The proliferation of millions of fuel powered vehicles in the United States impart enormous environmental and economical consequences, which are becoming increasingly apparent and prompting radical change in future automobile production. Aside from the enormous impact that vehicle pollutants have on the environment, the unpredictable and seemingly ever rising prices at the pump impact consumers on a daily basis. Alternative energy vehicles are slowly entering the automobile market, but are far from widespread and do not provide immediate relief to the common vehicle owner. As technological capabilities and production volume of alternative energy vehicles increase, the prices will drop, thus making more consumers able to reap the benefits. But for most people, adopting such innovations is far into the future and immediate relief is still desired. Below are some ways you can reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle, save money at the pump and do your part to minimize your affect on the environment: ? First and foremost, maintain your vehicle. Regular tune-ups go a long way in maximizing the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Make sure to regularly replace your air filter, as obstructed air flow increases fuel waste. Have the alignment of chassis parts and suspension occasionally checked as well. Uneven wheels, bad shocks and bent axles can affect your vehicle's fuel usage. ? Drive conservatively. Accelerate slowly from a start, and generally try not to press the accelerator more than a quarter of the way to the floor. Avoid revving the engine, another surefire way to needlessly burn fuel. In manual transmission vehicles, shifting as soon as possible (i.e.- not revving) without bogging down the engine will help maximize fuel efficiency. As opposed to accelerating and decelerating often, driving at a steady pace will help maximize your vehicle's fuel economy. Also, anticipate hills and accelerate before you approach them, instead of while you are driving against an incline. ? Do not underestimate physics. Driving faster than about 40 miles per hour dramatically increases wind resistance and thus fuel consumption. Obey speed limits to minimize wasted fuel, not to mention traffic citations that are sure to cost you as much as several tanks. While using the air conditioner does waste fuel at low speeds, its use is preferred at high speeds as opposed to driving with the windows down, which would increase resistance and therefore reduce your vehicle's gas mileage. Maintaining your vehicle, modifying your driving habits and realizing the affect of resistance on gas mileage as advised above will reduce your vehicle's fuel consumption as well as the impact of driving on your finances. A simple way to determine mileage per gallon is to start with a full tank and set your odometer to zero. The next time you fill up, divide the mileage on the odometer reading by the number of gallons you purchase, giving you the miles driven per gallon on the last tank. For example, if you drove 358 miles and used 13.3 gallons, your vehicle's gas mileage calculates to 358 miles/13.3 gallons = 26.9 miles per gallon. To ensure that you are getting the most from your fuel conservation efforts, periodically determine your vehicle's mileage per gallon and have your vehicle checked in the event of major changes to its fuel efficiency. About the Author: Greg Chapman, of Greg Chapman Motors, is a leading used car dealer Austin has depended on since 1959. For more information please visit Greg Chapman Motors.