“Gas consumption and prices historically rise with the temperature as more people drive for work or pleasure during the warmer months,” says Sue Pinera, environmental programs director of the Hertz Corp., a leader in the rental car industry.” But you can definitely drive green and save yourself some money without trading in your reliable, reasonably priced family vehicle for one that features the latest eco-friendly technology.”
Summer vacations often mean extra driving, either to your destination in your own vehicle or, if you fly, in a rental car once you’re there. “Of all summer driving, vacation driving can be the most costly and least green,” Pinera points out. “Whether it’s spending time stuck in traffic or driving in circles looking for an attraction site in an unfamiliar location, there are plenty of opportunities to waste gas.”
Car rental agents who work in tourist areas know what works – and doesn’t – when it comes to conserving gas, saving money and preserving the environment while vacation driving. Here are some tips from agents at Hertz for smart vacation driving:
In Your Own Car
- Have your car thoroughly checked out before taking a long road trip. Be sure tires are properly inflated, air and oil filters are fresh, and the air-conditioning is working properly. “Just $100 in preventive maintenance can save you real dollars in terms of fuel efficiency,” Pinera says, “and a great deal of aggravation by avoiding a roadside breakdown.”
- Drive smoothly and considerately. Aggressive driving – fast starts, excessive speed, abrupt maneuvers and constant braking – is not only dangerous, it significantly increases your vehicle’s fuel consumption. “You’ll enjoy the ride more and spend less on gas if you just drive friendly,” Pinera says.
- Use premium fuel only if your car’s manufacturer recommends it for your engine type. Regular fuel costs less, and premium will not improve your fuel efficiency in anything but a high-performance engine.
- Look for gas stations that offer pumps with vapor-recovery nozzles. They look like black plastic accordions attached to the nozzle. These curb emissions. Likewise, never try to “top off” your tank with these nozzles. They’re designed to shut off when the gas tank is full.
- Pack light and avoid putting anything on top of your vehicle. Rooftop storage increases the risk of rollover in some types of vehicles, and increases drag, which lowers fuel efficiency in all vehicles.
- Whenever possible, choose a fuel-efficient model, such as a subcompact, compact or economy car. The good news is that these are usually the least expensive to rent from any company.
- Consider renting a hybrid. Hertz, for example, offers a Green Collection of rental cars that includes fuel-sipping hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and environmentally friendly vehicles such as the Toyota Camry or Hyundai Sonata, which feature an average Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway fuel-efficiency rating of 31 miles per gallon.
– Courtesy of ARA Content