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"Green" Drivers May Save More Money Than Aggressive Drivers of Green Cars

It's funny, there's a lot of press attention given to cars like the Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius, hybrid cars that are likely to increase fuel mileage and put less of a dent in your wallet, but there's little attention paid to the flesh-and-bones machine that pilots each vehicle.

You can look at a list of top 10 green vehicles and see the Prius, alongside Honda's Insight. Both deliver stellar performance with more than 40 miles per gallon in certain driving situations. Similar performance can be found in small diesel-powered cars from Europe, which are just now escaping from the grumbling engine notes their engines used to have.

Any graduate of a online defensive driving course will be able to tell you that a lot of the reasons for gas consumption to drop below EPA estimates has to deal with driver choices, and little to do with the engine. A properly maintained car can get at least 5-10 miles per gallon more than the listed amount if you drive properly.

Here are a few tips that you might find in your next driver safety course that will also minimize fuel consumption:

1 Drive the speed limit: We know that it can be hard to drive at 55, but you'll save 10-15 percent more on your fuel bills if you keep the speedometer needle pegged there than you would at 65 or even 70 miles an hour. If you tend to not pay attention to the speedometer as much as you should, listen to the engine. In most cars, it should be barely a burble.

2 Look ahead, plan ahead: Defensive driver courses in Texas preach looking a few cars ahead so you don't have to slam on your brakes and potentially cause an accident. When you operate your car more smoothly, you're not wasting the engine's power when you'll have to brake, and you can coast rather than speeding up and slowing down.

3 Get rid of the tech toys and tools: Distracted driving is a huge issue and can be linked to about a quarter of all traffic accidents in the U.S. Your car's engine also powers each of the gizmos that you use, so limiting your loud stereo-playing and cell phone use can also reduce the power loss that has to be made up by the engine, and by transition your gas tank.

4 Take care of your car: Ironic that something you do before you even hop behind the wheel could have such a strong effect on gas mileage. But it's true, making sure that tires are properly inflated, your car has been tuned up and that you have cleaned out any excess stuff that you've got lying around in your backseat can do wonders. The percentages cited by the government are roughly three percent, or the equivalent of 9 cents off every $3.00 gallon of gas you buy.

There are many more options that you will find in a defensive driving class that could help you to be safer on the road, and less taxing on your wallet. Use these as a starting point.