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Interested in keeping the environment clean? Or how about saving some extra cash? Here are five green driving tips you can follow to do your part and save some money at the same time.

Lighten Your Load
The weight of the things you carry around in your car may seem trivial, but they’re not. Extra weight in the car means more energy consumption. The easiest thing you can do to increase fuel efficiency is removing items you don’t need from your car such as all those things in your trunk that you never use. It may be convenient to have them on hand, but it is costing you money to haul them around. This is especially true for small car owners; cleaning up the junk in your trunk can really make a difference. According to the official U.S. government source for fuel economy information, you can improve your MPG by up to 2 percent for every 100 pounds you unload.
Take Care of Your Tires
Tires are also important when it comes to fuel economy. Underinflated tires are not only dangerous but they also negatively affect fuel efficiency. Properly inflated tires will have less friction on the road, reducing the energy required to run the engine. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), maintaining tire pressure at the automaker’s recommended level can improve gas mileage by up to 6 percent. So be sure to check your tires at least once a month or before going on a long trip.

Be Gentle on the Road
If you are a smooth driver, then you are on the right track to becoming a green driver. Abrupt acceleration and braking not only deplete fuel efficiency by 33 percent, but such driving habits also result in excessive amounts of pollutants. Research shows that 1 second of jamming the accelerator produces as much carbon monoxide as 30 minutes of normal driving does! Speeding also doesn’t help with fuel-efficiency. Driving at 85 mph uses 25 percent more fuel than at 70 mph. So lay off the gas and take it slow and gentle. This will definitely work to your advantage in the long run.

Install Window Film to Keep Cool
Extreme temperatures are huge obstacles to energy saving. Using the air-conditioning drastically increases fuel consumption and emits harmful substances into the atmosphere. Besides leaving the windows open and parking in the shade, you can keep your vehicle cooler by installing window film. It is relatively inexpensive to install and extremely durable. Blocking the sunlight also has the additional benefit of reducing UV exposure, a major cause of skin cancer.

Choose More Efficient Cars
As the ultimate solution, you may consider getting a more eco-friendly automobile model for your next car, one that has higher fuel efficiency and less emissions. Better yet, you could choose a hybrid or electric car that emits virtually zero emissions! Kia is no stranger to green driving and energy savings, and has developed one of the most practical electric vehicles on the market, the Kia Soul EV. Electric car advocacy group Plug-In America found that driving an EV can save on average US$1,600 in fuel costs per year. We at Kia take energy conservation and sustainability very seriously, and we will continue to promote green driving among the world’s motoring public.

• Kia BUZZ Editorial Team