Fuelishness! -- The FuelClinic.com Blog

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?

 



Eco-Drive Chicago – Penn Public Policy Challenge

While Eco-Drive Chicago offers a variety of environmental benefits for the City of Chicago, perhaps the most compelling reason to adopt the program is based in economics. Recent studies have shown that eco-driving practices can lead to a sustained improvement in fuel efficiency of 25%, with short-term improvements reaching as high as 50%. Given that the fuel budget for the City of Chicago’s Department of Fleet and Facility Management is $25.7 million, fuel efficiency improvements of a more modest 15% would amount to $3.86 million dollars in fuel savings annually (if all fleet vehicles drivers were trained). These savings could increase dramatically if the price of fuel rises in the years to come.

While point estimates are not yet available, eco-driving training may also result in reductions in fleet maintenance costs, insurance premiums, and accident liability deductibles, as well the recapture of otherwise productive work time that is now spent refueling vehicles. On the whole, Eco-Drive Chicago: Saving Millions, Reducing Emissions 2 implementing eco-driving training programs will result in significant and sustainable net fiscal savings for the City of Chicago.



Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Fuel Costs Starting Today

Re-posted from: FleetBlogs > Decision Points

While I’ve been championing “eco-driving” for the past 5 years as a tested, proven, and effective way to reduce fuel costs, for some reason it’s still a “hard sell” here in the US. While most of the rest of the world already employs some sort of eco-driving component into their driver training and fleet operations, the US seems simply not interested, even though the numbers are there to prove how effective it is.

This week yet another study, this time by a company providing eco-driving training and systems, says transit systems can reduce consumption by 18.7% by adopting simple driving techniques. Given the rising cost of fuels, the flat operations budgets, one would think any fleet manager would be interested in cutting costs.

Here are the top 5 ways to reduce your fuel costs starting today:

1) Reduce your fleet’s maximum speed. Do it now. Do it in writing, set a policy and have you drivers sign it. Test them that they understood it. Communicate to other drivers on the road with a sign on the back of your vehicles so they know why the vehicle will not be speeding. Ask them to pass your vehicle safely. Say that you will be “passing the savings to customers”, or “keeping your people employed”, or you “want to save the plant”. Doesn’t matter.

2) Train your drivers to accelerate slowly, upshift early, and keep engine RPMs as low as possible without damage to the transmission.

3) Train your drivers to anticipate traffic lights and stops, and have them slow ahead of the stop by reducing throttle.

4) Train your drivers to look for opportunities to maintain momentum as they approach red lights by slowing, giving the light time to cycle to green.

5) Keep your tire pressure and filters at manufacturers recommended conditions. Keep all equipment maintained.

If your company is rolling in cash, then by all means keep on truckin’ at full throttle, it helps stimulate all the energy infrastructure, who employ a lot of people.

If you are looking for ways to reduce operational expenses because you HAVE to, and not because you WANT to, look at your fleet fuel spend, subtract 20%. While you are at it, take a look at your fleet accident costs, subtract 10% to 20% (efficient drivers are safer drivers).

I’d imagine that money is something your company could find other uses for.

 



Top 7 Eco-Driving Habits of Fuel Efficient Drivers – Infographic

Download the new eco-driving infographic from the eco-driving experts at Ford.

 



Who Else Is Feeling Gas Pains?

We’re very happy today to get referenced in a Yahoo Finance post about the winners and losers in the run up on gas prices:

The efficiency complex. When push comes to shove, Americans are really good at figuring out how to do more with less, and how to get more for their money — and then turning those ideas into businesses. When oil soars, websites such as Gasbuddy.com, which points users to cheap gas in the area, experience a surge in traffic. And firms like Propelit, whose software enables trucking fleet managers to monitor the driving habits of employees (and provide incentives for them to drive more efficiently), or FuelClinic.com, which coaches consumers on ways to drive more efficiently, find that their sales pitches go over much better.

We are in the “winners” camp, apparently members of the “efficiency complex”… I’m not sure I renewed membership this year, what with the fuel prices driving up my transportation costs and all.

None the less, very happy to be of service, coaching consumers on ways to drive more efficiently.

What to expect over the next few months… rising food prices that will lag behind fuel prices by a month or two, as most of our food is transported more than 1,500 miles from farm to your local market. Super-commuters will be hit hard, as just getting to work will become more and more expensive.

Will we hit $6.00 per gallon as some predict… what do you think?



Ford to Triple EcoBoost-Equipped Vehicle Production Capacity in 2012

From Automotive Fleet:

WASHINGTON – Ford announced it plans to more than triple its production levels of vehicles equipped with its EcoBoost engines. In addition, the company is expanding the number of vehicle models available with EcoBoost engines, from seven in 2011 to a total of 11 in 2012. The automaker added that by the end of 2012, nine Ford models will get an EPA-certified 40 mpg highway…

Read the rest



Eco-driving study from University of Michigan confirms results of similar studies from around the world

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) study on eco-driving found that vehicle maintenance, driver training, and route selection can reduce a vehicles fuel efficiency up to 45%. (Download the study as a pdf.)

