Fuelishness! -- The FuelClinic.com Blog

We Drive With Our Brain and Eyes as Opposed to Our Hands and Feet

As a driver, we can begin the process of mentally preparing to drive by doing hazard perception training. We actually drive with our brain and eyes as opposed to our hands and feet. Your brain tells your eyes where to look, your eyes look and see potential hazards and then send a message back to your brain with a required response. Your hands and feet or are then called to duty to protect you. Cognitively, you’re actually doing this before you realize it. What helps immensely is having advanced training to get your brain ready for these hazards before you really need them. Dealing with many possible hazards and the proper responses before you need them is the way to begin a safe driving career.

Hazard perception training, combined with driving on public roads, enhances our ability to not only perceive potential hazards, but gives you options of how to deal with these often hidden hazards. This actually speeds up the process of hazard perception so the driver is better prepared for the real world. Computer and simulator training are often the best methods to get your brain on the same page as experienced drives. This type of training is critical for a new driver to gain experience in thinking like an experienced driver – but in less time.

Even the best athlete with amazing hand-eye coordination can’t deal with potential hazards as quickly as someone who has been trained mentally to do this. For years I’ve had students who did not have hazard perception training and would often have ‘target fixation’ when a hazard appeared. They stared at the hazard and did nothing. I had to intervene and help them out. For the students who did hazard perception training, they would often respond immediately without assistance; just like a seasoned driver.

So, what type of driver would you like driving your vehicle; someone who thinks and responds like an experienced driver or someone who may have ‘target fixation’ and responds late. I know what my answer is; what’s your answer?

 



The Extra Mile – SaferTeenDriver.com Adds New Tools for Novice Teen Drivers

Today the website SaferTeenDriver.com was relaunched with a new hazard perception evaluation and related defensive driver training courses. The updated website incorporates best in class evaluation and educational services from  BrightFleet.com, but adds a unique coaching guide to help parents and teens get the most from the training.

“We have spent years helping fleets improve their safety programs and reduce risk,” said Bob O’Connor, the CFO of BrightFleet, “Now I have a teenage daughter who was having difficulty learning how to drive. She had learned the basic mechanics of driving, but lacked any real understanding of the hazards around her. It was as if she was driving in a bubble. Out of frustration I thought about applying the same hazard perception evaluation and related courses we had been using for several years with commercial fleets, but this time for her.”

Teen drivers are most at risk of having an accident in their first year of driving. Car accidents are still the number one cause of death for teenagers, and injure or maim countless more. Novice teen drivers lack the experience to identify and understand the kinds of hazards that are common on the roads today. They tend to have poor situational awareness, and target-fixate on hazards that appear suddenly, instead of concentrating on maintaining an “out” if a potential hazard turns into an actual one.

“I found that my child responded very well to the training, given the additional guidance I was able to provide to help her understand how the training worked. She picked it up right away. She completed her evaluation, and was assigned a set of courses like proper use of mirrors, safe lane changing, and the other motorist to take,” said Mr. O’Connor. “She completed her courses in about a week, and in the following  ride-alongs with her I noticed a real improvement in her awareness. She was talking me through the potential hazards she was watching as we drove along. I was blown away by her progress in such a short period of time, and that’s when I decided that we had to make this training available to parents and novice teen drivers.”

Parents interested in seeing how this service can help their own soon-to-be or just licensed novice drivers can watch a short video explaining how SaferTeenDriver works. The training normally retails for $119.95 and includes access for both the parent and the teen driver, but during a limited introductory promotional period, new accounts can be purchased at a discounted rate of $99.95 by using the code “TheExtraMile” during the checkout process.

SaferTeenDriver.com is a service of BrightFleet.com, which is a service of Compendium Software Systems, LLC – a veteran owned small business located in Central Florida that focuses on tailoring advanced technologies into solutions that help prevent accidents, reduce risk, and save companies (and now parents!) money by improving the safety and efficiency of drivers everywhere.



Gas Pump Taking Bigger Chunk of Your Check

If you’ve been paying much attention to the news, you’ll notice gas prices are again on the rise, and are on course to set records again this year. Even with the economy sputtering and many people out of work, fuel costs costs the average household just under four percent of their income, before taxes, according to the EIA.

