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Ford Testing Shows Eco-Driving Improved Fuel Economy an Average 24%

27 August 2008

Tests performed by Ford Motor Company and Pro Formance drivers found that 48 motorists coached by eco-driving experts saw results ranging from 6% fuel economy improvement to more than 50%, depending on their driving style and ability to master eco-driving behaviors. The average fuel economy improvement was 24%.

Eco-driving instructors coached drivers to employ smoother breaking and accelerating, monitor their RPMs and drive at a moderate speed. Over a four-day period, Ford and the Pro Formance drivers conducted validation tests using volunteers from Phoenix. The Sports Car Club of America verified the results.

The US consumes close to 150 billion gallons of gasoline annually, according to the US Energy Information Administration.  If every American practiced eco-driving and got the EPA-estimated 15% benefit in fuel economy, more than 22 billion gallons of gas would be saved.

Eco-driving training was launched by Ford in Germany in the 1990s in cooperation with the German Road Safety Council.  In the only industry-based drivers’ eco-training course, specially trained and certified instructors run programs for several target groups including fleet drivers and customers.  Several of the master trainers recently traveled to Ford in Dearborn to teach the coaching techniques to drivers with the Pro Formance Group.  They will now leverage Ford of Germany’s eco-driving expertise to develop a pilot program that would certify eco-driving instructors to train Ford’s fleet customers.

Hands-on instruction is critical for achieving full potential of eco-driving since instructions for eco-driving techniques must be customized after instructors have had the opportunity to observe individual driving habits and then provide coaching for more fuel efficient driving techniques, Ford says.

We are talking with fleet owners first, because they have large numbers of vehicles and drivers that could realize significant benefit from such training. Ultimately, all drivers can benefit from practicing eco-driving, and one day it may be considered mandatory as part of all new drivers training.

—Curt Magleby, director of Governmental Affairs, Ford Motor Company

Among the eco-driving practices that drivers can begin practicing on their own are driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph, keeping tires properly inflated at the recommended pressure, and eliminating prolonged idling.

Ford’s eco-driving initiative builds on the recent launch by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers of a comprehensive nationwide effort to promote eco-driving. (Earlier post.)

August 27, 2008 in Fuel Efficiency | Permalink | Comments (48) | TrackBack (0)

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I had an idea for an eco-driving simulator or game.

You get points for using as little fuel as possible.
If you hold up traffic, you get beeped and lose points.
If you go to slow, you lose points etc.
If you go too close to other cars, you lose points etc etc.

The trick would be to make it fun - which is beyond my abilities (as is writing a driving game).

Car companies could give away DVDs of the game when you buy a car / or they could just give them away anyhow. As could the government.

You would need an automatic version and a manual one.

employ smoother breaking
You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

This is great -- and somewhat vindicates Obama's line about tire pressure cutting gas costs more than offshore drilling...

As for a video game, the Prius has minute-by-minute fuel economy updates in-dash. Trouble is, the distraction of people looking down to check mileage while driving in traffic could pose a serious safety problem!

It's an interesting metric to see that the average improvement in fuel economy was 24%. I have this idea that car's could be equipped with the ability to provide instantaneous feedback to the drivers as to what their gas mileage is (similar to the Prius). This feedback would be a far better 'trainer' than a person and would always be with you. All the sensors are probably already installed to make this possible. Other features would also be interesing as well. For example after a fill up you could input the cost paid per gallon and the output could then be displayed in $/mile. The challenge would be to get the lowest cost per mile (highest mpg). This economic feedback could be an excellent motivator. It could also allow output that would calculate $/month or $/year or average mpg on a monthly, yearly rate etc. etc. I'd love to have a device like this. I'd love to know what my instantaeous mpg was at 75 mph vs 55 mph or when acclerating rapidly vs. slowly. This software/hardware could probably be easily developed and integrated into many vehicles and sold as an option for fairly cheaply, especially if done on a large scale. Anybody care to estimate what it would take to do this, or what it may cost?

The CDs are good idea.
Maybe some kind of econo-cruise control modification or new device that could be retrofitted into a car?
I think that some of these techniques might not be that complex.
An upshift early beep for the manual Xmissions, a "light-foot" auto-throttle for the ATs to get early upshifts.
Planning ahead to avoid accelerating up to the next stop might be difficult for the econ-cruise control.
Maybe a beep to say "Bad dog! You just were accelerating and now your braking".

Every time I ride the bus I'm amazed at how badly the drivers drive. You'd think going round and round the same route they'd figure out where the stop signs are, but evidently not. I can see them from the back of the bus, how hard can it be to see them from up front? Every now and then you get one who approaches the smoothness I strive for, but most of them drive like they hate the management and want to run up costs deliberately. Lots of room for improvement in the fleet.

I don't think checking mileage would have to be a safety hazard any more than checking speed or looking in the rearview. It's just part of the multitasking required to operate a motor vehicle. What WOULD be a hazard is for someone to be clicking on a touch screen while driving.
What about a digital 'trainer' that was part of an integrated device that could be similar to the spoken directions of a GPS. "Accelerating more slowly will increase mileage" or "Slowing down to 55 mph will improve fuel economy". (Of course one would have to be able to toggle this off or people would be shooting bullets into their dash after a few weeks.)

Every time I ride the bus I'm amazed at how badly the drivers drive. You'd think going round and round the same route they'd figure out where the stop signs are, but evidently not.
A bus driver may be compensated for keeping to schedule. Smoothness, fuel economy and reducing vehicle wear are probably not part of employee evaluation.

I like the idea of a display that indicates $/mile. I also think that EcoDriving classes should be offered and that insurance companies offer a discount for taking the class. It would be a win-win. Eco drivers are less likely to be in an accident after all.

