Baby, You Can Ecodrive My Car
This past September, the U.K.’s Commission for Integrated Transport released a report detailing transportation trends and their effects on climate change. Included in this report are a series of transportation goals, one being to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 percent by 2050. While switching to eco-friendly vehicles is one way of reducing transportation-related carbon emissions, the report also sheds light on the importance of practicing ecodriving.
What is ecodriving?
According to ECODRIVEN, the official campaign to increase energy-efficient driving in Europe, ecodriving “is a way of driving that reduces fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and accident rates." It establishes basic driving etiquette such as winding up windows to reduce drag, regularly checking tire pressure, and maintaining a steady speed. One of the main goals of this campaign is to train
at least 2.5 million drivers to drive in a more energy-efficient manner, and the EU hopes that by 2010, 50 million tons of CO2 emissions will be avoided.
The Intelligent Energy Europe program of the European Commission, which supports 350 energy-saving projects across Europe, introduced ECODRIVEN last year. Ten EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, The Netherlands, and the U.K.) are participating in the campaign – scheduled to take place through 2008 – while several other European countries such as Latvia and Sweden have implemented their own ecodriving campaigns.
ECODRIVEN claims that “smart, smooth, and safe driving” can lead to many direct driver benefits such as a quieter and more relaxed driving atmosphere, improved road safety, and a projected savings of 20 billion euros over the next two years. The “golden rules of ecodriving” include five basic elements — shift up as soon as possible, maintain a steady speed, high gear and low engine RPM, anticipate traffic flow, decelerate smoothly — and ECODRIVEN provides additional “tips and tricks” for drivers, including how to travel on a hill or make the most out of the aerodynamics of your car. For the ecodriving-challenged, there’s even a CarChip E/X – a device that monitors the way you drive and will beep when you’re wasting gas.
The Financial Times says that the authors of the U.K.’s Transport and Climate Change report hope to eventually make speeding as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. So remember: Don’t speed and ecodrive.
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