…[T]he U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Monday that gasoline expenditures in 2012 for the average U.S. household reached $2,912, or just under 4 percent of income before taxes. This was the highest estimated percentage of household income spent on gasoline in nearly three decades, with the exception of 2008, when the average household spent a similar amount. Gasoline prices averaged $3.63 a gallon in 2012, according to EIA.

Market researchers blame tightening of demand, refinery maintenance, and the other usual suspects. The markets rallied around the rising crude oil prices, and drove them higher before investors decided to take profits and sell off their futures.

California is hardest hit with some of the nations highest prices. Demand is outpacing supply on the left coast, which is ironic, since California sits atop one of the largest shale oil deposits in the country. But even if that oil could be produced (technically it could, politically it doesn’t work out so well), there are no new refineries in the area to turn that crude into fuel.

Which leaves the average motorist at the mercy of the pump and stuck in traffic. Sitting in traffic is costing us 5.5 billion hours a year – and an estimate 121 billion dollars in “wasted time” and fuel. Not hard to imagine, given that any car idling in traffic gets zero mpg while it sits with the engine running.

But, you are not entirely powerless. Get creative about methods for reducing travel (is teleworking an option), share a ride when it works out, time your trips to avoid the heaviest congestion (go into the office early, and leave early if it’s an option), and when all else fails, adopt simple and effective eco-driving skills to make sure you put good use to every drop of fuel you are buying. Even if you are not “green” minded, it will make you a safer driver – which means a cheaper to insure driver, might help you become a happier person, and will certainly allow you to keep a little more of the money you earn from feeding the gas pump.



A study on perceived usefulness of eco-driving assistant systems in Europe

The ecodriver-project.eu study “A study on perceived usefulness of eco-driving assistant systems in Europe” released this week show there is a great deal of interest in eco-driving, good deal of belief that the benefits are real, but no interest in paying for this kind of technology/service.

While this has been our experience with a consumer-based product (like our FuelClinic), there is considerably more interest from fleets interested in incorporating similar programs into their larger operations, since the cost saving benefits are multiplied well above what your average motorist would see (in addition to the safety and collision reduction side-effects of conservative eco-driving).

So what’s the most effective way to change the behavior of motoring public at little or no cost? How about a piece of duct tape over the fuel gauge?

 



Video: Probably shocked by the gas prices…



Drive Safer Sunday

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest traffic day of the year. That means sharing the road with drivers who are using hand-held devices, eating, sleepy, or even drunk. So give yourself one more reason to be thankful. Be safe – slow down, buckle up, stay alert and give heavy trucks plenty of room since they can’t see, maneuver or stop like you can.



Fuelishness! Feed: 1,418 Miles Between Fill-ups; VW’s Eco-Driving Program; Waste up to 45%; Drivers, not cars, to blame; Bio-fuels 10 years after 9/11

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a Fuelishness! Feed, so this one is overdue. Eco-driving seems to be creeping into the wider American consciousness. Now it’s less about global warming, more about saving money. Here are some of the best stories of the past week or so:

  • 1,418 Miles on a Single Tank of Gas, Avg 64MPG — Throughout their journey, in a standard-issue 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid, the drivers averaged 64.55 mpg, and 1,418 miles on the road before having to refill the tank…Taking the recommended approach can net the driver a 45% savings in gas over the course of a year, no matter what vehicle we’re talking about.
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  • A day at the Volkswagen Eco Driving Programme — Even though I was already a light-footed driver, I still learned a thing or two that will help me save more fuel. The computer that measured our driving really captured all kinds of mindbogglingly useful data which could be graphed and charted.
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  • Your choices can cut gas cost up to 45% — Less aggressive and slower driving can save up to 30%, so pick your times to let it out. Don’t be perpetually impatient, particularly when it’s not really saving any time and is really costing you gas.
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  • Cars Don’t Waste Fuel. Drivers Waste Fuel — Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CERT) are developing a new way of boosting fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent without changing a car’s powertrain at all.
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  • Using biofuels to reduce American dependance on foreign oil — 9/11 refocused attention on energy security. It has remained one of the three foundations of US energy policy in the decade thereafter, the others being economic competitiveness and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The influence of each changes over time but the three are linked inextricably.

There’s one narrative that still needs telling – the connection between safe and efficient drivers. More on that later…



The Rise of Fleet Eco-Driving – FedEx Eco-Drives After Disaster in Japan

Originally Posted at FleetBlogs

With the recent announcement from FedEx that they are considering implementing eco-driving training and indicators into their fleet management systems, the world leader in overnight delivery once again leads fleet operators in setting best business practices that improve operational efficiency and safety.

