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How to Drive Green Even Without a Prius

NEW YORK (MainStreet): American consumers are by and large on board with the notion that green living is better for themselves and for Planet Earth.

Whether you have built your home out of hemp (and good luck with that) or just keep a close eye on your household thermostat and water usage, most consumers want to pitch in, do their part and make the world a little shinier in the process.

A 2011 study from the Brookings Institution reports that 70% of U.S. adults are concerned about the environment and believe the earth is growing warmer.

One way consumers can contribute to the environmental cause and save a few bucks in the process is to steer their driving habits into greener territories. Even better, you don't need to drive a hybrid vehicle to get the job done.

How so?

Royal Purple, a Porter, Tex.-based synthetic oil producer, has the goods, with a series of tips U.S. drivers can embrace to make the world a cleaner place. "You don't have to buy a brand-new electric car or dramatically change your driving habits to drive green. Vehicle owners can save money, pollute less and increase the performance and safety of their cars, trucks and SUVs by following a few simple tips," Royal Purple says.

Let's take a look at five key tips from the company:

Apply for a lube job: Royal Purple advises upgrading lubricants on a regular basis (and benefits if you lubricate your vehicle engine with their brand of synthetic oil). Applying lubricants regularly can increase fuel economy by up to 5%, the company says, and boost engine performance too. A vehicle owner who drives 20,000 miles per year can save $170 annually by adding lubricants to their engines, the company.

Keep tires properly inflated: Consumers can save up to 4% in fuel economy by ensuring their vehicle's tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended levels. That will not only save on fuel economy; it will also save wear and tear on tires and beef up occupancy safety.

Unclog those filters: Consumers can hike fuel economy by up to 6% by replacing clogged air filters, boosting engine performance in the process. Here is how Royal Purple explains it: Engine air filters prevent contaminants such as sand and dust from entering the engine. Like any filter, they can get clogged and restrict airflow into the engine, keeping the car from performing its best. Replacing a dirty filter is a quick, inexpensive way to increase your car's power and fuel economy, as well as protect your engine.

Tune up: To keep your vehicle running in "like-new condition," make sure your car or truck is examined by a reputable mechanic and tuned up on a regular basis. That can improve fuel efficiency by up to 4% and help your car "live longer."

Recycle your oil and filters: Most service stations will accept your used motor oil and air filters as you replace them. If your station balks at the idea, check out web sites such as Earth911.com that can help you find a local station that will accept your oil and filters.

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