Fuelishness! -- The FuelClinic.com Blog

Compendium Software Systems to Provide Fuel Conservation Technology for Trial Use on City of Sanford Vehicles

SANFORD, Fla. (July 12, 2010) — Compendium Software Systems, LLC was recently awarded a contract to install its FuelClinic.com® Fleet System fuel conservation and risk reduction technology on select City of Sanford vehicles on a trial basis.

Michael Bragg, president of Compendium Software Systems, LLC, said the Sanford Economic Development Office played a big role in shaping the agreement.

Compendium Software Systems’ FuelClinic.com® Fleet System closely records real-world driver behavior and provides data analysis and reporting.

“FuelClinic.com® Fleet System provides a fuel efficiency report card for drivers and vehicles that will enable the city’s fleet of vehicles to achieve maximum fuel efficiency while reducing fleet risk,” Bragg explained. “The goal is to show how FuelClinic.com® Fleet System can help the City save money by reducing the fuel consumption of normal fleet operations.”

Bragg said the trial project will be conducted in two phases. Each phase will include data collection and analysis, he said.

Bragg said installation of the monitoring equipment will commence in July.

Compendium Software Systems LLC is a client company of the UCF Business Incubation Program and headquartered at the Incubator on West First Street in downtown Sanford. Compendium specializes in advanced information systems for use in driver behavior analysis.



FuelClinic.com Fleet System Adds AlertDriving Web-Based Driver Training and Hazard Perception Evaluation

ORLANDO, Fla., July 6 /PRNewswire/ — Compendium Software Systems, LLC, creators of the FuelClinic.com Fleet System (http://fleet.fuelclinic.com), is excited to announce their new channel partnership with Sonic E-Learning Inc., creators of AlertDriving.com.

This partnership will enhance Compendium’s FuelClinic Fleet System by adding a complete predictive behavior analysis and online driver training program to help clients green their fleet and improve driver safety.

“It makes perfect sense to partner with AlertDriving, who have been hugely successful in the larger fleet market,” said Michael Bragg, President of Compendium. “We are cherry-picking the best of the big fleet technologies, combining them with our core DriveMetrics driver-behavior analysis software, and creating a complete system unlike any other currently available to small and medium-sized fleet owners.”

FuelClinic Fleet System is a complete fuel & risk reduction program that monitors real-world driver behavior, reporting problems to managers who can then take action to correct behavior, improving safety and reducing costs, fuel use, CO2 emissions, and collisions.

FuelClinic Fleet System will now encompass true predictive behavior-driver analysis with a program called Hazard Perception Evaluation that is proven to predict driver behavior. It uses a proprietary algorithm to automatically identify individual driver deficiencies, then assign specific training modules to correct identified driver deficiencies that will reduce collisions.

AlertDriving is a complete Risk Identification and Risk Mitigation program that complements the FuelClinic Fleet System to become the most comprehensive fuel and collision reducing program available.

Compendium Software Systems, LLC is a software development firm and current clients of the University of Central Florida’s Business Incubation Program, located in Sanford, Florida. Compendium specializes in advanced information systems for use in driver-behavior analysis.

AlertDriving is a global leader in fleet risk management solutions with a web-based program available to any driver from any computer. Until recently only available to the largest fleets, this new channel partner arrangement with FuelClinic.com Fleet System will help make AlertDriving training solutions affordable and available to fleets of all sizes.



5 Top Driving Mistakes that Cause Crashes

GMAC Insurance is one of the largest insurers in the nation and has offices in many different countries around the world. Based on their years of collecting crash data, they offer the following key 5 mistake that lead to accidents most often, along with tips on how to make sure you avoid them yourself.

Source: GMAC Insurance

Multi-tasking While Driving – Driving Tip: When You Turn the Car On, Turn the Gadgets Off. No matter how busy your day is, when you’re on the road, focus only on driving. Catch up on other activities later and you’ll avoid unnecessary accidents.

Following Too Closely – Driving Tip: One Thousand One, One Thousand Two. Leave a two-second cushion between you and the vehicle ahead – it could save your bumper and your life. Make sure to double or triple that time when the weather is bad or the pavement is slick.