Already known for running a very tight business, FedEx found itself eco-driving earlier this year in Japan after the combination tsunami and nucular disasters disrupted fuel supplies across Japan. If FedEx Japan wanted to continue to make deliveries, they needed to squeeze every kilometer they could from every liter of fuel they had. Given the circumstances, FedEx says eco-driving had become an “operational imperative”.

For Japan, Eco-Driving was not just about a contribution to the environment – it was a necessity. How the couriers used the 5 tips when it counted helped us to be there for our customers who were depending on us more than ever for critical shipments.

FedEx driver Zhang Jingwei (pictured) wrote about his ongoing efforts using eco-driving methods taught by a specially trained instructor from Isuzu. Both Ford and Isuzu have been leading the fleet eco-driving research globally over the past 10 years.

By modifying traditional driving methods according to expert theory, fuel consumption could be significantly reduced by up to 25%. The expert also explained that the reduction of fuel consumption reduced carbon emissions, which helps the environment.

Earlier fleet eco-driving studies done both in Japan and around the globe – geared mostly at reducing greenhouse gas emissions – have indicated that modest changes to driving behavior can reap substantial and tangible rewards in improved fuel mileage, using existing equipment and standard sourced fuel.

At a minimum it seemed any fleet could save from 5% up to 25% or more from their fuel consumption – or in the case of FedEx – get deliveries to those who needed them – by training their drivers to use “eco-driving” techniques. Most studies indicate a 10% improvement is easily achieved, with improvements of 25% or more not uncommon. As a side benefit – the most fuel efficient drivers are also some of the safest drivers, according to one trucking company study of their own internal operations.

A recent announcement from University of California, Riverside of the first large-scale scientific study into eco-driving in the US – funded with help from the Department of Energy to the tune of 1.2 million dollars – will likely confirm the findings of previous studies conducted in Europe, Asia, and around the world.

When logistics giant FedEx considers implementing innovative efficiency techniques, the business community takes notice. Eco-driving techniques aren’t new, or somehow unique, but when applied consistantly across fleets of any size the affect on the bottom line can be substantial. Programs can be developed in-house for almost no cost, or can be outsourced to providers who can quickly get your entire fleet trained.

Last month BrightFleet.com, an industry leader in online risk assessment and mitigating driver training, announced the availability of a fleet focused computer based eco-driver training program that allows fleets of any size to quickly roll out comprehensive eco-driving training to their entire fleet.

“Eco-driving” may have had a slow uptake so far in the US – where we enjoy a relatively inexpensive and plentiful fuel supply, but with the uncertain economy and unpredictable natural disasters that can quickly interrupt fuel supplies regionally or nationally – time may finally be right for these simple and cost-effective methods to become part of the smarter standard business practices that will be adopted by innovate fleet operators for years to come.



Interview with Jamie Lynn Crandall – Miss Utah USA – Working to Stop Texting While Driving

From: Decision Points @ Fleet Blogs

Last week ace automotive reporter Michael Block caught up with Jamie Lynn Crandall, the reigning Miss Utah 2011, who is on a mission to convince people to stop texting while driving.

Block was able to spend the better part of an hour interviewing her over the phone about her mission and her relationship with Hang Up – Save A Life, an organization she helped start after losing a friend in an automobile accident where the other driver was texting.

It’s an interesting interview. She makes several excellent points – including the need to reach young drivers who are just learning to drive, as well as older drivers who are just learning to text.

Decision Points: Do you think distracted driving is also a problem among commercial fleets?

Jamie Lynn Crandall: I think everybody is guilty of it. Although I’m trying more to get the attention of young people in high school that are just starting to learn how to drive, it’s just as important for people my age and even our parents, because they’re just starting to learn how to text, and they’re trying to do it at the same time they’re trying to do everything else. I would especially hope, however, that the drivers of fleet vehicles would take these warnings even more seriously, as they’re on the clock at their job.

Distracted driving is now considered to be as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Texting while driving is considered to be one of the most risky things people can do behind the wheel, and most company and government vehicle policies prohibit it while on company time. Many parts of the country have laws prohibiting texting while driving, and there are apps for smart phones that will help parents and fleet managers control the ability to make and receive calls and texts while driving.

