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Eco-driving, instructions for use

The golden rules respecting the environment at the wheel

‘Driving’ is a term that needs no explanation. With the number of cars worldwide totalling over one billion in 2010, and predicted to reach over 2.5 billion by 2050, the act of driving is extremely common to everyone, everywhere. Eco-driving, on the other hand, is a term that has only recently started receiving attention. Put simply, it is how one who uses his or her vehicle in an energy-saving mode. One way in which a driver may engage in eco-driving, for example, is looking for ways to reduce fuel consumption. With the rising cost of fuel, a more energy-efficient method of using one’s automobile is not only responsible, but also convenient.

Sadly, driving styles have not kept up with the latest improvements in the automotive field. Car and engine performance has greatly increased in the last decades with the advent of new technologies, but people are still driving the same way they used to drive. Discarding of old driving habits and adopting new techniques of eco-driving will ensure the correct and efficient use of these new automobile advancements. What good is technology if we do not correctly learn to use it to our advantage? For example, some benefits of employing eco-driving methods include saving on fuel costs and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, to name a few.

In 2011, the ECOWILL consortium (Widespread Implementation for Learner Drivers and Licensed Drivers), and other experts published the golden and silver rules of eco-driving. ECOWILL pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 8 mt. by 2015, creating guidelines that all drivers should follow in order to help the project reach its goal. In order for methods of eco-driving to truly be a success, drivers must follow all the rules, not just some of them.

The Golden Rules of Eco-driving are as follows:

1 – Anticipate the flow of traffic
Leave enough space between yourself and the car in front of you, in order to have time to adequately react to any possible situation.
2 – Maintain a steady speed at a low RPM (revolutions per minute)
Drive smoothly at a steady speed, unnecessary braking is a waste.
3 – Shift up early
Driving at a low RPM at any speed saves fuel, so make sure to shift early.
4 – Check tire pressure at least once a month, and especially before driving at high speeds. Low tire pressure is not only a safety risk, but wastes fuel as well.
5 – Consider extra energy used as an additional cost of both fuel and money. For example, avoid any unnecessary weight and turn off the AC when it is not needed.

For more details on each Golden rule, please consult ECOWILL’s extensive online guide.

The Silver Rules of Eco-driving are as follows:

1 – Start saving fuel by choosing a low-emission car
2 – Avoid short car trips
3 – Drive immediately after starting the engine; do not warm up the engine by idling
4 – Switch off the engine at longer stops (pauses longer than 20 seconds)
5 – Close windows when driving at higher speeds
6 – Use low friction oils and low energy tires
7 – Check and service your car regularly
8 – Consider an alternative means of transport

For more details on the Silver rules, please consult ECOWILL’s online guide.

Protecting the global environment, reducing fuel costs, and improving road safety are all outcomes of prescribing to the eco-driving instructions. Although the rules may seem simple, they will make a significant difference, especially if followed globally. The Golden and Silver rules of Eco-driving, simply put, will allow drivers to save money, and also, be safer. Drivers should also be aware of the environment and keep in mind the positive effect that eco-driving will have on an increasingly deteriorating earth.

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