Teach energy efficient driving
Driving isn’t great for the planet, but many businesses don’t have much choice. Luckily, by making a few simple changes to the way that you drive you can use less petrol to go the same distance – which means less greenhouse gas emissions and less money spent.
In Victoria, a study undertaken for Environment Victoria by RMIT University students found that a sample of drivers using these kinds of techniques reduced their fuel consumption by an average of 13% and by as much as 33%.
Of course, the best way to reduce your emissions from driving and spending on petrol is to drive less.
How to do it now!
Vehicle manufacturers have improved engine efficiency, aerodynamics and hybrid technology resulting in huge gains in vehicle efficiency. By getting your staff to adopt and applying the logic of these efficiencies to their driving habits will greatly reduce your business's fuel consumption.
Focus on reducing fuel consumption through efficient driving.
To get all your staff driving efficiently, the following process can be used:
- Set Policy – deciding to improve fleet fuel efficiency via energy efficient driving requires a decision, an audit of current performance and a targeted level of improvement (i.e. 10% fuel reduction for equivalent mileage).
- Train Staff – the smart driving tips (below) can be used to train staff in energy efficient driving.
- Evaluate performance – regular evaluation of fleet mileage to gauge progress (group and individual).
- Reward improvements – award the most efficient driver(s).
Adopt and teach your staff these Smart driving tips
The following smart driving tips aligning your driving style to the efficiencies the engineers have built into your car:
Drive smoothly: Cars engines are designed to be most efficient when driven at between 1500‐2500 RPM (and lower for diesel cars).
- When taking off from a stationary position, try to keep your revs from exceeding 2500RPM, increase your speed gently. This reduces fuel consumption.
- When driving along, try to keep your speed steady.
- When coming to red lights, or the brake lights of cars in front of you, just take your foot off the accelerator and only brake when necessary.
- Use your gears to keep your revs low: Aim to drive at 1500‐2500 RPM (and lower for diesel cars), and change to a higher gear if you are near 2500 RPM.
Keep your tyres at the right pressure: Car tyres are designed to be most efficient used at the pressure that is written on the side of them or a label in the car (i.e. the car manual).
- Too low and you consume more fuel,
- Too high and it can be dangerous.
- Make sure you check the pressure when the tyres are ‘cold’ (i.e. before driving far).
- Remove roof racks and unnecessary weight: Car designers refine the aerodynamics of cars to be most efficient when the windows are shut and nothing is attached to the car body. Adding unnecessary mass adds work for the engine, increasing fuel consumption. Try to avoid driving with heavy objects you don’t need, and remove roof racks when they are not in use.
- Don’t warm up the engine: the current generation of cars don’t need to be “warmed up” before moving especially in the warm climate in Australia. However, older cars may still need warming up in cold weather.
- Don’t idle your engine: If you’re going to be stopped for a little while, turn your engine off.
- Use your air conditioning sparingly: Air conditioners use a lot of fuel – try to avoid using them as much as possible. However if you are driving at more than 80 km/h, it is better to have the air conditioner on than it is to have the windows open, because of the wind resistance.
- Take the shortest route: If driving to an unknown location, look up directions before hitting the road, to make sure you go by the most direct route.
- Reward your smart driving habits! To avoid slipping into old inefficient driving habits, remind and reward yourself for the increased milage you now get out of every tank of fuel you use.
- Teach the kids: When you are teaching someone else to drive, get them to drive efficiently from the start.
Why is this action important?
Transport accounts for a significant portion of most SME's green house gass emissions and a portion of their ongoing costs as well. By driving more efficiently we reduce the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and save hundreds of dollars each year.