Read the whole thing over at Decision Points @ Fleet Blogs.



Does Eco-Driving make you a safer driver?

Over at EcoModder there is a conversation asking “does hypermiling make you a safer driver“?

Hypermiling is a more extreme form of eco-driving, where the goal is to reduce fuel consumption to the lowest amount possible. Sometimes hypermilers make modifications to more than just their driving habits to accomplish their goals, they modify their cars aerodynamics, re-chip their vehicle computers, or use a variety of add-on technologies or fuel additives to help squeeze every yard from a gallon of fuel.

Sometimes hypermilers have been criticized for advocating certain techniques that do save fuel but may be illegal and dangerous – like rolling through stop-signs, or drafting large trucks. Most hypermilers do not engage in these kinds of techniques, realizing the cost of a ticket or accident is far costlier than any savings in fuel.

Eco-driving is distinct in that drivers do not generally make modifications to their vehicles, and abide by all of the “normal” rules of the road. Both techniques share many similar traits where drivers achieve a high degree of awareness of traffic patterns and timing of lights, as well as efficient acceleration with limited stopping. But hypermiling is generally considered the more extreme of the two, while eco-diving is more of an “every-mans” method for improving fuel mileage.

So, back to safety.

Several private fleet studies show that drivers with generally better fuel mileage rating are also among the safest drivers in large fleets. These same studies show that drivers who have the highest number preventable “incidents” are also drivers with the poorest fuel mileage scores. Most of these studies are done in larger commercial fleets that are understandably reticent to discuss actual accident rates publicly.

So there is a connection between fuel efficiency and safety. According to the current discussion at EcoModder, the same correlation appears to apply to those hypermilers who have commented so far.

What do you think?



Examining the effects of an eco-driving system on driver distraction

April 11, 2011 · Filed Under Distracted Driving, Eco-Driving, Science, Technology · 1 Comment 

Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Australia is seeking participants for a study on potential effects of an eco-driving system on driver dsitraction.

One of the possible causes of driver distraction is in-vehicle driver assistant systems such as eco-driving systems. Eco-driving systems send messages to drivers so that driving performance can be improved in terms of fuel efficiency.

The purpose of this research is to better understand driver distraction caused by in-vehicle systems, in particular, eco-driving systems. This project may ultimately assist in decreasing the number of road fatalities.

The driving component of the study will be conducted in the CARRS-Q Advanced Driving Simulator.

One of the key aspects of the FuelClinic Methodology for eco-driving (using CarChip) is that a simple audible feedback tone is used to remind the driver of previously trained behavior without requiring them to look at a display. There are many gadgets with visual feedback that one can assume might prove to be a distraction for drivers, and this study may help establish if this is in fact true or not.



Understanding Negligent Entrustment Issues and Your Company-Owned Fleet

Orlando, FL – BrightFleet.com, the premiere hazard perception evaluation and risk mitigation website, has published a white paper “Understanding Negligent Entrustment Issues and Your Company-Owned Fleet,” describing the liability that lies in entrusting employees to drive company vehicles and ways in which fleet managers can work to mitigate the threat of exposure to their company’s financial health and reputation.

The average fleet driver will travel our nations highways at eight to twelve thousand miles more a year than the rest of us, making them more likely to cause, or be involved in, a motor vehicle accident. Companies and their owners who think they’re hiring a well trained, top quality driver, simply by looking at his or her resume, may be held accountable in the event their driver causes an accident that could have been prevented.

“Understanding Negligent Entrustment Issues and Your Company-Owned Fleet” is intended to assist fleet and risk managers and CFOs in understanding the relationship between company and driver and ways in which they can protect their assets – both financial and human.

Read “Understanding Negligent Entrustment Issues and Your Company-Owned Fleet” by clicking here: http://www.brightfleet.com/whitepapers/understanding-negligent-entrustment-issues

Interview requests and live product demonstrations of the BrightFleet.com Hazard Prevention and Evaluation software can be requested by contacting Kathy Kniss, kathy@k2prgroup.com, (626) 429-2723.



“Vehicle Platooning” Project Carries out First Successful Test in Sweden

Source: http://www.traffictechnologytoday.com

Volvo Proving Ground, Gothenburg, Sweden — …The vehicle platooning system is a convoy of vehicles, where a professional driver in a lead vehicle drives a line of other vehicles. Each car measures the distance, speed and direction and adjusts to the car in front. All vehicles are totally detached and can leave the procession at any time. Once in the platoon, drivers can relax and do other things while the platoon proceeds towards its destination.

