Eco-driving is a series of efficient driving practices, including idling reduction. It is relatively new to the United States. In Europe, and other countries where fuel prices are two to three times higher, eco-driving has for years been a well-established practice, as it can save motorists significant sums of money annually. Eco-driving also reduces carbon emissions that improve our health, conserve energy and improve the environment.
Ford Motor Company, a pioneer of eco-driving in the U.S. and internationally, conducted tests showing that eco-driving can improve fuel economy by an average of 24 percent!
10 Eco-Driving Tips that can result in being 24% more fuel efficient!
1. Slow down and watch speed. Drive 55-60 miles per hour instead of 65 to save fuel. EPA estimates an up to 15 percent improvement in fuel economy by following this tip. Also, aim for a constant speed. Pumping the accelerator sends more fuel into the engine. Using cruise control whenever possible on the highway helps maintain speeds and conserve fuel.
2. Accelerate and brake smoothly. Accelerating smoothly from a stop and braking softly conserves fuel. Fast starts, weaving in and out of traffic and hard braking wastes fuel and wears out some of the car components, such as brakes and tires, more quickly. Maximize your vehicle's momentum by maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions to allow for more time to brake and accelerate gradually.
3. Avoid excessive idling when parked. Idling wastes fuel, causes engine wear, and can cause respiratory illnesses. Limit stationary warm ups to 30 seconds when possible (make sure defrosting is adequate). Driving gently is the most efficient way to warm up. If you're parked in town, idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than shutting off and restarting. In Vermont, allowing a vehicle to idle while unattended in public is in violation of Vermont's unattended motor vehicle law; if you leave your vehicle, you must shut it off.
4. Check your tires. Keep tires properly inflated to the recommended tire pressure. This alone can reduce the average amount of fuel use by 3-4 percent. Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy. They also wear more rapidly. Check the vehicle's door-post sticker for minimum cold tire inflation pressure.
5. Be kind to your vehicle. Maintain proper engine tune-up to keep vehicles running efficiently. Keep the wheels aligned. Wheels that are fighting each other waste fuel. Replace air filters as recommended. Use a fuel with good detergent additives to keep the vehicle engine clean and performing efficiently. Always consult the Owner's Manual for proper maintenance.
6. Travel light. Unnecessary weight, such as unneeded items in the trunk and a lot of luggage on the roof rack, makes the engine work harder and consumes more fuel.
7. Minimize use of heater and air conditioning. Use heating and air conditioning selectively to reduce the load on the engine. Decreasing your usage of the air conditioner when temperatures are above 80 degrees can help you save 10-15 percent of fuel. Use the vent setting as much as possible. Park in the shade to keep car cool and reduce the need for air conditioning.
8. Close windows at highway speeds. Don't drive with the windows open unless your keep your speed under 50 mph. Driving with the windows open at highway speeds increases aerodynamic drag on the vehicle and lowers fuel economy.
9. Consolidate trips. Plan ahead to consolidate your trips. This will enable you to bypass congested routes, lead to less idling, fewer start-ups and less stop-and-go traffic.
10. Consider alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle traveling. Consider ridesharing, carpooling, public transportation riding a bike, or walking.
Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)
Fuel Efficient Driving Tips VIDEO