Energy Action Month: Saving energy on the road

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  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- October is Energy Action Month across the Defense Department and the Air Force Academy is doing its part year-round to safeguard and conserve our energy resources.

Our mission depends on a reliable supply of energy, and using that energy smarter means accomplishing our mission of developing leaders of character in a more efficient way.

All Total Force Airmen here have a crucial role in achieving our energy goals by making energy a consideration in all we do. Every effort counts and small changes in our daily habits lead to substantial savings.

This month, we’ll promote how we can all save energy in our vehicles, office and dormitory, with some useful tips from the Air Force Energy Assurance Office.

This week, we’ll highlight tips to save energy on the road.

Don’t be idle

Roughly 15 percent of the energy from the fuel is used to move your car down the road or to run accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest is lost to engine  inefficiencies and idling. So don’t idle – it’s expensive and depending on your vehicle, can uses up to one gallon of fuel each hour.

Idling pollutes and accounts for more than six billion gallons of gas annually in the U.S.

Idling can threaten your health as inhaling vehicle emissions increases the risks of repertory illnesses.


 Carpool whenever possible, take public transportation, and bike or walk instead of driving alone. Sharing a ride to work with one or more people can double the vehicle’s fuel economy during the trip.

Calm down

Don’t be an aggressive driver. Drive at the speed limit as all vehicles lose fuel economy at speeds faster than 55 mph. Driving 65 mph instead of 75 mph can reduce your fuel cost by 13 percent. Driving at 55 mph would reduce your fuel cost by 25 percent.

Leave that air conditioner alone

Decrease your use of the air conditioner and close the windows. Air conditioner use increases fuel costs from 13-to-21 percent. If the weather is cool, use the vehicle’s flow-through ventilation instead of rolling down the windows or using the air conditioner.


Combining errands into one trip saves time and money. Your fuel economy is worse when your engine is cold than when it’s warmed up. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multitasking trip covering the same distance. Planning your trip can reduce the amount of time you drive with a cold engine and the distance traveled.

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