Today’s Green Tip Tuesdays comes from Lauren Fix who is the leading female expert on cars. I chose three frequently asked questions that often have a lot of myths surrounding them. Here’s are the debates…and the truth:
The debate: should I turn off my car or let it idle?
The truth: With today’s fuel injected cars if you’re going to idle more than 10 seconds…shut it off! Today’s cars use a lot less fuel to start them then our old ones did. Lauren’s words of wisdom “Avoid excessive idling as a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when sitting idle.”
2) Warming up your car in cold weather
The debate: is it good for your car to let it warm up before driving in cold weather?
The truth: according to Lauren, “Although the majority of the driving population may consider this to be true, it can actually cause damage to vehicles if done continuously. Instead of letting your car warm up in your driveway, drive it slowly and easily the first few miles until it comes up to operating temperature.” She goes on to say that warming it for a minute or two is sufficient.
3) High-octane gas.
The debate: putting better gas into your car will save you money over the long haul as it has more cleaners in it and will make more horsepower and better fuel economy.
The truth: “The proper fuel for your vehicle should be what your owner’s manual suggests. Going to a higher octane will not save you money in the long haul. The increased cost and the minimal increase in mpg’s will be so minor that it would take 10+ years to make your saving worth it on just that car. The regular unleaded gas will work in any newer car and may decrease your power on high performance vehicles.”
So in short: turn off the car if you’re going to be waiting more than 10 seconds, don’t needlessly “warm it up” on cold days – it doesn’t help and may hurt, and finally use the cheap gas if you’ve got a newer car and if you have a “high performance car” and you don’t care about having the highest power, you can use the cheap stuff too. It won’t hurt your car, you just may not have it’s full force of power.
A note from me: in some high performance cars, if you use low octane gas you may hear a slight “pinging sound” when you turn off the car. If you find this is happening to you, go up a level in octane and it should go away. Don’t worry, you haven’t ruined your car!
You can read more helpful information from Lauren at her website: http://www.laurenfix.com
What do you do to save money and be a little greener with your car? Tell us in the comments below!