Green Driving: It’s Not Just About MPG

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green driving license plate

Helpful green driving tools for Green Dudes (and Divas).

Listen to this Green Divas Radio Show Green Dudes segment to find out some unexpected ways new car technology helps make our driving greener. Then read on for more…

Every new car comes with a big sticker on the window that proudly proclaims how many miles that vehicle can drive on a gallon of gas. But MPG ratings are done in controlled conditions, not in the stop-and-start traffic of highways and byways.

In order to really be efficient behind the wheel, Green Dudes and other drivers can use other tools to help make their driving use less fuel and produce fewer emissions.

One of the best tools available in many new cars is adaptive cruise control.

green drivingLike regular cruise control this allows you to drive at a specific speed but it also uses cameras or radar to pay attention to the cars in front of you and slow you down when traffic starts to back up. Then, when traffic starts moving again, your vehicle accelerates for you.

Now this is marketed as a safety technology, but it’s also super-efficient. A car’s computer can handle those starts and stops from traffic much more efficiently than you can. Allowing the car to do some of the work not only keeps you safer it also allows you to increase your vehicle’s efficiency. This saves you money on energy and reduces the emissions you might produce if you were working your engine the old-fashioned way.

As I found out while researching these safety technologies for an article that appears in the May/June issue of Consumers Digest (on newsstands now), these new techs aren’t completely intuitive the first time you use them.

You’ll need to read the manual…GreenCarTrail

And maybe get someone at the dealership to teach you how to use them. With adaptive cruise control, for instance, you need to know how quickly the car can adapt for you and if it is capable of coming to a complete stop (each manufacturer’s system is different).

But try them out the next time you’re car shopping—they could not only help save a few dollars in gas, they just might save you a fortune in repair bills by avoiding an accident. Heck, they could even save your life. That’s the greenest idea of all.


Listen to this Green Divas Radio Show—John Voelcker, Sr. Editor talks about the five finalists for Best Green Car of 2014.

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About the author / 

Green Dude John

John Platt is a freelance journalist specializing in stories about making the world a better place. He writes about wildlife and endangered species, environmental issues, living green, cutting-edge technologies, high-tech careers and philanthropy. His work appears regularly in Scientific American, Mother Nature Network, TakePart, Today's Engineer, Conservation and numerous other publications. Visit him online at or find him on Twitter at @johnrplat

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