Cold Weather? Check Your Tire Pressure …

Did you know that cold temperatures can affect the fuel efficiency of your vehicle?
A decrease in fuel efficiency coupled with an increase in gasoline prices can leave drivers out in the cold, both environmentally and fiscally.
Use simple steps to ensure optimal fuel efficiency and maintain a green ride.
• Check your tire pressure. Every time the ambient temperature drops ten degrees, the pressure in your tires drops one to two pounds per square inch, or PSI. Always maintain your tire pressure at the level recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. The recommended tire pressure is usually located on a label inside the driver’s door frame and NOT on the tire.
• Perform maintenance specifically recommended for winter driving. Ensure that your battery and tires are in peak condition and that your automotive fluids – especially antifreeze – are at proper levels. Always perform vehicle maintenance at locations designated for automobile care and always dispose of automotive fluids properly to prevent pollution.
• Combine your trips. Several short trips from a cold start can consume twice as much fuel as one long trip with a warm engine.
• Ensure that your gas cap is seated properly. Improperly seated gas caps allow nearly 200 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the United States.
• Use only the manufacturer-recommended grade of motor oil and octane level of gasoline in your vehicle.
• Avoid aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking are dangerous habits on icy roads. According to the United States Department of Energy, these activities decrease gas mileage by an average of 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
• Drive your vehicle as soon as you ignite the engine and avoid idling. Idling wastes fuel and contributes to air pollution. Fort Bragg has a “no idle” policy – Master Policy 30, 6.d.4. Remember: an idle vehicle’s fuel efficiency is zero miles per gallon.
• Instead of relying on heat from your engine to remove frost and ice, use an ice removal tool.
• If possible, park in a garage. The engine on a sheltered vehicle reaches its optimal temperature and thus its optimal fuel economy more efficiently than the engine on a vehicle exposed to extreme environmental conditions.
• Clean your vehicle. Excess weight diminishes fuel efficiency.
• Remove cargo carriers, bicycle racks, brush guards and other accessories when they are not in use. Such items can create aerodynamic drag, which contributes to a decrease in fuel efficiency.
• When driving on the highway, use cruise control and overdrive gears where appropriate.
• Avoid products that claim to improve fuel efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency has tested gasoline conserving additives and devices, and they have discovered that these products offer no or few benefits to fuel economy.
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