Failure to Yield on a Left-Hand Turn – Driving Tip: Check the Flow Before You Go. Look at the street you are turning into to make sure that no vehicles or pedestrians are in your path.

Incorrect Merging – Driving Tip: Yellow is for Yield. Accidents often occur when you are stuck behind a driver who interprets yield as stop. Don’t be the guilty party. Use the ramp as a means for merging into traffic, not causing it.

Backing Up – Driving Tip: Look Over Your Shoulder. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Don’t rely mirrors alone. Look over your shoulder before backing up.

GMAC Insurance has an online written driving test with questions taken from state test across the country. A report on the 2010 test shows that fully 1 in 5 licensed drivers would not pass a written driving test if taken today.

The 2010 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test released today found that nearly 1 in 5 licensed drivers – roughly 38 million Americans – would not pass a written drivers test exam if taken today. Kansas drivers ranked first in the nation (82.3 percent average score); New York drivers ranked last (70 percent average score).

Take the GMAC online drivers test and see how you score. You can also find state averages for this year, as well as previous years.



FleetOwner: Counting carbon bears careful watching

June 17, 2010 · Filed Under Commercial Fleets, FuelClinic, LinkedIn, Reducing Emissions · Comment 

Source: FleetOwner Magazine

A new report on this issue by ATRI – dubbed “The Synthesis of Carbon Accounting Tools” – involved the collection and analysis of carbon models and formulas, and interviews with environmental assessment and reporting organizations.

According to the report, there is a growing need for data and model standardization and identified areas where inconsistencies in the quantification tools and models exist.

“For many motor carriers, the U.S. EPA SmartWay Partnership truck model is the most widely recognized tool for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions,” said Tunnell. “This model calculates emissions generated from a company’s on-road vehicle fleet. However, an individual company’s carbon footprint encompasses more than just its on-road vehicle fleet.”

For example, quantifying the carbon emissions generated by office space and terminals, through metrics such as electricity use, could be misleading. “Although emission factors for the purchase of electricity are available for locations throughout the U.S., the greenhouse gas emissions generated from electricity purchased in one part of the country can be twice as high as the same amount of electricity purchased in another,” the report noted.



Free Clean-Fleet & Vehicle Expo next Tuesday

NIRPC is sponsoring a ONE day expo. Valuable information is available to transportation professional regarding the latest clean fuels and engine technologies that will improve air quality in Northern Indiana.

Where: Porter County Expo Center – 215 East Division Road Valparaiso, IN 46383 ( Get Directions )

When: Tuesday June 8th (10 am- 3 pm) Lunch will be severed at noon.

This event is FREE however advanced registration is requested by Friday June 4th.

Please contact SSCC at 219-365-4289 or southscc@comcast.net



Controlling Fuel Costs “Key” for Fleets During Economic Recovery

Saving money on fuel is important for a family on a budget living in a mobile society where fuel prices continue to rise, taking a bigger and bigger bite out of an often shrinking monthly income.

Now consider that commercial fleet vehicles are driven further (on average twice as many miles per year), they have to drive to stay in business (not really an option to stop driving), and fleet size can range from less than a dozen vehicles to thousands. The “power of scale” creates HUGE incentives for companies to take control of their fuel spend and improve their fuel efficiency.

Fuel remains one of the most costly items on a fleet’s bottom line – typically ranked number two, right behind driver wages and benefits – so carriers are deploying an ever-widening variety of methodologies to keep fuel costs under tight control…

…During a presentation here at Manhattan Associates “Momentum 2010” user group meeting, Braslavsky and Nick Cook, vp & CIO for refrigerated carrier FFE Transportation, stressed that even tiny savings in fuel costs on a per-gallon basis can reap big savings for fleets.

CalArk, for example, operates 650 tractors and 2,000 trailers nationwide – consuming roughly one million gallons of diesel per month. Braslavsky said just saving one penny per gallon translates into $10,000 in savings per month on the company’s fuel bill….

…Such fuel and route optimization methodologies are going to become even more critical in the future, Braslavsky pointed out, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 program kicks in.

“There was a time when it was taken for granted that you could tell a driver to get there and he’d make it – those days are long gone,” he said. “Now we must be really, really creative with the time constraints put on our drivers – and better routing is the key to that.”

