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Tips for Greener driving 

For cars manufactured since March 2007, the federal government has been offering an ecoAUTO rebate for cars they have determined to be the most fuel-efficient on the road. Here’s their list for 2008:$2,000 rebate: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, smart fortwo (coupe and convertible), Ford Escape Hybrid (AWD and FWD), Saturn VUE Hybrid, $1,500 rebate: Toyota Camry Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4X4$1,000 rebate: Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris, Mini (Cooper and Clubman), Honda Civic (2-door and 4-door), Honda Fit, Lexus RX 400H 4WD, Jeep Compass and Patriot (2x4 and 4x4), Chevrolet HHR 4WD and Panel FWD, Nissan Rogue FWD

For more information, go here:tc.gc.ca/programs/environment/ecotransport/ecoauto.htm

Some other ways to increase your fuel efficiency include choosing a car with a small engine, alloy wheels or front wheel drive (less vehicle weight), manual transmission (allows for precision gear shifting, minimizing the fuel consumption) and buying a block heater (less idling to warm up the engine on cold mornings). A vehicle with a diesel engine will also operate more efficiently and create less greenhouse gases, though diesel fuel exhaust is traditionally filled with more soot and particulate matter, which isn’t good thing either.

And if you are determined to buy a fuel efficient car but need some help with getting it financed, Credit Union Atlantic offers Go Green Car Loans. If you buy a fuel efficient Car---or trade in your old one---you can qualify for a better interest rate, starting as low as 5.99 percent. And think of the SteerClean program through the Ecology Action Centre, which will help you with funding if you have an old high-polluting clunker you’d like to recycle for a newer, more efficient vehicle.

Other things to think about: driving at 120km per hour burns a hell of a lot more fuel than keeping at the speed limit. Avoid short car journeys as fuel consumption and C02 output is higher when theengine is still cold. Try to avoid using the air conditioning… it uses up gas. Keep the windows down for city driving in the summer. Making certain your engine is well maintained keeps it working at peak efficiency, and means it will belch less of the black stuff and be less expensive on gas, not to mention last longer. Keep the tires well inflated also ups fuel economy. And choose a streamlined vehicle, though it is hard to find one that isn’t designed in a wind tunnel these days.

Finally: Avoid idling. Anywhere. Especially at Timmy’s or any fast food outlet waiting at the drive through. Turn your engine off. An idling gas engine burns 3.5 litres an hour, and 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.

Source: Drive Wiser, the green auto program run by Conserve Nova Scotia. Go to drivewiser.ca for more informatio driving practices.

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