Platooning is designed to improve a number of aspects, such as: road safety, as it rules out the human factor that is the cause of at least 80% of road accidents; fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions are saved by up to 20%; convenience for drivers, because it frees up time for other matters; and traffic congestion, as the vehicles will travel at highway speed with a gap of only a few meters between them. The tests carried out included a lead vehicle and single following car. The steering wheel of the following car moves by itself, as the vehicle smoothly follows the lead truck around the country road test track. The driver is able to drink coffee or read a paper, using neither hand nor foot to operate his vehicle. The technology development is well under way and is likely go into production in a few years time. What may take substantially longer is public acceptance of the system and the legislation where 25 EU governments must all pass similar laws…

Read the rest.

[Hat Tip: Eddie Wren – International Road Safety – LinkedIn Group]



BrightFleet Mentioned at Fleet Blogs

Steve Fowler’s new blog Fuel Hardy has a great post about the BrightFleet.com‘s Hazard Perception Evaluation titled:

Are your drivers paying attention? It could be costly!

…I gave BrightFleet a call and was speaking with Michael Bragg who is obviously excited about driver training. He offered and I accepted his challenge and went through a demo of their on-line driver training. I was surprised at how real it all was.You actually “drive” down the street as different real life situations unfold. I found the program to be both fun to do and very enlightening. The fun part is important as it makes you want to do it. As for being enlightened let’s just say it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be…

It was great talking with Steve about BrightFleet and his 360FuelCard programs that help companies reduce their fuel costs while providing an environmental edge.



Incentivizing Drivers to Conserve Fuel – Bob Stanton, Polk County Florida

Bob Stanton is one of the most forward-thinking fleet managers in the country. He runs the Polk County, Florida government fleet, and has been referenced here in Fuelishness! and BrightFleet.com several times for his experience implementing a highly successful eco-driving program in Polk County. Today he gives a insight into his motivations and successful execution of his program in an article published at Government Fleets called “Incentivizing Drivers to Conserve Fuel“.

By only reading industry publications, one might presume fuel conservation success can be achieved by technology alone through the use of alternative fuels, hybrid, or all-electric vehicles. The Clean Air Act of 1990 certainly steered governments in that direction and now, 20 years later, it’s clear that legislation failed to achieve tangible results. Governments at all levels nationwide have collectively invested billions in technology, which at best has yielded marginal fuel conservation success, and at worst, the technology, hardware, and vehicles have been scrapped at enormous cost. A negative return on investment (ROI) is certainly hard to justify for any organization, public or private.

Mr. Stanton makes a great point, that the focus on a technology-based approach to fuel efficient fleets has nearly completely ignored the contributions of the vehicle operator to the safe and efficient use of the vehicle.

…In summer 2008, Polk County went where few other fleets have gone — to its drivers. All studies show the largest single contributor to fuel use and/or conservation is the driver. Polk County decided the quickest route to meaningful fuel conservation was to target driver behavior and modify it where possible.

A three-pronged approach was used to modify driver behavior. First, the maximum travel speed of the County’s on-highway vehicles was limited to 55 mph. An in-house Eco-Driver training program was developed to train, reinforce, and promote driving habits proven to reduce fuel consumption and assure driver buy-in, and the County added an incentive program to allow employees to share monetarily in their own conservation success.

There are numerous studies, from reputable government and industry sources around the word, that have shown a direct relationship to operator performance and fuel efficiency, with additional benefit to driver & general road safety.

As noted above, the driver is the greatest single factor influencing fuel economy. According to Bridgestone’s Real Answers magazine, up to 35 percent of a vehicle’s mpg is directly attributable to the driver.

The County endeavored to modify behind-the-wheel driver behavior by developing an in-house “Eco Driver” training program to educate drivers about the simple driving techniques that result in tangible mpg improvements.

Bob Stanton’s own project has netted Polk County significant benefits in fuel efficiency and accident reductions:

Over the two years since implementation, Polk County achieved the following results:

  • Fuel consumption reduced by 13.4 percent, or 436,000 gallons.
  • Reduced 6.2 million lbs. of carbon.
  • Reduced preventable accidents by 22 percent.
  • Crash damage severity reduced by 35 percent.

