling/Ridesharing, Bikes Lanes and High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) lanes for the Territory. Additionally, the VIEO will offer financial assistance for the marketing mass transportation programs specifically designed to enhance ridership. Projects will include promotion of gasoline electric hybrids for Motor Pool Messengers, Delay sensors for red traffic light signals, pv lighting for illumination of bus route schedules within selected bus shanties, and the marketing of student and senior citizens discounts and motorists incentives.
For tips on improving gas mileage click here.