Published: January 19, 2017

Looking to save money at the fuel pump this summer, earn favorable vehicle insurance rates, and do your part to keep carbon emissions out of the environment? The solution is simpler than you might think, and it’s within reach for every Calgary driver.

In addition to putting you at higher risk for accidents and traffic citations, dangerous driving habits almost always lead to lower fuel efficiency. While many Alberta drivers already avoid the most dangerous driving habits, there are plenty of little adjustments and maintenance items that make a difference in ways you may not expect.

Let’s take a closer look at the steps you can take to improve efficiency, save on vehicle insurance costs, and help the environment by adopting safe driving practices in Calgary.

Stay Safe and Save Money by Paying Attention to Driving Details

We all run late from time to time, and in those moments it’s easy to resort to driving tactics that seem to save time. Starting fast from traffic lights, following closely behind other vehicles, and driving over the speed limit feel like they’re saving time in the moment, but those dangerous habits rarely save precious minutes in the long run. They can also add significant expense to your daily commute.

  • Jackrabbit starts at stoplights are prime offenders for lower fuel efficiency and increase emissions by up to 40 percent, without making a positive difference in how quickly you reach your destination.
  • Speeding infractions are one of the easiest ways to rack up demerit points, and following posted limits will help you save on fuel. Driving at 88 KPH rather than 100 KPH can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 15 percent.
  • Hard braking at traffic lights – or due to an unexpected obstacle while speeding – is brutal on your vehicle’s brakes and engine.
  • Tire inflation is one of the most important regular maintenance items for fuel efficiency and vehicle safety. Keep an inflation gauge handy, and be sure to check your tires regularly.
  • Wheel alignment can make a big difference in efficiency and safety. It also helps ensure even wear on your tires, and reduces the risk of blowouts.
  • Stay on schedule with oil changes and engine maintenance. Clean oil, a fresh air filter, and a well-tuned engine make a huge difference in vehicle performance across the board.

Simple, Everyday Tips to Improve Fuel Efficiency

Even if you’re already a safe driver and stay up to date on vehicle maintenance, there are some small changes you can make to save at the pump. Idling is one of the most common culprits for wasteful emissions, and despite popular perception it does not improve fuel efficiency.

  • The popular belief is that idling is better for fuel efficiency than shutting down and restarting your vehicle, but the opposite is true. Idle-free zones are becoming more popular in Calgary and throughout Alberta, so it pays to shut it down rather than keep it running.
  • The same goes for warming up your vehicle in the morning. It’s something many of us assume is beneficial, but driving your vehicle is actually the best way to warm it up.
  • It’s not all bad news when it comes to changes in long-held driving beliefs. With improvements to vehicle air-conditioning systems, it’s now more efficient to run the A/C than it is to drive with windows down.
  • During the summer months, you can also save by driving in the cooler morning and evening hours. Cool air is much easier on your engine than mid-day heat. 
  • Your trunk is a good place to keep your emergency kit, but try not to use it for long-term storage otherwise. That extra weight can really drag down your vehicle’s efficiency.
  • Last but not least, try to anticipate stops ahead of time. When you’re approaching a red light or stop sign, let your foot off the gas as early as possible.

Taking a few steps to improve efficiency and reduce emissions shouldn’t add much time to your daily commute. In fact, it may even help you reach your destination more quickly than before. When you add up the environmental and money-saving benefits, it’s more than worth the effort.

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