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

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.)

Comments

RIkiki

This was the original part IV with german words replacing the spam violators!
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. I thought this was a young guy thing. But I withnessed "alte Frauen und junge Frauleinen" doing the same thing.. The only real difference is the lack of the black cloud of fumes spewing from the exhaust.

Your spam filter is waaay over the top guys!

Rikiki

Your 15 comments are also kind of way over the top!

stas peterson

Eyewash...

It like building revolutionary fervor to go into the sugarcane fields and bring in the crop with socialist revolutionary fervor for Fidel.

It didn't do much for 50 consecutive years of sugar crop failures, and this won't change anything either...

Kweksma

The funny thing is that car-builders keep making more powerful engines. It would be all to easy to install an engine that would FORCE the driver to accelerate slowly, that way you get both a cheaper car, that has natural "driving coach" built in....

Scatter

What's bogus about driving at slower speeds? That's no myth, simple phsysics.

55 isn't the most efficient speed though - more like 45mph-50mph depending on the car. Slower or faster than that sweet spot increases fuel consumption.

Is cruise control really that efficient? Maybe the technology has improved recently but when I've been in cars with cruise control they've been pretty clumsy, especially on hills.

Given engine control units control most modern cars, what's to stop the manufacturers going the whole hog and having a button that engages "most efficient mode" and only allows acceleration at the most efficient rate? You could have it so that if you depress the accelerator heavily it'll accelerate faster if you need to accelerate quicker for some reason. Couldn't that be done?

mahonj

There are various conditions where eco driving can be practiced - in the city, and on open roads.

Once you have got your acceleration habit under control, there is not much you can do on open roads except slow down, etc.

However, you have to balance journey times and disruption to other road users as well as pure economy.

If you are doing 45 on a single lane road, or causing a huge tailback, you are not really helping anyone.

I guess all you can do is drive as smoothly and as close to 55 as you can without holding up traffic.

Or buy a smaller(engined) car.

You could imagine renaming the slow lane on a 4 or more lane road the "eco" lane.

fred schumacher

When I was in my 40s I had to drive about 60,000 miles per year, so I developed techniques to reduce fuel usage. These techniques are almost the same as the ones used for eco-driving and the ones taught by Fedex and UPS to their drivers: pay attention to traffic and road conditions; think about your place within the traffic scheme; look way down the road; think ahead; minimize braking; maintain momentum when possible; don't drive over 62 mph; shortshift; be smoooooth in your driving. I don't tailgate, draft trucks, coast around corners at high speed, or driver slower than traffic when traffic is heavy.

I average about 25% better gas mileage than other members of my family. My worst gas mileage is never as bad as road testers' best mileage in the same vehicle. It seems to me that road testers must be using the throttle as an on-off switch.

Ecodriving is the quickest, lowest cost, least invasive way to reduce our petroleum consumption by a big chunk. It's picking the low hanging fruit.

By the way, regarding the herky-jerky driving of buses: most buses use automatic transmissions with high stall speeds, so it's hard to drive them smoothly. Buses also have to weave in and out from the curb. If buses ran linearly, like trolleys, and used mains electric power, they would be much much smoother.

Joseph


My car is more fuel efficient at 65 than it is at 55. Almost 4mpg better at 65. The way the gears are set up, 55mph makes the turbo kick in at every slight incline. At 65 the car glides over the small hills, like and overpass, without engaging the turbo.

fred schumacher

"My car is more fuel efficient at 65 than it is at 55... 55mph makes the turbo kick in at every slight incline"

Take the car out of cruise control and keep your throttle foot in the same position, letting the car speed up on the downhill sections and slow down on the uphill.

A couple of years ago, my son and I were driving across Wyoming on two-lane roads in a 4-wheel drive Dodge Dakota. He had the cruise set at 68 and was averaging 13.5 mpg. At every upgrade the transmission would downshift out of overdrive and into second and the engine jump way up in rpm. When I drove, I took it out of cruise and let the road conditions set my speed. I averaged 20 mpg, and the tranny didn't hunt and peck for gears.

Beester

I think pure EV does away with most of this. Sure you can squeeze more more miles per charge out of an EV with improved driving techniques but I suspect it is not as big a variable.