He also said new functionality such as actual loaded weight is being added in as well to allow for even more accurate fuel accounting. “We all know pulling 80,000 pounds consumes more fuel than pulling 45,000 pounds,” Braslavsky added. “The next level of optimization is going to take that into consideration.”

Source: Fleet Owner

“Eco-Driving” training should be a part of any fleet’s effort to save fuel costs, since saving 5% is generally considered the minimal savings a fleet can expect with a fairly minor effort. Fleets that are more determined to change company culture and commit to fuel efficient driving at all levels save 15% or more.

The most successful are those innovative fleet managers have incorporated employee-incentive programs to reward drivers who deliver measured fuel-efficiency improvement. Of course you need to be able to track and measure driver performance – what you can’t measure, you can’t manage – or reward.



Motorweek Uses CarChip to Measure Benefits of Eco-Driving Behaviors

The CarChip Pro was previously reviewed here on Fuelishness!

Since then we’ve been selling CarChip Pros to eco-conscious motorists, cautious parents of young drivers, commercial fleet operators looking to reduce risk, and even some government agencies exploring technologies to help reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions.

Each of our customers had one thing in common – all were looking for an inexpensive and versatile piece of hardware that can provide valuable insight into driving behavior.   (You can read all about it and order one here, and if you are a FuelClinic member you’ll enjoy a generous $20 discount per unit. See details on the order form)

Recently found by a friend of FuelClinic – a segment of Motorweek that covers the benefits of fuel efficient driving (eco-driving) and they too are using a CarChip (older version) to compare results of two very different driving styles:

This clip from Motorweek proves there’s no absolute need to change your car if you want to save $$ and get better mileage. Simply altering how you drive can make an impact… in some people’s case, a significant one.



“My name is Mike, and I help people save money…”

A few people who know me well have told me about a new Walmart ad that talks about Walmart’s recent work improving efficiency in fleet operations by packing trucks more efficiently and paying more attention to routing, all in an effort to rollback prices for customers.

The funny part (for my friends) is at the end when the driver stands by his truck and says “My name is Mike, and I help people save money…” It’s funny because my name is Mike too, and I’ve been helping people save even more money though better driving habits.

Back to the commercial. I think it’s great, and a sign of the times that the world’s largest retailer, with one of the largest fleets in the world, is spending millions to educate people to the benefits of efficient fleet operations. Fuel prices are on the rise again, and the importance of efficient fleet operations is more important than ever, as our economy continues to recover from it’s recent with no real change to our oil dependency.

I’m only disappointed that Mike doesn’t mention the incredible savings Walmart could be realizing through a comprehensive driver efficiency improvement program that includes eco-driving fundamentals.

Imagine what 5% of their fuel spend must be? With additional computer-based training and strong corporate buy-in, take that 5% number and triple it… that would be some sizable “rollback”. Maybe I should try to get in touch with them.



A first? Texting while driving leads to arrest…

…the driver also had a suspended license, so not exactly arrested only for texting.

Source: Union Leader (New Hampshire)

A Massachusetts man may be the first person in the state to be arrested for texting behind the wheel, which became illegal Jan. 1.

Lt. Gary Fisher said Stephen Judd, 20, of Dracut, Mass., was texting on his phone while traveling down Bridge Street on Monday morning, in plain sight of an officer. Officers later learned Judd was driving with a suspended license, he said…

…”It might be a possible deterrent and put some common sense in the driver’s head,” Drisko said. “Hopefully, it does. It is going to be in the next decade that you might see it be a nationwide federal law, because states all across are popping it in. It’s going to become a national issue.”

…”We’ve got to get the message out that this is a serious highway safety issue,” Adkins said. “It’s hard to enforce. It’s a habit. Kids see their parents doing it, it’s something a lot of teens have been raised on, watching Mom and Dad texting, but the best message is simply hang up and drive.”

The federal government has previously banned texting-while-driving for all federal employees, and in January of this year extended that ban to cover commercial truck and bus drivers.

