What is eco-driving?
Eco-driving is a set of simple rules that every car driver may use to reduce his fuel consumption with IMMEDIATE effect.
The fundamental rule of eco-driving is based on a smooth and anticipated driving with a well maintain vehicle.
The main benefits of eco-driving are:
- Fuel consumption reduction:
- Financial savings for the driver
- Reduction of greenhouse gases effect (CO2)
- Increased reliability of your vehicle:
- Increase of the road safety
- Reduction of the maintenance costs
However eco-driving involves for the driver to forget a certain number of preconceived ideas like the fact that driving fast saves time; which is obviously false!
Hence eco-driving requires first a change in your driving style behaviour.
The golden rules
Your driving must be as smooth as possible, that’s to say, your accelerations and breaking must be as small as possible. This information means that the most constant speed is beneficial for eco-driving.
The ideal driving profile is as follows:
- Drive smoothly
- Shift-up rapidly to the next gear to get the smallest revolution (rev. / min.) possible of the engine (for this, one must accelerate “quite” strongly but not for long)
- Keep on upper gear as long as possible
- Reach as quickly as possible the cruising speed (at the most steady and lowest possible level)
- Use the engine breaking as much as possible, that’s to say, you have to use the inertia of the vehicle without touching the breaks (a gear must be engaged)
- Anticipate as much as possible to avoid speed variations:
- Read the road as far as possible
- Slow down far before traffic ligths or runabouts for example
- Keep correct safety distances (this point is very important)
- Check on a monthly basis the pressure of your tyres (an under inflated tyre is dangerous and the vehicle consumes more fuel)
- Do not overload unnecessarily the vehicle (no gallery bars, empty boot)
- Avoid driving with the windows down and reduce usage of air-conditioning system
- Finally, leave in advance (less stress, so a smoother and a more economical driving)
The vehicle maintenance
Another important way to reduce fuel consumption (and also to increase your safety) is to regularly maintain your vehicle with the following check-points:
- Maintain regularly the correct tyre pressure (including spare wheel)
- Check the engine oil level
- Check the engine air filter cleanliness
- Check the condition of the engine spark plugs (unleaded)
- Check the condition of the windscreen wipers
- Check the windscreen-washer liquid level (to have a good visibility and to allow the correct anticipation of actions particularly in bad weather conditions)
These checks must be performed at least once a month.
The financial savings
The visible financial savings
We will take in this example:
- A person living in town and driving an average of 12,000 km (approx. 7,460 miles) per year on average (close to the current French average value)
- A car consuming 5 litres/100km on average (current French average value)
- Fuel: diesel at a price of 1,3 €/litre (French cost in January 2014)
The calculation indicates an annual consumption of 600 litres for a cost of 780€.
It is widely accepted that eco-driving generates a 8 to 15% reduction in fuel consumption.
If we consider an average 10% reduction (an easily achievable average rate), the saving is 60 litres (so 2 stops less at the gas station) and a saving of 78€.
Considering now a family living in the country side with 3 cars, we can easily imagine the following values:
- 15,000 km (approx. 9,320 miles) per year on average
- Average consumption: 6.5 litres/100 km
- Average cost of fuel per litre (1 car with unleaded): 1,4 € (French cost in January 2014)
The calculation indicates an annual consumption of 2925 litres for a cost of 4095€.
If we consider an average 10% reduction, the saving is 293 litres (so 7 stops less at the gas station) and a saving of 410 €.
We immediately realise the interest in adopting eco-driving, knowing well that the fuel cost will inevitably become more and more expensive while the cost savings appear IMMEDIATELY.
The other savings hardly measureable
In addition to the visible savings (average consumption easily calculable), eco-driving leads to other savings but much more difficult to measure and they should not be overlooked like:
- Increased tyre lifetime
- Increased break pads lifetime
- Reduced engine wear, so less breakdowns
- Less noise in the vehicle, so fatigue-free driving
- Less stress due to uncertainty of arrival time
Well, nothing but happiness!