Hal

I'd like to see "slow lanes" on highways. Let the speed limit be 55 in the right lane. It's as simple as that. People can drive slow in that lane and save gas, without obstructing traffic in the other lanes. The one problem would be if someone is going 45 there, and the 55'ers want to pass them, it will be hard to do so safely if the other lanes are going 70+.

fred schumacher

Pure EVs would be even more dependent on ecodriving techniques than IC autos. Energy storage in a battery is a tiny fraction of what can be stored in liquid fuel. For EVs to have any range at all, they will need to be ecodriven. Drive lead-footed and you'll have a dead battery before you can get home.

The problem of getting home is a part of EV behavior that is rarely discussed. With liquid fuels, vehicles have a large reserve range. Most fuel gauges err on the side of having extra fuel in the tank when the gauge reads empty. There won't be this reserve with EVs, especially since most drivers are not careful about monitoring their "fuel" usage, whether that be gas or electricity.

I see a future of chronic traffic jams caused by battery-dead EV vehicles stalled in the road. That's why I would be in favor of pure EVs having small gensets with about two gallons of fuel for get-home ability at city street speed (about 30 mph).

Engineer-Poet

Quoth lensovet:

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
Probably because you leave the transmission in gear while your speed is dropping.  There's a technical term for a engine at idle throttle coupled to a vehicle moving at road speed; it's called a "brake".

I have driven boost-and-coast between 65 MPH and 75 MPH with the transmission in neutral during the coast phase, and my car gets better mileage than it does at a steady 65 MPH.  This is probably because the engine frictional and pumping losses are far smaller at idle RPM than road speed, and the efficiency of the engine is much greater at full load than at road load.  If you try this with an automatic transmission, make sure the transmission stays in top gear and the torque converter remains locked during acceleration.  Your Mileage May Vary (literally).

FWIW, I have achieved over 55 MPG doing boost-and-coast between 45 and 60 MPH.  2004 Passat TDI, absolutely stock.

Fred:  That's called a "PHEV".

arnold

rear.
I notice that cruise will continue to accelerate in order to maintain uphill speed wasting fuel by opening the throttle under load.
I would always sit back a little on the downhill run, gradually increase to over speed at the bottom of the hill and use flywheel effect to catch the car in front by the time we reach the top of the hill.
As the little commercial is low geared and low powered, I never break the speed limit (honest officer) but get great economy by not wasting fuel trying to bust a gut uphill.
If I'm in with trucks, I find they use a similar technique although many now have the power to accelerate uphill.
That's why those trucks seem to be on your tail a the bottom of the hill, until they suss ( analyze ) the cars in fronts driving pattern.
This works well in mostly rural low volume traffic.

arnold

Got spammed so the post made no sense.this is sort of te beginning.


( when I first read this I figured I was reading it wrong or that there was a typo )
"That cruise control reduces fuel consumption is patently false.
Cars using cruise control will try to maintain speed uphill by accelerating under load.
If I tried this in my Dyna diesel, it would die in the b..

MG

I had cruise control in many cars, tried it a couple of times and found it dangereous, and never use it.

Simply it can significantly increase reaction time. People who like to use it told me they put their right foot on the floor when cruise control is engaged.
In case of any emergency (some road obstacle, especially at night, animal etc) that requires immediate application of brake or gas pedal, my guess is that it takes about half a second more to react if the right foot is on the floor (and not on or above a pedal). That difference in reaction time is IMHO sufficient to avoid most accidents for a situation aware driver.

Cruise control is probably much more useful for heavy trucks (also trains, boats and aircraft), than for small, highly manoeuvrable vehicles.

fred schumacher

I have put 400,000 miles on early 90s Dodge Caravans with the 3.3 liter engine and 4-speed automatic. The 3.3 is a torquey 150 hp. engine. I now have a plain-Jane 2000 Plymouth Voyager with the 2.4 liter engine and 3-speed automatic. Although the rated horsepower is the same as the 3.3 liter, the torque characteristics are no where near as good as the 3.3. These vans all weigh about the same, around 3,500 pounds.