Sac; there are at least a couple of devices available that plug into the below-the-dashboard OBDII plug, and give quick read outs.I use a Scan Gauge(aprox $160) which can print out(with about a second or 2 delay) any info generated by the computer.Mine allows 4 readings at once, including mpg,gallons per hour,etc. I find it quite useful. Richard PS basicly works on any post 1997 car sold here in Calif(and maybe nationwide?

I have a name for the eco driving game "Grand Thrift Auto" !

Perhaps google or google.org could do it.

You could drive real journeys, including your commute to work.
It would simulate real road conditions: M25, 8.20am and so on.
You could select the car type you wanted to drive.

@Beige - I absolutely agree on the buses - the guys drive like maniacs - but how to get them to slow down ?
Perhaps give them a bonus based on fuel consumption and route times. You would need union buy in, but if you approached it properly, that could be done.

Another thing is using huge double decker buses on Saturday and Sunday mornings - it would be better to use smaller buses when the routes are thin, moving to larger buses at normal times - it would increase the capital and garaging costs though and I wonder if they have considered it before.

55 mph is bogus. what's not bogus is people using cruise control. i can't believe no one mentions this – cruise control is basically standard in all cars sold in the past 10 years, but i know very few people that use it. personally, i know that i can get 25+mph going even 70 mph on cruise control. fluctuating between 50 mph and 60 mph, on the other hand, drops that to at least 20 mpg, even though both the average and max speeds are actually lower.

oops, that should be 25+mpg...

As someone who drove a public transit bus for a few decades I can say there is no financial incentive for being on time. The pressure to be on time is mostly the psychological pressure to please your passengers. There is almost immediate and repeated negative feedback if for any reason you fall behind schedule. It is one reason so many rookie drivers quit in the first year on the job.

It would be interesting to know the vehicle mix for the tests. i.e. heavier, lighter and by coefficient of drag.

Did the mix reflect our present vehicle fleet or were they just seeing what coaching could do?

A little off topic: Roughly forty years ago Continental Airlines was measuring fuel consumption by pilot. I didn't follow the program but others in the office said they found over 20% variation at first. Training the lead-footed in the flight simulators saved a lot of money.

Even further off topic: Charles Lindbergh was very scientific in planning his flight across the Atlantic. Part of planning was to minimize fuel use. Later, in the thirties and forties he worked with airlines on flight efficiency and supposedly reduced air force fuel use by several percent during WW2.

Some of that might even be true.

The same thing that applies to bus drivers also applies to subway drivers. Some are so smooth you hardly know they are pulling into or out of a station/stop. Yet others are so herky/jerky they snap your neck every time they stop, and, forget about smooth takes offs -- they gun the throttle only to snap the brake because the excessive speed alarm goes off (you can hear it go off if yo are in the first car) -- the wear and tear on the equipment must be astronomical not to mention the excessive use of juice (electricity). You would think it would be easy to install some sort of motion detector that would measure driver performance!!!

I've often thought that "learner vehicles could be fitted with a red led on the dash where instructor and driver could see each time the brakes are applied.
This would tell when brakes are used excessively, riding constant downhill application instead of selecting a lower gear.
The instructor would eplain that as it takes energy to brake that is "efffectively wasted " so modify the driving tecnique to use less fuel.
The objective is to minimise the time the light is on - while staying safe.

I simply note in passing that if eco-driving requires that you drive 55 when all the traffic around you wants to go 70, you will eventually be the cause of an accident. You may not be in the accident yourself, but someone trying to dodge around you, or performing an abrupt maneuver in order to avoid someone dodging around you, will be.

Eco-driving = common sense and paying attention to traffic and road conditions. These are two things that drivers would find in every drivers handbook.. I think all of us who took driver training in High School should remember; pay attention to conditions around your vehicle and drive safely and defensively. Nothing really magical about "Eco-driving. I believe it comes down to the fact that everyone wastes fuel in an effort to save time to destination. The more money someone makes, the less important Eco-driving is them.. And, certainly, the cost and availabiity of fuel is a major factor.

Rikiki

Part II
I experienced my first NON-eco-driving when I visited Mexico City in 1968 for the olympics. The streets definitly were not fit for pedestrians. Drivers seemed in a constant drag race from one red light to the next. In the very high altitudes of Mexico D.F., that meant a huge black cloud swirling behind lead footed drivers. Hard acceleration and hard braking.. went on for miles.


Rikiki

Part III
Modern day Texas, where I lived for three years, is little different. Still seems to be a preponderance of drivers who tromp on the accelerator to gain one car length before the next light.
Rikiki

Part IV
I witnessed older non-malesand high school cheerleaders driving the same way..

Part V
.. The only real difference is the lack of the black cloud of fumes spewing from the exhaust.

Rikiki

Part VI
On a recent long car trip,
programmed my mobile GPS to advise me of my speed in excess of 65 MPH anytime. That was the only change in my driving habits in a recent trip from Austin, Tx to Chatttanooga, TN. Normal diesel fuel mileage went from 28MPG to over 30 MPG (1983 Big luxury car at 4600 pounds) on that trip. The only non-standard part of "das Auto" is that I use synthetic gear lube in the rear end.... have done for years.

IT CAN BE DONE! However I don't think fuel is nearly expensive enough (yet)!

Rikiki

PS I don't know why this is trapped behind your spam filter. Enlighten Me!

The spam filter from "TypePad Antispam" did not like the sentence. "O l d w o m e n and y o u n g g i r l s drive.."

That is the reason for six parts! Get it fixed.... In the several years I have visited this board there never has been to my knowledge anything close to Yahoo posts!

Why?
Rikiki

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