Last year a study released by VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a “crash or near crash event” than “nondistracted driving.” (Source: SafeTeens.com)

A recently released study (PDF) by the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a “crash or near crash event” than “nondistracted driving.” As per talking on a cell phone, the same study found no increased risk for truck drivers and 1.3 times the risk for car drivers. There was considerably more risk associated with dialing while driving. The institute’s Richard Hanowski acknowledges that the numbers are likely to be different with car drivers. As reported by CNET’s Jennifer Guevin, the study also found that “texting took a driver’s focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds–enough time…to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph.”

Many states have laws already banning texting-while-driving, and the trend seems to be spreading as awareness of the danger spreads.

What do you think about texting-while-driving laws? What about broader distracted driving laws that may impact your use of any gadget that takes your attention from the road? Add you comment here, or join the conversation over at our Facebook page.



Fuelishness! Feed: Fuel Economy still the Next Big Thing; Study: Fuel Costs Must Double; Biofuel-Fed A-10 Warthogs; Oil Prices Continue 2-month Climb

  • Still the next big thing: Fuel economy — “We’re all in a race again,” he said. “From the standpoint where we [as manufacturers] kept bringing out new products to meet emission targets, now we’ll be aggressively focusing on fuel economy.”
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  • Study: Fuel costs must (at least) double to reduce GHG emissions — The team concludes that the only way to change the status quo in America — to reduce GHGs 17% by 2020 — is to adopt a mix of stringent rules that substantially increase fuel costs and increase vehicle mileage. To do this, the Harvard study suggests starting with a $0.50 a gallon tax in year one and adding another half-buck tax a year until the tax reaches $3.36 per gallon in 2020.
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  • Air Force Debuts Biofuel-Guzzling Warthog — In a bid to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, the Pentagon has been looking to new energy alternatives. Under the Air Force’s current energy plan, the goal is to acquire 50 percent of the domestic aviation fuel from an alternative blend by 2016. Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, said in a statement the goal was to encourage a major shift in the way the service powers its aircraft. “Our goal is to reduce demand, increase supply and change the culture and mindset of our fuel consumption,” he said.
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  • Oil rises above $84, extending 2-month rally — Oil prices have jumped from $69 a barrel in early February on investor expectations that a gradual recovery in the U.S. economy this year will eventually boost crude consumption.


The Power of Scale – Why Fuel Efficient Driving Matters in Commercial Fleets

A nice short video from the Environmental Defense Fund demonstrating the power of scale when applied to fuel efficient driving in commercial fleets.



Should eco-driving be part of driver’s education?

As awareness of the benefits of eco-driving habits builds in the US and around the world, there is also a growing interest in incorporating eco-driving techniques in early drivers education courses.

Until recently, professional eco-driving training has been a specialty course provided to already-experienced drivers, often as a work-related program for professional fleet drivers in an effort to reduce company fuel expenses and reduce preventable accidents.

Several studies done in the last 10 years indicate a direct connection between efficient drivers and those drivers with fewer preventable accidents.

One internal study at a major US-based trucking company indicated that their top fuel-efficient drivers were squarely in the top percentile of drivers with the fewest preventable accidents. It was also found that their drivers who routinely drove in an inefficient manner were among those drivers with the greatest number of preventable accidents.

How are eco-drivers safer drivers?

By practicing eco-driving techniques motorists maintain a high level of awareness to traffic patterns and the flow of vehicles around and ahead of the driver, allowing the driver to plan to minimize the loss of momentum while operating their vehicle safely and efficiently.

Eco-driving motorists are encouraged to “de-couple” emotionally from the circumstances of normal traffic, focusing instead on a competition between “themselves and the gas pump” verses jockeying for position with other drivers around them.

By limiting the top-speed and maintaining generous following-distances eco-drivers give themselves extra time to react to unexpected changes, providing additional decision making time and a greater likelihood of maintaining control in evasive maneuvers.

This correlation between efficient driving and safe driving creates an opportunity to apply measurable indicators to driver safety.

In the past an individual driver’s skill and risk was measured by referring to DMV records to count number and severity of traffic citations,  or by referencing insurance records to measure the number and severity of traffic accidents on record. “Defensive driver” insurance discounts are provided to drivers who have had fewer accidents and fewer citation – without any real data to determine if the driver is truly driving in a safe and skilled manner – or has just been lucky.

