Ford Reaches Out To Governments, Customers, And Dealers To Promote Fuel-Saving Eco-Driving
DEARBORN, Mich. – What if EcoDriving techniques such as gentle acceleration and maintaining proper tire pressure were a part of every driver’s training? That’s what Ford Motor Company is asking as it continues its promotion of fuel-saving driving behaviors to policy makers, dealers and fleet customers.
Having recently verified that eco-driving techniques can result in an average 24 percent fuel savings, Ford is exploring several opportunities to promote “green” driving practices with everyone from everyday drivers to government officials.
At the consumer level, Ford is exploring the feasibility of a fleet training pilot program, and it is reaching out to its dealer body to create EcoDriving awareness with car buyers. In addition, Ford is engaging policy makers about the possibility of integrating eco-driving techniques into drivers’ education.
“Improving fuel economy requires commitment from all stakeholders including automakers, regulators, fuel producers and consumers. Ford will continue to do its part to improve fuel economy with new technologies across its vehicle lineup,” said Susan Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “As part of our fuel efficiency strategy, we strongly encourage our customers to put EcoDriving tips into practice.”
EcoDriving refers to specific driving behaviors that can improve fuel economy, save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote safe driving. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the U.S. uses close to 150 billion gallons of gasoline annually. If every American practiced EcoDriving and got the EPA-estimated 15 percent benefit in fuel economy, more than 22 billion gallons of gas would be saved each year.
The cornerstone of the EcoDriving philosophy is that achieving maximum results lies in the cumulative effect of implementing all the eco-driving tips, said Drew DeGrassi, president and CEO of Pro Formance Group, a Phoenix-based firm that provides coaching in EcoDriving techniques.
“Probably the two most significant fuel-wasting behaviors that can easily be remedied are jackrabbit starts and stops, and failing to anticipate traffic conditions,” DeGrassi said. “Smooth acceleration and braking, combined with an awareness of what is going on around you on the roads will go a long ways toward a more fuel efficient and relaxed driving style.”
EcoDriving – part of a long-term solution for energy security
As gas prices spiked during the past year, Americans drove less. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motorists put 53.2 billion fewer miles on their vehicles’ odometers between November 2007 and August 2008 than they did during the same period a year earlier. As a result, they are using less fuel – 400 million fewer gallons of gas in the first quarter alone.
But drivers can save even more fuel while still getting to where they need to go. According to tests performed by Ford Motor Company and Pro Formance Group, motorists coached by EcoDriving experts can save even more gas – and money – by using techniques that can significantly improve the fuel economy performance of their cars, trucks or SUVs.
EcoDriving experts suggest the following practices for motorists to use to maximize their mileage:
* Slow down and obey the posted speed limit. Aim for a constant speed, drive with the flow of traffic, and use cruise control on the highway.
* Smooth acceleration under 2,000 RPM’s and smooth deceleration and braking by anticipating traffic flow, signal status and stop signs also saves fuel.
* Avoid idling. Turn the engine off in non-traffic situations, such as at drive-up windows, when idling more than 30 seconds.
* Check your tire pressure monthly to insure that it is at the recommended level. This can reduce the average amount of fuel use by 3-4 percent.
* Maintain proper engine tune-up to keep vehicles running efficiently. Keep the wheels aligned. Replace air filters as recommended.
* Travel light. Avoid piling a lot of luggage on the roof rack. It reduces aerodynamics and hurts fuel economy.
* Minimize use of heater and air conditioning. Decreasing usage of the A/C when temperatures are above 80 degrees can help you save 10-15 percent of fuel. Use the vent setting as much as possible. Also, park in the shade to keep car cool.
* Close windows at high speeds. Don’t drive with the windows open unless your keep your speed under 50 mph. Driving with them open at highway speeds increases aerodynamic drag and lowers fuel economy.
* Planning ahead to consolidate your trips will enable you to bypass congested routes, lead to less idling, fewer start-ups and less stop-and-go traffic.
Passing the EcoDriving test
Over a four-day period, Ford and the Pro Formance drivers conducted validation tests using volunteers from Phoenix who were given individual coaching on specific driving behaviors. The Sports Car Club of America verified the results, which showed an average 24 percent improvement in fuel economy as a result of hands-on EcoDriving training.
“By working with Pro Formance to conduct validation testing, Ford is proving that EcoDriving techniques are teachable and work across a broad spectrum of vehicles and drivers,” DeGrassi said. “It’s a great initiative for Ford to lead in this country. It’s not the end-all solution for America to obtain energy independence, but it is an important part of it.”
Taking it to the fleets
Hands-on instruction is critical for achieving full potential of EcoDriving since instructions for the techniques must be customized after instructors have had the opportunity to observe individual driving habits and then provide coaching for more fuel efficient driving behavior.
Ford and Pro Formance Group have teamed up to pilot an EcoDriving program for fleet customers. The program would employ certified master trainers to deliver hands-on coaching to maximize mileage in everyday driving.
“We are talking with fleet owners first, because they have large numbers of vehicles and drivers that could realize significant benefit from such training,” said Curt Magleby, director of Governmental Affairs, Ford Motor Company. “Ultimately, all drivers can benefit from practicing EcoDriving, and one day it may be considered mandatory as part of all new drivers training.”
Ford’s EcoDriving initiative builds on the recent launch by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers of a comprehensive nationwide promotion at www.EcoDrivingUSA.com.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 229,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.