"It's the dog days of August, one of the heaviest time frames for road trips – what with travel to universities across the country combined with the "last hurrah" of summer vacations leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend.
As you capture those road trips for posterity on your camcorder, consider turning them into a fun, two-minute video that can garner extensive exposure on the web and win a $5000 grand prize, VIP NASCAR and Indy race packages, new tires, gift cards, car care guides, and more in the Drive Smarter Challenge video contest -- http://drivesmarterchallenge.org/contest.
The online video contest is a new feature of the award-winning Drive $marter Challenge fuel-efficiency campaign sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy and 16 other diverse nonprofit, governmental, trade association and for-profit partners.
The contest runs through September 20.
To enter, submit a two-minute (or less) video that illustrates one or more of the Drive Smarter Challenge gas- and money-saving driving and vehicle maintenance tips, including those featured below:
Planning your road trip:
- Get a customized map with low gas prices along the route. Getting lost while driving in unfamiliar areas could lead to an expensive waste of gas. Print a customized vacation map that highlights low-cost gas stations along your route using campaign website resources. Or navigate with a GPS system.
- Choose the right vehicle. If your family has more than one vehicle, drive the car that gets better gas mileage if possible.
- Watch the clock! When possible, drive during off-peak hours to reduce gas costs and stress by avoiding stop-and-go or bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions.
- Check out other travel options. Consider trains, buses, or public transportation to your destination when possible. Explore new ways to get around at your destination. Find information on biking, public transportation routes, car sharing, walking, and renting hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicles on the Drive $marter Challenge website resources page.
Before you leave: maintenance tips
- Inflate your tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated improves gas mileage by around 3%.
- Select the right oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil improves gas mileage by 1 to 2%. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol contains friction-reducing additives. Change your oil as recommended to extend the life of your vehicle.
- Tune up. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%."
Coming next: Saving money on the road.