With the advent of inexpensive on-board driver-behavior data-logging devices (like the CarChip Pro) we can build software systems (like FuelClinic) that are designed to analyse real-world driving behavior based on actual data. With the proper training and monitoring programs in place, this driving data can be processed in near-real-time with timely reporting in an on-going effort to improve both fuel efficiency and safety records.


(Click image to add your vote to this poll)

Several states are currently working to add eco-driving to drivers education, including Michigan and Florida, with RFPs seeking qualified training materials to be added to their existing driver training programs.

What do you think? Should eco-driving techniques be added to the existing driver’s ed program in your state? Comments are welcome below, or join the discussion over at our Facebook Community.



The Distracted Driver: Looking Away From Road Main Factor in Crashes and Near-Misses

From Ford “Driving Skills for Life“:

Independent research based on real-world studies, that’s where drivers are monitored in their own cars rather than in labs, show that looking away from the road is the main factor associated with crashes and near-misses. Another study by NHTSA/Virginia Technology Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that “dialing a handheld device” had a higher risk compared to “just driving,” while “talking/listening on a cell phone” did not statistically differ from risks associated with “just driving.” VTTI summarized their findings by stating that it’s rare that drivers are involved in a crash when their eyes are on the roadway, regardless of any cognitive demand they may be under. Another point to keep in mind is that although there was explosive growth of cell phone subscriptions in the U.S. during the last 15 years, there has been a decline in crash rates which may indicate that drivers choose to engage in tasks when they judge the driving conditions are least demanding.

More than likely this is already apparent to most drivers, but indicates the importance of human-systems integration design in new vehicles so that drivers “know” where their controls and displays are without having to hunt for them.

What impact does this have on add-on gadgets that require the driver to take his/her eyes off of the road to gather information? GPS navigation suckered to your windshield? After-market eco-driving instrumentation or “apps” with charts and graphs indicating how well you are driving?



Eco-Driving Project Results in 13% Fuel Economy Boost for Public Works Department

By Mary Hamel at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Together Wisconsin Clean Cities, the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, and Veolia Water in Milwaukee embarked on a Fleet Eco-Driving Project to promote eco-driving in southeastern Wisconsin. Their results included a 13-percent boost in fuel economy for the fleets participating in the project.

Funded by a DNR-initiated federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant, the selected fleets from the City of Milwaukee-Department of Public Works and Veolia Water North America Water-Milwaukee received: classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel training, pre- and post-testing, and a training manual for ongoing use. Milwaukee Area Technical College helped develop and deliver the “Fleet Training on Eco-Driving Project.”

The 13-percent fuel economy improvement is in keeping with the 10–20 percent savings estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy in its seminal Driver Energy Conservation Awareness Training (DECAT) Program, which ran from 1976 through the 1980s. The Fleet Training on Eco-Driving Project is the first comprehensive effort since DECAT to show the many benefits of changing driver behavior, which also include lower maintenance and repair costs, as well as improved road safety.

“Our joint project demonstrates that eco-driving is an everyday solution for everyone to cut fuel costs and clean our air,” added Francis X. Vogel, executive director of Wisconsin Clean Cities.

Start your own eco-driving project today by accelerating gradually, using cruise control, and reducing time spent idling your engine.



Charging Motorists by the Mile More Reliable Than Fuel Tax, Says Study

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Charging motorists for every mile they drive could be more reliable than fuel taxes to pay for bridges, highways and transit systems, but would be hard to sell to motorists, according to a national policy group.

A RAND Corp. study released last week concluded there were good reasons to switch from charging gas taxes to charging fees based on how far each car or truck travels. The government gets most of the money for road construction and maintenance from gas taxes, but cars and trucks put more wear and tear on roads while inflation and better fuel efficiency make the fuel tax worth less and less, said Paul Sorensen, lead author of the study…

…Collecting the fee would be more expensive than administering the gas tax; putting tracking units in cars likely would raise privacy concerns; and changing the fee wouldn’t be any more popular than changing the federal gas tax — which hasn’t increased from 18.3 cents per gallon since 1993, Sorensen said.

Read the whole article here, then join in the discussion over at the FuelClinic Facebook page.