These results are irrefutable. The overall hard dollar savings seen by Polk County due to these incentives have exceeded $1.5 million. The cost of the program is minimal. Beyond the $800 decal cost and the one-hour training time, the program has cost the County nothing.

Even the incentive payouts came at little cost. The incentive payouts originated from dollars saved versus dollars spent.

As a result of its success, the Polk County School Board adopted the 55-mph restriction in May 2010 and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is currently studying the program for statewide adoption.

As oil prices continue to rise to pre-economic-collapse prices at the same time austerity measures are being discussed at state and federal levels, eco-driving is a proven method that fleet drivers and average motorists can take immediate action to see real reductions in both fuel consumption and accident rates.



Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Reissues 15-Passenger Van Safety Caution

January 1, 2011 · Filed Under BrightFleet, Driver Training, FuelClinic, LinkedIn, Twitter · 1 Comment 

As the fall and winter driving seasons get under way, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging users of 15-passenger vans to take specific steps to keep occupants safe. Two recent fatal crashes, in New York and Georgia, involving 15-passenger vans that rolled over and resulted in 10 deaths give urgency to this reminder.

The agency warns that tire maintenance is paramount to preventing tragedies, such as these recent rollover crashes, from occurring. Users of 15-passenger vans need to make sure the vehicles have appropriately-sized tires that are properly inflated before every trip. The agency also points out that tires degrade over time. For this reason, NHTSA recommends that spare tires not be used as replacements for worn tires. In fact, many tire manufacturers recommend that tires older than 10 years not be used at all.

NHTSA said that it is directing this advisory to church groups, other non-profit organizations and colleges that may be keeping older 15-passenger vans in service longer than usual because of tight transportation budgets. Pre-primary, primary and secondary schools should not use 15-passenger vans for transporting school children, as they do not provide the same level of safety as school buses. It is also against federal law for schools to buy new 15-passenger vans for school transportation purposes.

Here are some safety tips for anyone planning a trip in 15-passenger vans:

  • If you are an owner, make sure the vehicle is properly maintained.
  • Owners should make sure drivers are fully trained and experienced in operating a 15-passenger van and are properly licensed.
  • 15-passenger vans are very sensitive to loading and should not be overloaded under any circumstances. Agency research shows overloading not only increases rollover risk but makes the vehicle more unstable in any handling maneuvers.
  • Owners should make sure that properly sized tires are being used on their vehicles.
  • Before every trip, drivers should check the tires for proper inflation, and make sure there are no signs of wear. Correct tire size and inflation pressure information can be found in the owner’s manual.
  • If you are a passenger, make sure you buckle up for every trip.

Additional information on 15-passenger van safety can be found here.



Fiat’s Study: Eco-Driving Uncovered – Introduction

Last month Fiat Motors released the results of their eco:Drive system study of 9 million journeys by 42,000 European drivers. I’ve spent the last few days reading and re-reading it, and it’s so good that I’m going to post sections of it in an on-going series here at Fuelishness!

If you’d like to download and read the whole report (and you should if you are at all interested in driver behavior modification), you can find it at the Fiat website for download.

Look for Part One shortly.



Fiat eco-driving trial cuts emissions by 6%

Source: TheENDSReport

A five-month ‘eco-driving’ trial involving 5,700 drivers achieved an average fuel saving of 6%, Fiat reported in November.

The most improved tenth of drivers in the trial, covering five EU nations including the UK, reduced fuel use by 16% on average.

Drivers were given a USB ‘memory stick’ which plugged into cars to record data on acceleration, gear changes, average speed and deceleration. Data was then analysed by Fiat’s ecoDrive software on home computers and tailored advice given on how to improve driving to cut fuel consumption and emissions.

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change and the now-abolished Commission for Integrated Transport have advocated eco-driving as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce transport CO2 emissions.

Our own eco-driving results are not too far off – with an average 5.03% improvement from our 3,500+ members of FuelClinic.com, as measured over the last two years.

Motorists who also use the FuelClinic-Configured Car-Chip as an in-vehicle eco-driving coach see even better results. When properly configured to warn drivers of inefficient driving like excessive acceleration, inefficient top-speed, and aggressive driving, the device provides important immediate reminders about driving behavior to drivers.

