Car Care And The Environment

     Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides
helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated
vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will 
last longer--up to 50% longer, according to a survey of
ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips
should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car
care.
   * Keep your engine tuned up. A misfiring spark plug can
     reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the 
     service schedules listed in your owner's manual. 
     Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
   * Check your tires for proper inflation. Under inflation
     wastes fuel--your engine has to work harder to push 
     the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced 
     by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the 
     engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires 
     will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be 
     disposed.
Every ten days, motorists who drive with under-inflated 
tires and poorly maintained engines waste 70 million 
gallons of gasoline.
Car Care Council
   * Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it
     serviced only by a technician certified competent to
     handle/recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners contain
     CFCs--gases that have been implicated in the depletion
     of the ozone layer. According to the Environmental 
     Protection Agency, almost one third of the CFCs 
     released into the atmosphere come from mobile air 
     conditioners; some simply leaks out, but the majority 
     escapes during service and repair--so it's important 
     to choose a qualified technician.
   * Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil,
     anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries 
     properly.  Many repair facilities accept these items. 
     Or call your local municipal or county government for 
     recycling sites.  Never dump used oil or anti-freeze 
     on the ground or in open streams.
Each year twenty times the amount of oil spilled by the 
tanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska is improperly dumped into 
America's environment by do-it-yourselfers.
Automotive Information Council
   * Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 
     55 mph.
   * Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky
     stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to 
     keep your speed as steady as possible.
   * Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while 
     waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are 
     designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those 
     five-minute warm ups on cold winter mornings.
   * Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight 
     means better mileage. Store luggage/ cargo in the 
     trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
   * Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to 
     eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when 
     traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions. Join 
     a car pool.
     Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how 
its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have 
serious consequences on the environment.


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