Five tips for greening your ride and your wallet for the summer drive - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Five tips for greening your ride and your wallet for the summer drive

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(ARA) - The peak driving season is upon us, and warm weather typically means the windows are rolled down, the radio is turned up and there's nothing ahead but the open road. High fuel costs and the extra mileage on your vehicle, however, can hit your wallet - and the environment - harder than you'd like.

But a day trip to the beach or a back road cruise doesn't have to break the bank or pollute the earth.

"Once the weather warms up, people start to hit the roads more frequently and for longer periods of time," says Rob Stravitz, vice president of marketing for Valvoline Instant Oil Change. "Visiting a quick-lube location like Valvoline Instant Oil Change before hitting the road can increase your miles per gallon and decrease your vehicle's overall environmental impact."

Stravitz advises travelers to start with small steps like parking in the shade and keeping a regular oil change schedule. "Increasing your vehicle's fuel economy can be as simple as finding a garage instead of parking in the hot sun," Stravitz says. "You can also save up to $140 a year on fuel by simply getting a full service oil change regularly. It's small steps like this that can pay large dividends to your wallet in the long run."

Here are five tips and tricks to keep top-of-mind before embarking on your next summer cruise.

Take control of your cruise and don't idle
Utilizing cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed, which in most cases improves your fuel economy. It also requires less gas to turn a vehicle back on than to let it idle when you stop for a quick break.

Change your oil regularly and use the right grade
Regular oil changes can increase your fuel efficiency. Couple regular changes with the proper grade motor oil and you can increase your fuel economy by 2 percent or more while keeping your vehicle running smoothly. While you're at it, choose a motor oil that's better for the environment. Valvoline's new NextGen motor oil provides 100 percent Valvoline protection in a product made with 50 percent recycled motor oil. Recycling to make new oil takes fewer resources, which makes NextGen great for your engine and better for the environment.

Inflate and rotate
Accurately inflated tires are safer and can increase gas mileage by more than 3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Proper air pressure coupled with regularly rotating the tires also improves handling and extends the life of your tires by maximizing tread wear.

Clean your fuel system
Your entire fuel system can get dirty with deposits over time. A couple of ways to know if your fuel system is unclean are if your engine hesitates during acceleration or idles roughly. Valvoline Instant Oil Change offers a multi-step fuel cleaning service that helps to restore fuel efficiency, which can yield fuel savings of 2 percent or more.

Go for the shade ... or the garage
The sun zaps fuel from your gas tank. Parking in the shade or garage will lessen the amount of evaporative emissions with the added benefit of adding a little change to your pocket.

As the weather continues to improve and more drivers find respite on the road, it's essential to ensure your vehicle is in top shape from motor oil to muffler.