Immediate in-car feedback is important to maximize returns on eco-driving training and programs, but must be done in a manner that is not distracting to the driver. Simple audible feedback is the form of “warning beeps” reminds the driver that their current action is “missing the mark” set for their eco-driving goals.

The full FIAT Eco:Drive Report is available for download. It is an excellent study, and I have been studying it for a few days now. I will add it to our “Research Library” shortly. In the mean time, you can download it from FIAT.



“FuelClinic Fleet Systems” is now BrightFleet.com

BrightFleetWashington DC – Dec. 13th, 2010 – Compendium Software Systems, LLC announced today the release of BrightFleet.com™ http://www.brightfleet.com, marking a change in branding for all products previously available under the FuelClinic Fleet™ Systems brand.

BrightFleet’s™ mission is to provide a globally-available risk identification and mitigation system, all in one easily administered and affordable solution available immediately for fleets of any size and type.

“Our state-of-the-art Hazard Perception Evaluation application is a predictive behavior analysis tool designed to identify a fleet’s high risk drivers based on their ability to identify dangerous situations that happen every day on our roadways”, said Michael Bragg of Compendium Software Systems, the company behind the BrightFleet™ brand.

While BrightFleet™ will focus solely on providing advanced technologies to fleet operators on a global scale, FuelClinic™ http://www.fuelclinic.com will continue to focus on providing motorists fuel efficiency improving eco-driving advice, techniques, and progress-tracking software.

“We love the FuelClinic community, and plan to continue to increase the level of service we provide to the eco-drivers there”, said Bragg. “We also relize that the fleet risk management and mitigation products we offer are a more natural fit under the new BrightFleet™ brand.”

To learn more about BrightFleet™, visit the website at http://www.brightfleet.com



Fuelishness Feed! Nissan’s ECO Pedal; Fuel Prices Unlikely to Fall; And the Stingiest Car Is…; Just 99 MPG?; Green Truck Summit

It’s been a while since we’ve had a Fuelishness! Feed. What a better day than Thanksgiving to gorge on some eco-driving news:

  • Nissan Licenses ECO Pedal Technology — “When the ECO Pedal system is on, each time the driver exerts excess pressure on the acceleration pedal, the system counteracts in advance with a pedal push-back control mechanism (tactile indicator) to support drivers for more effective, fuel-efficient driving. Studies show that effective eco-driving behavior with ECO Pedal drive assist contributes to improve fuel efficiency from 5 to 10% (based on internal measurement) in many driving conditions,” Nissan informs.
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  • Fuel Prices Unlikely to Fall Anytime Soon, says AA — “In the short-term, fuel prices will inflict more pain on drivers and business,” says Luke Bosdet, a fuel expert at the AA. “It may well be an ordeal we have to endure before a recovered economy restores a less volatile fuel market, though commodity speculation continues to cast a shadow.”
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  • And The Stingiest Car Is … — The Volkswagen Golf Blue-E-Motion. The plucky little electric car, with 115 bhp, a top speed of 86mph and 0-62mph time of 11.8 seconds won the race. “It’s a testimony to the abilities of the Golf Blue-E-Motion that it won despite the fact I’d never competed in any sort of eco-driving challenge before,” said Jim Holder, driver of the winning car.
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  • Just 99 mpg: Isn’t it Time to Focus on More Than Plug-ins? — Significant and cost-effective improvements in fuel economy were also suggested and supported very recently at the LA Auto Show by several automakers, particularly Hyundai which is forecasting industry-leading plans for improving fleet fuel economy without increasing vehicle costs. Similarly, the X-Prize also demonstrated that 100 mpg is achievable without the need for either hybrid or plug-in technologies.
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  • Green Truck Summit 2011 Offers Glimpse into Future — “Our industry is in a very exciting period of evolution,” says Doyle Sumrall, NTEA senior director of business development. “As innovative manufacturers continue to develop new green technology, fleets and the businesses who support them must understand how and when to use that technology to improve their operations and environmental impact. The Green Truck Summit is a unique gathering of technical experts, thought leaders and peers who all share their knowledge to provide solutions for today’s issues, as well as guidance into the future.”


Drive Safer Sunday is November 28, 2010

From: Road Safe America — November 28, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, will be the busiest traffic day of the year. Do what you can to be safe – get plenty of rest, stay alert, buckle up, put away the hand-held devices, and slow down.

Be extra careful around big trucks – leave them plenty of room because they cannot see, maneuver, or stop as easily as you can.

