Take care of your car, and it will take care of you. Regular maintenance and tune-ups, changing the oil, and checking tire inflation extend the life of your car, reduce the incidence of break-downs, and improve gas mileage.
Get a Tune Up
A tune-up will keep your car operating at its maximum efficiency, emitting fewer pollutants and sucking down less fuel. Whether you do it yourself or go to a mechanic, be sure your car is checked for worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, and low transmission fluid. Replace your air filter as necessary and be sure your wheels are properly aligned and rotated.
For the same money as traditional automobile clubs you can get a membership to Better World Club that includes all of the standard auto club privileges as well as eco-travel assistance, discounts on hybrid cars, and bicycle roadside assistance. The company also donates a portion of their annual revenues toward environmental cleanup and advocacy.
Inflate Your Tires
Keep tires properly inflated to reduce wear and tear on the tread and save fuel over the long run. Check your owner's manual for the recommended inflation level (this number is also usually printed inside the door frame of your car).
Change Your Oil
Changing your car's oil and oil filters is another good way to improve its fuel efficiency. If you do it yourself, be sure to recycle the oil properly and fill up your engine with clean recycled motor oil. Plug your zip code into the Earth 911 website to find a used motor oil drop-off location near you. If you take it in to a service station, make sure that they will do the same.
Clean Car Washing
According to the International Carwash Association, washing your car at home uses between 80 and 140 gallons of water, while a commercial car wash averages less than 45 gallons per car. Commercial car washes use high-pressure, low-flow nozzles to minimize water usage. Washing your car at home also sends a bucket load of soap suds, gasoline, and exhaust residue directly into storm drains and waterways. Carwashes, on the other hand, are required by law to drain their wastewater into sewer systems for treatment. Some even recycle their greywater to further reduce water consumption.
Avoid “topping-off” your gas tank when filling up at the pump. Overfilling your car by even a little bit can lead to pollution caused by gasoline spills. When possible, get fuel when the weather is cool to minimize evaporation and prevent gas fumes from heating up and creating ozone. And seek out gas stations that use pollution-reducing vapor-recovery nozzles (those thick, accordion-looking plastic devices covering the gas nozzle).