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Energy tip #7: get the junk out of your trunk

golf.gifFore! Heads-up for incoming savings!

If you’ve been carrying around a set of golf clubs in your car, or, maybe slightly less likely, have managed to strap them to your roof rack, you may be losing out on some precious green fee money. Worse yet, you may be missing out on funds to buy your buddies a round of coffee or other beverages to tell them about the Tiger-esque eagle you managed to pull out of a hat on the 12th hole.

Carrying excess weight either in you car or on a roof rack makes the engine work harder. Lighten your load by 50 lbs. and you can save 1% on gas mileage.

Better still, take off your roof rack when it’s not in use and you can save more than 5% in gas mileage.

Take off my roof rack, you say? Blasphemy!

For a lot of people, the roof rack is a necessity and makes many outdoor activities significantly more accessible. It is worth noting, however, that the extra wind resistance can significantly reduce your mpg. A friend of mine with a hybrid learned this lesson in dramatic fasion, because hybrids tell you exactly what mileage you’re getting whenever the car is running. He noticed that the roof rack knocked 10 mpg off his car’s fuel economy!

The key is to use it when you need to use it, and remove it when it’s not going to be in use for a while. This sounds like a lot of effort, but maybe taking it off for awhile in between your next big outdoor adventure could be a start.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers :

MPG with roof rack and 50 lbs: 18.4 MPG
MPG with lightened load: 19.6 MPG
Avg. miles: 12,000
Gallons saved: 39
$ saved @ $3/gallon: $117.24
CO2 Saved: 765 lbs.

If we assume half our miles are lightened, we would still be saving about $59 and 380 lbs. of CO2. You can also put this money toward a Frequent Flyer TerraPass and bump up your savings from 380 lbs. to 15,380 pounds, with enough left over to take a trip to the driving range.

Last week 69 people committed to making their next refrigerator an energy efficient one. I thought this was a no brainer, but apparently someone out there either doesn’t want to save money or thought they’d be cute by voting no. Enough with the shenanegans, eh? Regardless, many thanks to those who voted. We can also thank Energy Star for providing what will roughly be 77,349 lbs. of CO2 saved. That’s 6.5 cars removed from the road, bringing our running total to about 20 cars.

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