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Ecodriving: How You Can Conserve Energy While Driving Your Car

By Guest Contributor  

"Ecodriving: How You Can Conserve Energy While Driving Your Car"

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Our guest bloggers are Dave McCurdy and Jason Grumet. McCurdy is the the President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Grumet is the Executive Director of the National Commission on Energy Policy.

ecodrivng.gifThe solutions to climate change and energy security are going to require creativity, dedication and innovation across our society. Government must adopt sound policies that provide incentives and support for innovation. Companies have to seize opportunities to develop new, more efficient products. And all Americans must join together in the recognition that our individual actions have real impacts on our nation’s economy, security and environment.

Automakers understand and share the concerns of policymakers, environmental advocates and American consumers about rising gas prices, energy security and climate change. New aggressive efforts are underway to develop highly efficient vehicles and advanced technologies that do not consume oil. While these efforts progress, there’s something that every American driver can do to be part of the solution — it’s called ecodriving.

Ecodriving is a public education and awareness initiative aimed at providing consumers with tips to show how regular vehicle maintenance combined with simple changes in driving habits can lead to significant improvements in fuel economy and reductions in automobile carbon dioxide emissions. Ecodriving is practiced in other parts of the world and is proven to provide fuel economy improvements as much as 15 to 20 percent. With gas prices at record highs and growing concern over climate change, ecodriving provides direct pocketbook benefits to consumers, and give them tools to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ecodriving proves you can save money and improve the environment by driving green. Best of all, ecodriving can provide benefits right now across the entire vehicle fleet.

By following a set of easy-to-use best practices for driving and vehicle maintenance, a typical ecodriver can improve mileage by about 15 percent. Today’s automobiles are really computers on wheels, with more than 3,000 interactive parts operating as a complex system. The more you know about your machine, the better you can reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions. Always read your owner’s manual. Maintaining proper tire pressure, regularly replacing air filters, using the right oil and removing excess weight from your vehicle, as well as using cruise control, combining trips and avoiding “jack rabbit” starts and stops will ultimately save you money at the pump and reduce CO2 emissions.

Ecodriving produces the highest mileage from every single vehicle, regardless of vehicle size and age, so it offers an unmatched reach in addressing energy and climate issues by potentially affecting the nation’s 240 million automobiles. The program’s benefits are potentially huge:

• If just half of all drivers nationwide practiced moderate levels of ecodriving, annual CO2 emissions could be reduced by about 100 million tons, or the equivalent of heating and powering 8.5 million households.

• If all Americans practiced ecodriving, it would be equal to traveling 450 billion miles with zero emissions. That’s 1,500 CO2-free miles for every man, woman, and child in the United States each year.

Last year, Alliance members supported a tough, new national energy law (EISA) in Congress that raises fuel economy to an average of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020 – that’s an historic 40 percent increase in mileage. EISA will also lower oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels a day, saving 18 billion gallons of gasoline a year and will push the auto industry to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide by a minimum of 30 percent.

Automakers continue developing and introducing innovative technologies to increase mileage and reduce CO2 and are exploring all possible technologies, But we can go farther and faster in our efforts to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gases through a comprehensive program. That includes innovative market-based approaches and collaborative partnerships. There’s a role for each one of us to play in being a part of the solution to these critical issues.

To most experts and certainly to most American citizens our energy future seems far from secure. In the long run, the policies we need to address global warming are also the policies we need to regain control of our energy destiny. By practicing ecodriving, consumers who are better aware of the operations of their vehicle will be rewarded by saving money at the gas pump and reducing CO2 emissions. By working together, we can substantially reduce CO2 emissions and fuel use, one ecodriver at a time.

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