On the Matowah Hill, a long steady grade, on I-35 near Duluth, MN, the 3.3 on cruise control would downshift from 4th to 2nd, jumping rpm significantly; whereas, the 2.4 driven without cruise control (it doesn't have one) doesn't even come out of lock-up in top gear, because I allow the car to slow down (it only drops 3 mph by the top).

My long-term average mpg in mixed driving in the 3.3 vans is 23 mpg.; in the 2.4 van I've been averaging 28 mpg overall, and on the highway I get between 30 and 33. This is with a mechanical governor-controlled (not electronic) transmission. If this van had a 5-speed manual, I think I could average in the low-30s overall.

Use the cruise control on the flats, but turn it off in rolling hills.

Engineer-Poet

My car stayed in 5th gear going up mountains on I-77 at 65 MPH...

... towing a 4x8 U-Haul trailer...

... loaded to more than 3 tons total vehicle weight.

Yes, I used cruise control.  I got over 28 MPG.

In a torque contest between a 3.3l Chrysler and a 1.9l VW TDI, the TDI wins.

"My car stayed in 5th gear going up mountains...loaded to more than 3 tons total vehicle weight."

Yes, the torque characteristics of a turbo diesel will allow you to do that. Diesels won't rev as fast because of their high internal intertia, but, under load, they maintain rpm better than gas engines.

John Deere came up with a name for that phenomenon, of maintaining rpm as load goes up. They call it "torque rise."

I'm a retired farmer. My father-in-law had two nearly identical 60 hp. loader tractors, one with a gas engine and one with a diesel. There was no comparison. The diesel had way more drawbar pull and used half the fuel of the gasser. Increase the load and the gasser would poop out and have to be downshifted.

If it had been a gas engine pulling the same load in the mountains, it would have had to have been downshifted, unlike the diesel. My first cruise-control equipped car was a 1986 Plymouth Voyager with the 2.2 liter and 5-speed manual. It could not pull even minor hills in 5th gear. The long stroke, undersquare 2.5 liter in my 1993 Caravan with 5-speed, acted more like a diesel and could easily pull hills in 5th.

For gas engined cars in rolling hills and mountains, I still think you'll get better fuel economy without the cruise engaged. For a diesel, that my not be the case.

DCE

Wow, imagine that! Drive carefully and you get better mileage. I recently completed a 525 mile trip in my wife's 2007 Corolla, 44MPG. No "hypermiling" just sane driving. My wife does good to get 32MPG because she drives, shall we say, "normally".

sjc

You could have threshold tones that tell you when you are in the good and bad zones. Punch it and the bad tone beeps and ease it and the good tone beeps. Simple as that.

Engineer-Poet
Diesels won't rev as fast because of their high internal intertia, but, under load, they maintain rpm better than gas engines.
Engine inertia has nothing to do with it (it's negligible compared to the car's).  It's the physics of the diesel itself; the fuel has to be injected as a liquid, travel through the squish space, evaporate, mix with air and THEN burn.  This takes much longer than a flame going through a fully-homogenized mixture, and it limits the speed of the engine; torque falls off as the combustion occurs further and further down the power stroke and does less useful work.  You get the same effect by retarding the spark of a gas engine.

A turbodiesel will "maintain RPM" better because it has far more torque at low speed (due to a combination of greater air charge and higher compression ratio).  The 3.3 liter Chrysler is rated at around 200 ft-lb of torque (depending on model) at 3600 RPM, which is way higher than top-gear revs at road speed.  The 1.9 liter VW TDI is rated at 247 ft-lb at just 1900 RPM, which happens to be dead on the revs in 5th gear at 60 MPH.  Coming down from 65 MPH in top gear, the Chrysler 3.3 is losing its already-low torque, while the VW is heading for its peak.

Going up a mountain at 65 MPH in top gear and 100% load, the TDI is only producing about 95 horsepower.  But the drag of a trailer falls much faster with decreasing speed than the torque of the engine, so it has no difficulty keeping the speed up.  An engine operating in a region where the torque falls with decreasing speed may have to downshift.

Electric Vehicle

How you drive does in fact make a huge difference to the amount of fuel consumed. It is great to see how high the level of concern for reducing fuel consumption is.

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