Visit our website, www.roadsafeamerica.org, for more safety tips.



Interesting Video on Behavior Modification Study

As we continue to study the ways that communication can be used to change peoples behavior I’ve come across this video from BDI in London, and thought I’d post it for comment.



Move Over for Stopped Emergency Vehicles in Maryland

A new Maryland law went into effect on October 1, 2010. This law requires drivers to move over one lane, away from an emergency vehicle (police, ambulance, fire apparatus) on the side of the road with its red or blue lights flashing, and to slow down. The fine is $110.00 and two points for each emergency vehicle on the side of the road with flashing red/blue lights passed. For example, you come upon an accident scene on the left side of the road. There is a fire truck, an ambulance, and three police cars – all with flashing red/blue lights – at the scene. You continue pass the scene in the left lane at the posted speed. Your fine could be $550.00 plus 10 points. [Source: The Baltimore Sun, October 18, 2010]

If you passed the scene at a speed greater than the posted speed limit, an additional fine and points could be added for speeding and perhaps even reckless driving. 10 points means your license would be suspended for two years – in addition to a substantial increase in your auto insurance (30% – 50%) or forced to use the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) where you will pay at least 30% more than your current premium and must pay for a complete year all at once (no installment payments allowed) – you will remain in this category for three years.

Maryland Point System – This is in addition to any fines that are imposed and increases in automobile insurance premiums:

9 mph or less over the posted speed limit = 1 point

10 – 30 mph over the posted speed limit = 2 points (Except 20 mph or greater over a posted 65 mph limit = 5 points)

30 mph or more over the posted speed limit = 5 points

Reckless Driving = 6 points — can be added to the points assessed for speeding. For example, you are convicted of driving 20 mph over the posted 65 mph limit and reckless driving. The total points that could be awarded (in addition to fines) is 11 points. If you pass a fire truck, ambulance, and three police cars (all with flashing red/blue lights) on the side of the road while you are recklessly speeding down a road with a 65 mph speed limit and you fail to move at least one lane to the right and significantly slow below the speed limit, you could be awarded a total of 21 points! So, what happens?

When you accrue 5-7 points in a 2-year period, you are required to complete the Maryland Driver Improvement Program (driving school).

8-11 points within a 2-year period means your license is suspended for two years.

12 points gets your license revoked. After two years you can apply for a new license. In the example above, you could lose your license for four years and the cost of auto insurance would be high!



Georgia Southern University “Get Pumped” Tire Inflation Campaign

Georgia Southern University took a step in the green direction last month as its Center for Sustainability rolled out a “Get Pumped” Tire Inflation campaign. The Center teamed up with more than 80 student volunteers who informed ~400 drivers about the benefits of checking their car tire pressure each month. Volunteers also showed them where to find their vehicle’s recommended tire pressure in the driver’s door jamb, taught them how to use a tire gauge, and gave them a window sticker to remind them of the proper tire pressure and the date to check their tires each month. If vehicle tires were low, volunteers filled them up.

If all the volunteers and drivers make this simple change in behavior, the collective benefit of the Get Pumped campaign will be a savings of up to 50,000 gallons of gas $250,000, and 720 tons of CO2 each year, not to mention improved vehicle safety and tire life.

Student volunteers enjoyed the opportunity. Volunteer Jade McKibben commented “I really feel that I informed a lot of people who will spread the word about the CO2 emissions and the pros of simply maintaining the recommended tire pressure.” Drivers appreciated the free service, received unexpectedly as they went to their work out at the campus Recreation Activities Center (RAC).

Southside Service Center generously trained student volunteers and K’bob Kelly’s, Sugar Magnolia, and Gnat’s Landing provided gift certificates for the volunteers who educated the most drivers. Campus Recreation and Intramurals, Physical Plant, Parking and Transportation, Marketing all helped to make this event a great success.

For those interested in learning more about how to save fuel, visit fuelclinic.com for helpful tips and an online method to track your car’s fuel efficiency. Join the Center for Sustainability’s facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=142698357289 or find our website at http://cost.georgiasouthern.edu/sustainability/ for updates on sustainability events on campus and in the community.



Video Report on Google Car That Drives Itself in Traffic

Here’s a video peak at some of the hardware and software systems at work inside the Google Prius that has been driving itself around San Fransisco traffic over the past few months.



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