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Conservation Tips

Conservation is always # 1. If we don't use it or use less of it…we don't pollute!

Conservation is the easiest way that everyone can help reduce air pollution every day. Click on the following links to learn more healthful hints.

Driving | Fuel | Maintenance | Vehicle | Daily habits | Trips and Vacations


  • Carpool. Try to find a Rideshare, FlexCar or Hour Car program in your area.
  • Anti-idling: For any stop you expect to last more than a minute, shut off your engine rather than letting it idle.
  • Drive slower. One study reported that for all vehicles tested there was at least 20% loss in fuel economy as cruising speed was increased from 55 to 75 mph. So, 20 mpg at 55 mph becomes 16 mpg or less at 75 mph.
  • Avoid hard braking and sudden stops. Stay alert and anticipate traffic lights, stop signs and merges. Use turn signals. Traffic will move more smoothly, which saves fuel for everyone.
  • Avoid rapid acceleration; most horsepower (consumes a lot of gas) is built into cars for acceleration; relatively little power (and thus fuel) is required to maintain speed.
  • Reduce the use of your air conditioner at low driving speeds. When driving over 40 mph using the air conditioner costs less fuel than having windows open.
  • Remove extra weight from the car; 100 extra pounds may cost 1 mpg. Pack lightly for trips.
  • When starting out, shift up to the next gear (manual transmission) as soon as possible without straining the engine.
  • Try to avoid using roof racks and remove them when they are not in use.
  • If your car has an instantaneous mpg indicator, use it to improve your driving efficiency.
  • Do not warm engine up before driving; it is not necessary, even in cold weather.
  • Use cruise control on highway trips.
  • Do not rev engine before shutting it off; this wastes fuel and can dilute motor oil, leading to excessive wear on engine parts.
  • Park in the shade and/or leave windows slightly open to reduce the need for air conditioning.

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  • Purchase environment-friendly fuels, such as low-sulfur, oxygenated gasoline and/or new alternative fuels now available in many areas.
  • Do not overfill the tank.
  • Do not use mid-grade or premium grade gasoline unless specified for your vehicle. Older vehicles may require these grades to avoid "knock" which reduces power and may damage the engine.
  • Use API certified "Energy Conserving" motor oil, either conventional or synthetic. Use the service classification and viscosity specified for your vehicle. Example: SJ and 5W-30. Follow use/change interval in vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Store emergency fuel supply or fuel for gasoline-fueled power equipment in sealed, airtight containers, and it will still be usable in another season.
  • Determine gasoline mileage periodically. Declining mileage can be an early indicator of mechanical problems or a need for servicing.

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  • Keep engine properly tuned.
  • Replace air and fuel filters regularly as instructed by your vehicle’s maintenance manual; change air filter more often if driving in dusty conditions.
  • Keep tires properly inflated and wheels aligned.
  • Do not buy "aggressive" tread tires if you do not need them.

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  • Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) have the capability to use E85. Every year a FFV driver can prevent 4 tons of CO2 and other pollutants from entering the air by using E85 instead of gasoline.
  • "Hybrid" vehicles combine a high-efficiency gasoline engine with an electric motor for greater fuel efficiency.
  • Choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle that will meet most of your needs, and rent a larger vehicle or a different kind for infrequent needs.
  • 2-wheel drive vehicles achieve better mileage than 4-wheel or all-wheel drive.
  • Choose vehicles with fewer power options such as automatic transmission.

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Daily habits

  • Telecommute-Try to work or study at home at least part of the time.
  • Combine errands to reduce the number of trips.
  • For shorter errands, consider walking or bicycling.
  • Utilize mass transit. Support efforts to make mass transit more available.
  • Consider living closer to where you work, or working closer to home.
  • Try to take one less car trip per week.

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Trips and Vacations

  • When renting a vehicle, ask for alternative fuel options in the area or the most fuel efficient vehicle.
  • Consider shorter vacations and recreation trips.
  • Research public mass transit in the area you are visiting.

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American Lung Association, Upper Midwest Region
490 Concordia Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55103-2441
Phone: 651-227-8014
Fax: 651-227-5459
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