Making the Most Out of Your Car
We love our cars. We love the freedom and mobility they provide us. And, quite frankly, we have a fabulous roadway and highway infrastructure. The only real variable, then, is how efficient your car is. This can vary wildly, so you need to understand a little bit more about cars to ensure you have the right one for your lifestyle, and that it's running optimally - because not all cars are created equally and even if they were, nobody drives the same way.
Make the most out of your car, and reduce the impact you place on the environment
Find out how you can make the most out of your car, and reduce the impact you place on the environment.
10 Tips to Choose an Energy-efficient Vehicle
- Read the EnerGuide label. All new cars have a sticker (look for the fuel-pump logo) indicating the city and highway fuel consumption ratings and estimated annual fuel cost.
- Pick the right size. Avoid buying a car that's larger than you need, as they're heavier, have bigger engines and consume more gas.
- Consult the Fuel Consumption Guide. This free guide lists the fuel consumption ratings for new cars sold in Canada, so you can choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle for your needs.
- Look at winners of the annual EnerGuide Awards, presented to the most fuel-efficient vehicles. Winners are determined by simulating 20,000 km usage (55% city, 45% highway).
- Choose the right transmission. This choice will directly affect the cost of fuel consumption. In general, manual transmissions are more fuel efficient. If you buy an automatic, the more gears the better.
- Four-wheel, all-wheel or two-wheel drive? In terms of fuel consumption, four-wheel and all-wheel drive use the most due to their sheer weight, requiring 5 to 10% more fuel than two-wheel drive.
- Compare engine sizes. All other things being equal, the smaller the engine the better the fuel economy.
- Pick your options wisely. You'll be paying for every bell and whistle for the life of your car, so consider if you really need power windows, seats and mirrors.
- Explore your fuel options. Alternative fuels are becoming easier to obtain so consider diesel or ethanol fuel blends. Propane and natural gas are also good options and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and are cheaper to use than gas or diesel.
- Consider a hybrid electric car. These use both a conventional internal combustion engine (fuelled by gas or diesel) and an electric motor powered by a battery. They consume significantly less fuel and emit far less carbon dioxide than traditional vehicles.
How to Make Your Car More Efficient
Once you have the right car, make sure you maintain it properly to ensure it's running at its most efficient. This will ensure your annual AirCare checkups won't reveal any nasty and expensive surprises and that your car insurance rates won't go up.
Keep your tires properly inflated, your engine in tune and use the right oil. All of these improve your car's fuel efficiency and help reduce harmful emissions. Try to avoid rush hour, unnecessary idling or circling parking lots to reduce gas guzzling and your impact on the environment. For more ideas on how to improve and protect your car's performance, go to Drive BC and BCAA.
Do you have other resources, tips or ideas to share about getting the most out of your car? Add a comment below to tell us about your experience, insert a tip or trick, or post a question to start a conversation with other users.