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Denver Launches Pilot Program to Quantify the Impact of Driving Behavior on Fuel Consumption and GHG Emissions

The City of Denver, Colorado, is launching what it calls the world’s first vehicular greenhouse gas (GHG) management and reduction pilot program—Driving Change. Driving Change measures the environmental impact of individual driving behavior through the installation of accelerometers that connect to internal vehicle systems and the use of an Internet-based GHG management system.

The Driving Change initiative allows for the real-time measurement of a number of driving behaviors, including idling, speeding, fast stops and hard braking, that have a direct impact on fuel consumption.

Driving Change utilizes technology developed by Enviance, Inc. and Cartasite, Inc. Two Cartasite-developed measuring devices, an accelerometer and a modem, are installed in a vehicle in approximately 30 minutes and connect to the internal vehicle systems. The devices transmit electronic data using cellular wireless networks to a data center where it is analyzed by Enviance’s Internet-based GHG management system and graphed to produce personalized results in the form of a custom dashboard. Participants have access to their vehicle’s emissions information via a secure website which allows them to monitor their progress.

The program is underwritten by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., and was developed through a joint venture of Cartasite and Enviance.

Both city employees and private citizens will participate in the program. By May 2008, Driving Change expects to have a total of 400 private and public vehicles involved in the study. The goal of the pilot program is to determine if there is a direct, measurable and positive correlation between driving behavior and CO2 emissions.

While the pilot program does not directly measure GHG emissions, it will attempt to reveal that driving style does have an impact on the environment. For example, idling is believed to consume one cup of fuel every five minutes. The cumulative effect of idling is estimated to result in the burning of 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline, emitting 13 million tons of CO2. Rapid acceleration and hard braking can lower gas mileage by as much as 20%. The ability to measure and review idle time, rapid acceleration and hard braking is designed to help both individual and fleet drivers to see the impact of their behavior on the level of emissions for which they are responsible.

Automobile emissions account for approximately 30% of GHG emissions in Denver.

Today, Denver’s fleet includes 144 hybrid-electric vehicles. In May of 2008, Denver will become one of the first cities in the nation to acquire a hybrid-hydraulic trash truck, which is expected to produce a 25% to 50% increase in miles per gallon achieved and reduce emissions. Denver is currently retrofitting on-road and off-road equipment with diesel oxidation catalysts and crank case ventilation systems to reduce emissions and clean the air in Denver neighborhoods. The City and County of Denver also utilizes alternative fuels and operates more than 800 units on B20 biodiesel.


Tom Street

"The goal of the pilot program is to determine if there is a direct, measurable and positive correlation between driving behavior and CO2 emissions."

I hope they are not paying too much for this study.

John Taylor

So people voluntarily participate and commit to driving for an extra 30 minutes.
At the end of the study, we find out that cars really do pollute.

Can you say “make-believe pseudo environmental PR project” rather than “study” ...?

Two good points ...
> It would be a fine way to test a car you were planning to purchase.
> It does increase public awareness in auto pollution issues, and makes people realize they can be a part of the solution.

Bill W

The sooner the public realizes that they can make a difference and that small things make a difference, the better.


After adopting new driving habits, my 99 Alero now yields 350 miles on 14 US gallons. Previously, I would only get 230 miles.

stan peterson

Another example of the careful husbanding and use of the taxpayers money by bureaucrats.

Why is it that a certain mindset assumes that it is easy or possible to permanently change human nature?

They believe that people can be exhorted by superior minds and beings such as themselves or coerced, (or liquidated if necessary, into changing the way they conduct themselves in even minor ways.

Marx and his followers from Lenin to Hitler and Stalin to Mao, all tried to alter human nature by coercion, And all failed miserably. Still we are about to try once again.


Since I drive a Prius, I get to see all of this data in real-time. Its easy to see MPG's wasted on acceleration and so on. I think metering should come with all cars, it would naturally improve fuel economy and emissions for most drivers.


After adopting new driving habits, my 99 Alero now yields 350 miles on 14 US gallons. Previously, I would only get 230 miles.

What did you do, put the tranny in "D" instead of "L"?


only the fifth post in the thread, and Stan Godwins it, somehow managing to connect fuel economy to Hitler...


What did you do, put the tranny in "D" instead of "L"?

I have a 5 mile commute. I previously used push-pull driving; performing jackrabbit starts and just-in-time braking. I now pulse and glide; popping the car into neutral when gliding. I make sure to never go above 2200 rpm's.

Geoff Howat

What is the main purpose of this program, to measure the effect of driving behaviour on fuel economy or to change people's driving habits?

Surely everyone having the ability to monitor their progress and modify their driving behaviour will alter the outcome?

Wouldn't it be better for half the participants not to have the ability to monitor their progress to be able to accurately measure the difference between "normal" driving habits and "optimized" driving habits?



The article states..

"The program is underwritten by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc.,..."

This is a Denver operation of a Canadian company that is extremely profitable by virtue of oil and gas exploration.

I don't think any taxpayer funding is involved.


Mean't to direct Stan, not Ontario (sorry Ontario), that taxpayer funds don't seem to apply. 'Not sure how this impacts Stan's commentary about Hitler?

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