Eco-driving training gives 24 per cent boost to fuel economy

Ford Motor Co. has released test results showing that drivers, when properly trained, can boost their fuel economy by an average of 24 per cent. “The 48 total drivers who took part in the validation tests saw results ranging from 6 percent fuel economy improvement to more than 50 percent, depending on their driving style and ability to master eco-driving behaviors,” according to a release from Ford. “Eco-driving instructors coached drivers to employ smoother breaking and accelerating, monitor their RPMs and drive at a moderate speed.”

It makes one wonder how much fuel could be saved if all cars — not just plug-in hybrids — had dashboard monitors showing instant feedback on fuel economy (i.e. MPG or 100 km/litre) and all drivers were required, as part of getting their license, to take a half-hour training course on eco-driving.

Certainly 15 per cent improvement in fuel economy is possible, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If the U.S. uses close to 150 billion gallons of gasoline annually, and if every American practiced eco-driving and got the EPA-estimated 15 percent benefit in fuel economy, “more than 22 billion gallons of gas would be saved,” says Ford.

Obviously, some dogs just can’t be taught tricks. But providing this kind of training to corporate and vehicle fleets is a start. And some dogs do want to be taught tricks, so perhaps there’s a small business opportunity down the road for teaching one-hour eco-driving courses.

Drew DeGrassi, president of Pro Formance Group, which helped conduct the tests with Ford, says the opportunity for savings is real. At the same time, he doesn’t exaggerate the potential. “It’s not the end-all solution for America to obtain energy independence, but it is an important part of it.” Such training, combined with more efficient vehicles that run on electricity or alternative fuels, can go a hell of a long way.

5 thoughts on “Eco-driving training gives 24 per cent boost to fuel economy”

  1. At $4/gallon that is 88 BILLION dollars saved!!!!!!!

    It works out to be about $300 for every US citizen.

    Now which one of the presidental candidates will announce mandatory Eco-Driving lessons first?


  2. Now that Ford demonstrated it’s the driver’s fault, they don’t have to produce fuel efficient vehicles!!

    This has been known for decades and the hypermilers and others have been demonstrating it in real world examples for a long time. Feedback on fuel economy is essential in all vehicles, so that people can make a better connection to what they pay at the pump, and how far it’ll take them in their vehicles. But ultimately, driver’s fuel economy habits will be best “learned” by the price at the pump.

  3. You won’t be hearing about this from either major party candidates. They don’t understand or care about the power of conservation and efficiency. We’ll have to do this ourselves.

  4. Ford is missing the point- it is not better fuel economy, whether by better ICE vechicles, or by better driving habits- not that these are not good things, for the short run- but it is still just a short term bandaid. I am not one of those who disdains what gasoline has done for us, both in terms of economic development and in transporation, but the time has come to move on. A century of Gas usage is taking its toll on us, environmentally, economically and physically. If Ford really wants to help, they need to get off their collective arses and start helping us move off of carbon-based fuel systems. We (my family) have two ICE vehicles now, one of them a Ford Escort in fact, and expect to have both for a few more years. But once they need to be replaced, I do not expect to buy another ICE vehicle ever again. I think, and hope, others are coming to the same decision- and it will be the car companies that understand this that will profit.

  5. It’s amazing to me that this is not better known. Industry choices aside, consumers everywhere are looking for ways they can reduce their carbon footprint without drastically changing the way they live. “Eco-driving” may be a bit of a misnomer, but better driving is surely a good thing, and will save money too. Why isn’t everyone talking about this?

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