Eco driving tips can increase Fuel Economy by 25 Percent DEARBORN, Mich., March 1 With spring around the corner, Americans will be spending more time on the road. To ease the pain at the pump and clean the environment, Ford Motor Company has some ideas on how to increase fuel economy by up to 25 percent. Fuel efficiency experts, including Ford Motor Company's environmental policy specialists, agree that learning to drive differently increases fuel efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving such as rapid acceleration, speeding and braking can lower your gas mileage significantly. Sensible driving not only helps conserve precious fuel resources while saving money, it's also safer for all drivers. "We call it EcoDriving - ECOnomical because it saves money and ECOlogical because it is better for the environment," says Andy Acho, Ford's worldwide director of environmental outreach and strategy. "Our tips are simple actions that can save consumers money at the pump and result in cleaner air." The following ECOdriving tips can increase fuel economy by up to 25 percent. MAINTENANCE: A properly maintained vehicle can improve fuel efficiency. Maintain a proper engine tune-up to keep vehicles running efficiently. Keep the wheels aligned. Wheels that are fighting each other waste fuel. Under inflated tires increase rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy. They also wear rapidly. Check the vehicles door-post sticker for minimum cold tire inflation pressure. Keep tires properly inflated to the recommended pressure-this alone can reduce the average amount of fuel use by 3-4 percent. Replace the air filter as recommended-always consult the owner's manual. Use good quality, energy-conserving (EC) oils that have a viscosity grade consistent with the manual. Look for cans marked with the symbol ECII, which is the American Society of Testing Materials logo for fuel-efficient oils. Use a fuel with good detergent additives - to keep the vehicle engine clean and therefore, performing efficiently. DRIVING STYLE: The largest fuel waste occurs with aggressive driving. Time studies show that fast starts, weaving in and out of traffic, accelerating to and from a stop light doesn't save much time, wastes fuel and wears out some of the car components like brakes and tires faster. Start car and immediately, but gently, drive away. Don't leave car idling-today's engines don't need to be warmed up. Prolonged idling creates excess emissions and wastes fuel. Turn the engine off when idling more than 30 seconds. Turning off the engine may disable vehicle features including safety features like airbags. Drivers should be certain to only utilize this strategy in situations where there is no possibility of collision. Start slowly, avoiding rapid acceleration. Jackrabbit starts are fuel wasters. Accelerate smoothly and brake gradually. Change lead foot to light foot. Anticipate traffic conditions, and accelerate and decelerate smoothly-it's safer, uses less gas, and reduces brake wear. Maintain safe distance between vehicles. VEHICLE SPEED: Maintain a steady speed whenever possible. Aim to maintain a constant speed - pumping the accelerator pumps more fuel into the engine. Drive at posted speed limits - this is a tip that may save a life as well as fuel. EPA estimates a 10-15% improvement by driving 55 instead of 65 mph. Use cruise control on the highway. ENGINE LOAD: Traveling light reduces the engine's work load. Avoid piling a lot of luggage on the roof rack. The added frontal area reduces aerodynamics and will hurt fuel economy. It can reduce fuel economy by up to 25 percent. Don't drive at higher speeds with windows wide open. It increases the aerodynamic drag on the highway and lowers fuel economy. Minimize use of air conditioning. Use the vent setting as much as possible. Park in the shade to keep car cool and reduce the need for air conditioning. Remove excess weight. Unnecessary weight (unneeded items in the trunk for example) makes the engine work harder and consumes more fuel. OTHER TIPS Plan and consolidate trips to bypass congested routes and avoid stop-and-go traffic. Whenever feasible, share a ride and/or carpool. Consider parking instead of using "drive-up" lanes. Consider walking or bicycling for short distances. Use a high-quality fuel with the lowest appropriate octane rating. Check the owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendation. There is no benefit to using premium gas in a vehicle calibrated for regular.