Fuelishness! Feed: Hummer now “Green” for Japan; Diesel Engine Biofuel Advances; Dolphin Wins Eco-Driving Challenge; Fuel Efficiency VS. The Tax Man in Washington State

  • In Japan, the Hummer Is Now Officially Green — Starting this week, Japanese buyers of the hulking power machines from General Motors — which come with a 5.3-liter, 300 horsepower engine and roar to 60 miles per hour in eight seconds — receive a 250,000 yen ($2,780) subsidy under Japan’s new, looser fuel-efficiency standards for imported cars.
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  • Researchers develop “smart” diesel engine that runs on biofuel blend — Researchers from Cummings and Purdue University claim to have found a way to improve fuel efficiency in diesel engines that run on biodiesel fuel while cutting emission levels. The process involves an advanced “closed-loop control” approach for preventing diesel engines from emitting greater amounts of smog-causing nitrogen oxides when running on biodiesel fuels.
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  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne wins Audi fuel-efficiency driving challenge — The Audi Efficiency Challenge was designed to showcase the mileage and performance possibilities that Audi TDI clean diesel technology provides in real-world driving conditions.
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  • Fuel-efficient cars affecting Washington gas tax — Automobiles are more fuel-efficient, people are driving less and, increasingly, they are driving automobiles that aren’t powered by petroleum at all…”All of those things add up to the fact that we aren’t going to rely on the gas tax as being the mainstay of the future if we want to maintain, preserve and improve our transportation system,” said Paula Hammond, the state’s transportation secretary.


Transformational Trucks: Determining the Energy Efficiency Limits of a Class-8 Tractor Trailer

Rocky Mountain Institute: White Paper

Feasible technological improvements in vehicle ef?ciency, combined with “long combination vehicles” (which raise productivity by connecting multiple trailers), can potentially raise the ton-mile ef?ciency of long-haul heavy tractor-trailers by a factor ~2.5 with respect to a baseline of 130 ton-miles/gal. Within existing technological and logistical constraints, these innovations (which do not include such further opportunities as hybrid-electric powertrains or auxiliary power units to displace idling) could thus cut the average fuel used to move each ton of freight by ~64 percent. This would annually save the current U.S. Class 8 ?eet about four billion gallons of diesel fuel and 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Further bene?ts would include lower shipping costs, bigger pro?ts for trucking companies, fewer tractor-trailers on the road, and fewer fatal accidents involving them. Thus transformational, not incremental, redesign of tractors, trailers, and (especially) both as in integrated system can broadly bene?t economic prosperity, public health, energy security, and environmental quality.

Download the Report.



Announcing: FuelClinic.com membership in Stuttgart’s “Cities for Mobility”

Today we are very pleased to announce FuelClinic.com membership in the Cities for Mobility network, created and coordinated by the city of Stuttgart, Germany to promote sustainable and efficient transport systems in the member cities.

Cities for Mobility” is a global network on all questions regarding urban mobility. The network is coordinated by the City of Stuttgart and promotes transnational cooperation between local governments, transportation companies, businesses, science and the civil society, with the aim of supporting the development of sustainable and efficient transport systems in the member cities.

“We want to warmly welcome FuelClinic.com as new member in the world wide network Cities for Mobility. The Coordination Office is more than delighted by your decision to join our network and we look forward to a fruitful cooperation with [you]”, wrote Isabelle Kübler from the office of Coordinator Network Cities for Mobility.

FuelClinic.com will provide member cities the ability to invigorate and measure their eco-driving and driver behavior improvement programs with free web-based eco-driving training materials, a voluntary web-based driver-efficiency analysis and reporting system, and increasing levels of technology support for promoting and measuring eco-driving behavior within their cities and communities.

FuelClinic.com was nominated for membership in this network by existing  member Projeto Melhorar, a Brazilian-based initiative to create sustainable transportation systems in South America’s largest country.



The Post-Crisis Consumer (John Gerzema @ TED)

John Gerzema says there’s an upside to the recent financial crisis — the opportunity for positive change. Speaking at TEDxKC, he identifies four major cultural shifts driving new consumer behavior and shows how businesses are evolving to connect with thoughtful spending.

