Car Care & Maintenance


Five Ways to Greener Driving

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By Liz Kaadou

Cardriving If the world were an eco-oasis, we would all proudly drive swanky electric cars, jump on the super efficient subway or simply stroll to our desired destination.  But the world is not that perfect, and with work, school, the gym, errands and anything else penciled on our “to-do-list," being environmentally friendly is sometimes the last thing on our minds.  To make life a bit easier and driving a bit more “greenified,” here are five practical ways to take your car rides to the green level.


1)  Take the Junk out of your Trunk - we tend to accumulate everything from soccer balls to pop bottles in our trunks, and adding extra weight to your car only guzzles more gas. Try emptying your trunk and throwing away the junk every night to ensure a swift car ride the next morning.


2) Be Creative with Carpooling - find some buddies at work or school that live nearby and set up a car sharing schedule.  Not only is it a great way to reduce pollution but it saves you money at the pump!


3) Keep a Detailed Drive Schedule - keeping a schedule of all your driving destinations for the day will allow you to plan the best routes and group errands that are close to each other, thereby avoiding any unnecessary travel.


4) Shade Yourself - a simple way to reduce energy use is to invest in window shades. These inventive devices keep your car cooler during warm weather so your A/C can take a breather!


5) Fuel up at Night - Heading to the gas station later in the day is actually a plus for the environment. When you fill up your tank at the station, fumes are created by the patron in gas and are more potent during the day because the temperature is warmer.  At night, less gas evaporates, lessening the potent fumes released in our atmosphere.


For more eco-friendly driving advice, visit RTM's Earth Tones section.


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Ford to Conduct Real-World Tests of PHEVs

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Ford-escape-hybrid-front-leftjpg Seven regional electric utility partners are joining Ford and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to conduct real-world tests on an expanding fleet of Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).

“As we move toward greater electrification of vehicles, we can achieve much more by working together toward a common goal,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “The work we are investing in today on both the vehicles and the connectivity to the nation’s electric grid will pay off with real-world vehicles for customers in the near future.”

The partnerships will help Ford accelerate its electrification strategy, including bringing a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) van to the market in 2010 for commercial use, a small BEV sedan developed jointly with Magna International by 2011 and a PHEV by 2012.

Ford is providing Escape PHEVs for real world testing to its new research and utility partners around the country.

Click here to view full release from Ford and to see if these vehicles will be in your area.


Toyota Introduces Certified Used Hybrid Program

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Toyota Prius Not sure if you like the idea of buying a used hybrid? Wondering if you can trust the vehicle has been taken care of? Well, you can stop wondering.

In all efforts to attract new buyers to the hybrid market, Toyota has launched its Toyota Certified Used Hybrid (TCUH) program, which provides added inspection and warranty coverage on certified use Toyota hybrids.

Customers benefit from additional inspection and warranty coverage on Toyota hybrids within the program. Each vehicle comes with the three-month/3,000-mile comprehensive warranty, seven-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and roadside assistance plan. The program also brings added awareness to a pre-existing eight-year/100,000-mile factory hybrid battery warranty.

You can drive your used Toyota Prius off the lot with the confidence of purchasing a new vehicle with the value of a used vehicle.

(Source: Toyota)