Eco-driving, green driving or whatever one might call it is something we have written about several times on this page. If it isn’t possible to commute without a car where you live, it is at least a good idea to make sure you get as much as possible out of every litre/gallon of fuel and thus reducing your CO2 emissions, right? You might even save some money. Or a lot depending on your current style of driving.
The problem is that when gas prizes have historically been low, especially in oil producing countries (I’m looking at you USA), no one have really bothered learning this driving style. Why bother when a gallon of milk is more expensive then fuel after all. And there is no real hard proof of global warming, right? That’s just those eggheads in white lab coats and hippies speaking. Right?
Buuuuuuut! Times are changing. Fuel is getting more and more expensive. People complain and pay their last money at the pump. It is getting more and more apparent that something is happening with our climate. While many are uninterested in changing climate and warmer summers and colder winters, saving money is interesting to anyone. This was discussed at a transportation conference during may in California by experts from scientific institutions as well as industry representatives.
The conclusion; sure it is a good time to try to introduce eco-driving to the public. We have the economical incentive, environmental incentive and lots of new technology to play with. But there are lots of stuff we don’t know about drivers behaviour which need to be researched first.
I agree with this. Eco-driving requires a special set of mind. You will have to plan ahead, be careful and think of what you are doing. The ride should be smooth with only the absolute necessary stops on the way. So is it just for smart people? Well no. Anyone can do it. But most people don’t know the benefits or the technique. Or have the patience to try. I have had cars switch lane to pass me at a red light, only to have to step on the breaks when they are past me more then once. Not exactly green and planned behaviour.
Tailpipe emissions from a cold start - Wikipedia commons
So what is the solution? Well, look at the benefits. Should eco-driving be named econo-driving as is suggested in the article above? I say why not. Saving money is always tempting, and making every drop of fuel count is getting more and more important. In doing so, you have less emissions. The environment is happy as well as the purse. Mandatory eco/economy driving classes for drivers licence education? We have that here in Sweden, but you still see people speeding towards red lights, hitting the breaks, standing still and then making a burnout trying to get up too speed as fast as possible.
Would new tech be a way to encourage green behaviour? I don’t know. Having the GPS point out which road has the best possibility of green driving may very well be something for all the technique interested people around the world. Displays showing current and best fuel consumption as well as current CO2 emissions may be something as well. But will this really change anything? Will people become greener drivers because a piece of tech says so?
As you can understand, this is just speculations on my part right now. I literary have no idea of how to change an uninterested persons mind, especially on such a touchy subject as driving style. A survey made by a newspaper here in Sweden showed that 80% of the drivers who answered thought they were “above average” drivers (and most of them are most certainly NOT above average:P). I am sure it is the same in other countries as well.
Hopefully eco-driving will not be something “special” in the future. Everybody will do it and not think anything about it. Well, the best would be if everyone took the bike to work. Or the bus. Or the train Or walked. Hopefully those will be the most common modes of transportation in the future. But we are used to driving, and this is a good(ish) way to at least reduce the emissions a bit. Try it out. There are lots of guides out there on the net. It is fun, will save you some money and reduce your CO2 footprint a bit.
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