13 trillion dollars in wealth has evaporated over the course of the last two years. We’ve questioned the future of capitalism. We’ve questioned the financial industry. We’ve looked at our government oversight. We’ve questioned where we’re going. And yet, at the same time, this very well may be a seminal moment in American history, an opportunity for the consumer to actually take control and guide us to a new trajectory in America.



Sirius Traffic Helps Motorists Avoid Traffic Congestion

Slowly we are moving to generally-available real-time ITS solutions that will help drivers navigate around traffic congestion, find fuel at the lowest cost along the route, and provide real-time feedback to drivers about how their driving style is effecting their fuel economy and safety.

SiriusXM constellation of satellites transmits much more than music, news, and Howard Stern – with the right equipment you can receive real-time traffic information for your area beamed directly to your car.

Source: Sirius Traffic FAQ

Real-time traffic flow — Real-time traffic speed on each road segment is averaged over a five minute period and is shown on the navigation map, usually as color-coded roadways… Real-time traffic incidents — This includes updated traffic information on accidents, road construction, road closings and other traffic-related incidents… Since the Sirius Traffic service is integrated with a vehicle’s navigation systems, SIRIUS Traffic can help drivers pick the fastest route. Navigation systems can also reroute based on the updated real-time traffic.

Currently available mostly on high-end OEM platforms (there are a few aftermarket receivers that can read the signals and integrate with your on-board navigation system) to warn you when your route becomes congested, is under construction, or has other incidents – provide you a chance to re-route avoid delays.

Recently it was announced that much of the 2010 class of Mercedes Benz vehicles will come with an OEM version of the Sirius Traffic service pre-installed with a 6-month trial activated.

Source: Sirius Buzz

The news came in today that Sirius Traffic is available on all 2010 Mercedes Benz vehicles equipped with navigation and Sirius satellite radio. It is expected to be installed in 70% of the Mercedes Benz 2010 lineup and will be standard on the S-Class, CL-Class, CLS-Class and G-Class models.

Sirius Traffic comes pre-activated with a six month trial subscription for the higher then typical converting customers along with a six-month trial subscription of the “SIRIUS Everything” package.

For those of you who don’t know Sirius Traffic provides traffic speed and flow information to vehicles over Sirius’ network. It also provides information on traffic incidents, scheduled road closings and road construction. Since the Traffic feature is integrated with the vehicle’s navigation system, the service assists drivers in picking the quickest, safest routes based on real-time traffic conditions.

Lern more about Sirius Traffic here and read the Sirius Traffic FAQ here.



FuelClinic data included in Copenhagen case study

A few weeks ago I was asked by EcoDrivingUSA to create a graphic describing some aggregate efficiency improvement data from the information collected here at FuelClinic. The intent was to demonstrate the efficacy of eco-driving techniques for improving fuel efficiency and decreasing GHG emissions.

I spent a few hours pouring through the database, to find the best data set to describe our users maintaining fuel receipt records, making sure not to skew the numbers, but selecting a sub-set of our most active members who do not have data entry problems (automatically flagged as “suspect” by FuelClinic – a whole topic unto itself).

Then I created the following graphic, with this description:

fuelclinic-average-no-training

This information made it into an “EcoDriving Impact Study for Copenhagen” presented by Driving Sustainability earlier this month. What’s most impressive is that the average improvement in fuel efficiency is 5.23% without any real form of ecodriving training – a point not lost on the authors of the study:

According to FuelClinic.com, the average EcoDriver improves their efficiency by 5.3%. These are drivers who have had no formal instruction on green driving…

If everyone in the US improved their efficiency by a basic EcoDriving level of 5%, this would result in a 66,346,545 ton reduction in CO2 emissions in the US.

The most active FuelClinic account users are benefiting from following simple online tips and believing that they can improve their fuel efficiency. The effort it takes to create an account, collect multiple receipts, and enter that information into the application is not trivial, and it indicates that a percentage of motorists are interested in understanding their fuel efficiency – and just the act of being “involved” and improving their understanding is all it take to turn an average motorist into a basic EcoDriver.

As an aside – my personal goal for FuelClinic is to increase this average efficiency improvement to 10% by the end of 2010.

You can download the case study (.pdf) here.



