Brake this break

Brian Weiser, CWRU Green Speaks

As we prepare to go home (or on vacation) for the upcoming spring break and look forward to the well-deserved time off, we should keep in mind the environmental impact of our trip – whether it’s just a couple stops down Euclid or halfway around the world. Here are a few things I will be doing this spring break to make my drive home greener and save some money in the process.

The easiest thing you can do to reduce your impact is to drive sensibly. One way to do this is by simply driving the speed limit. While all vehicles have a different optimum speed for fuel efficiency, gas mileage generally decreases rapidly at speeds over 60 mph. For every 5 mph you go over 60, you can expect to pay about 27 cents per gallon of gas.

Another way to drive sensibly is to accelerate smoothly: take your time speeding up and slowing down. If you can master sensible driving, you can increase your fuel efficiency by up to 33 percent.

It is also helpful to keep your car well-maintained – for example, by replacing your air filter when it is dirty. It is estimated that one in four cars need their air filters replaced, and this small task can improve your efficiency by up to 10 percent. Ensuring that your tires are aligned and properly pumped up can increase efficiency another 13 percent, and maintaining your engine can provide an additional four percent.

A great way to save money and make your trip more environmentally friendly is to share the ride with a friend. This cuts down fuel costs for both of you, and provides companionship on those long road trips. If a hundred people choose to carpool this break, according to Colorado Pollution Prevention, over 45,000 pounds of carbon dioxide will not be released into the atmosphere.

One last thing I will do to boost my fuel efficiency is by packing light, keeping in mind that every 100 pounds I bring with me costs me one to two percent in fuel efficiency.

By being conscious of our impact and doing these small tasks, we can improve our mileage, improve the earth, and keep a few dollars in our wallets. I hope you have a fun and green break.