Firms Can Save By Going Green

Source: Chicago Sun Times

“There’s no question that if you improve driver behavior, specifically improve driver efficiency, you’ll create less emissions because you burn less gas,” said Samsel, program director.

Some corporations adopt green fleet programs to be more environmentally friendly, while others just want to save money. Whatever the motive, the result is the same — a gallon of gas not burned means 19.5 pounds of carbon dioxide that doesn’t go into the air.

“Ultimately, what we seek to do is reduce greenhouse emissions,” said Jason Mathers, project manager with the Environmental Defense Fund. He said EDF wants corporate fleet managers to focus on emissions, and aim at the “low-hanging” fruit that can easily lower fuel consumption, like driving habits and vehicle size and type.



DOT & FCC Join Forces to Combat Distracted Driving

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Washington DC – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced Wednesday that they are launching a joint effort to evaluate technologies that may help curb the dangerous epidemic of distracted driving.

The DOT-FCC partnership will also include outreach efforts to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving, talking on cell phones while driving, and other distracting behavior that can lead to deadly accidents.

“We must put an end to distracted driving, which is costing lives and inflicting injuries across the nation’s roads and railways,” Secretary LaHood told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. “I look forward to working with Chairman Genachowski and ensuring that FCC’s and DOT’s technology experts can join forces on this critical issue.”

Chairman Genachowski said, “I welcome this collaborative effort to eliminate the increasingly deadly practice of distracted driving. Changing this ingrained behavior will require us to develop creative solutions using both technology and education. By combining the resources and expertise of the DOT and the FCC, I am confident that we can have a major impact on this problem.”

Officials from the DOT and FCC will establish a working group to evaluate technology-based solutions to the problem of distracted driving and will coordinate consumer outreach and education.

DOT 175-09

DOT News Media Contact: Sasha Johnson, Tel: (202) 366-4570

FCC News Media Contact: Jen Howard, Tel: (202) 418-0506



Eco-driving Cuts Emissions and Costs at Aitik Mine in Sweden

November 4, 2009 · Filed Under Commercial Fleets, Driver Performance, Eco-Driving · 1 Comment 

The Aitik mine in Sweden, which is owned by Boliden Mineral AB, has organized an Eco-driving training course for all its truck drivers, in co-operation with the Swedish Road Administration. Eco-driving teaches the driver to drive efficiently, reducing fuel consumption and thereby emissions of carbon dioxide and other substances.

The Eco-driving concept originated in Finland and was initially introduced for private cars, and then for buses and trucks. The method has now been adapted for industrial machines and heavy vehicles. Aitik hopes to be able to reduce diesel consumption by at least 5 per cent and thereby reduce carbon dioxide emission by 1,900 tonnes.



FuelClinic.com takes 2nd Place at the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) Congestion Challenge

A few days ago the results of the global Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) Congestion Challenge were announced at the VenCorps blog (registration required), and we were pleased to learn that FuelClinic.com had won 2nd place from a starting field of over 90 competitors:

The winners of the ITS Congestion Challenge were announced today in front of global transportation leaders at the ITS World Congress in Stockholm, Sweden. iCarpool won first place for $50,000 and 50,000 points, FuelClinic.com took second place for 25,000 points and iCone secured third place for 10,000 points.

These three companies will join the VenCorps portfolio, called the Launchpad. They will be able to use their points to grow by incentivizing our community to help them solve business problems big and small.

Judging from the results released at VenCorps, our little community turned out in force to compete against some very well established competition. Taking a look at the graph published at the VenCorps blog, you can see that iCarpool was simply unbeatable in this competition, able to motivate a virtual tsunami of voters for their cause.

total-scores

Rachel and I would like to send a heart-felt “Thank You!” to each of you who took the time to lend your support for FuelClinic, and who believe in our efforts to improve our roads and highways through advanced driver education.

A 1st place finish included a $50K seed-funding award, unfortunately there was no such award for 2nd place in this contest. We continue to seek seed-funding to turn our prototype system into a commercial application. We continue to work to meet our shared goals of helping people save money, reduce our oil dependence, cut pollution, and create safer and more intelligent drivers.

The month long contest was held in August 2009, and was sposored by The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), IBM , Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI), and partners.



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