Business Fleet magazine brings the news to the thousands of business fleet  managers in the January/February 2012 issue (pages 20, 21) which includes this chart showing the sample scenario where a 36 mpg vehicle may end up delivering less than 20 mpg if every factor considered in the study is included.

While earlier studies from around the world have previously come to similar conclusions, these studies were usually focused on finding inexpensive ways of meeting Kyoto Protocol targets, of which the United States is not a signatory to. (As of December 2011, Canada has opted out of Kyoto as well.)

The fact that American institutions are now conducting and publishing studies on the various positive effects of eco-driving… and that the concepts are working their way into the business fleet management lexicon… is a very positive development in my opinion, and well past due.

So what’s been taking so long, and why are we finally accepting it? Tell me what you think in the comments.

 



The US Military Going Green, Again Leading By Example…

Green isn’t just for camouflage any more. The US military recognizes the need to become more efficient, less dependent, and more sustainable.

From a green economy perspective, this legislation could not be more important. The military’s huge demand for energy translates into enormous market pull. By creating a market for biofuels and green technology, the military can spur further research and drive down the price of clean energy to levels that would be competitive with traditional energy sources. According to analysis presented at a congressional briefing on the Defense Department’s Deployment of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, section 526 sends positive signals to the green energy sector by reassuring clean energy producers that their investments will be met with steady demand from the DoD. Such stability is critical for any burgeoning industry.

Read the rest at the Epoch Times.



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.



Baltimore: The I-95 Corridor Coalition is promoting ECO-DRIVING

August 10, 2011 · Filed Under Community, Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, FuelClinic.com, LinkedIn, Twitter · Comment 

Source: Baltimore Examiner

The I-95 Corridor Coalition is promoting ECO-DRIVING – economically and environmentally beneficial tips that will save both gas and money while helping to protect the environment. That’s a win-win-win situation!

In the 2011-world, everyone’s in a big hurry. The more hurried we go, the more gas we burn; the more emissions our cars emit; and the more money we spend to refill the gas tank. Perhaps it is time to take a serious look at how we drive!

Actually this lesson was promoted during the gas-crunch in the late 1970s. IF we drive just 55 mph, we save gas and money! That lesson is still true today.

It will be interesting to see the results of the recent air-quality testing done by NASA over the I-95 corridor. NASA conducted a series of low-altitude flying over sections of the I-95 roadways to evaluate the vehicle emissions as well as industrial pollution that is damaging the air quality in Maryland. These testing flights were conducted in early July 2011.

Read the rest.

If anyone at the I-95 Corridor Coalition would like to see how FuelClinic.com can help educate, promote, engage, and measure the results of their efforts, please contact us.



Updated: Could cabbies become eco-driving ambassadors?

Source: http://www.businessgreen.com/

Taxi drivers are notorious for being independent thinkers and more than a little opinionated, but now a new study is seeking to harness those qualities and turn cabbies into fuel efficiency ambassadors, even floating the idea of financial incentives to those who promote green policies to their passengers.

A study being published this week by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is to act as the centrepiece of Shell’s Smarter Cab Drivers project, which is designed to encourage the widespread and long-term adoption of eco-driving across the UK.

Read the whole thing.



Across Europe, Irking Drivers Is Urban Policy

Source: Smart Blog

While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

Cities including Vienna to Munich and Copenhagen have closed vast swaths of streets to car traffic. Barcelona and Paris have had car lanes eroded by popular bike-sharing programs. Drivers in London and Stockholm pay hefty congestion charges just for entering the heart of the city. And over the past two years, dozens of German cities have joined a national network of “environmental zones” where only cars with low carbon dioxide emissions may enter.

Likeminded cities welcome new shopping malls and apartment buildings but severely restrict the allowable number of parking spaces. On-street parking is vanishing. In recent years, even former car capitals like Munich have evolved into “walkers’ paradises,” said Lee Schipper, a senior research engineer at Stanford University who specializes in sustainable transportation.

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/science/earth/27traffic.html



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?



Aggressive Driving Can Cost You 25%

June 26, 2011 · Filed Under Do-It-Yourself, Eco-Driving, Saving Money · 1 Comment 



Junk in the Trunk

June 25, 2011 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, Motivations, Reducing Emissions, Saving Money · Comment 



Five ways you can get better fuel mileage, starting right now…

Have you ever been driving along without a care in the world, then you glance down at the fuel gauge and notice that the needle is below the empty mark? You’ve forgotten to fill-up, and you are not sure how much gas is left in the tank… you know where the next gas station is, but it’s not very close…

You lift your foot off the gas pedal a little, slow to a more gingerly pace, coast up to stop lights just hoping that it will turn green before you have to stop, then you slowly accelerate trying to get every last quarter-mile from those last few quarts of gas sloshing around at the bottom of your tank.

Congratulations! You just became an instant eco-driver, no special training required.

But you don’t have to be motivated by the anxiety of being stranded at the side of the road in order to improve your fuel mileage considerably, and as often as you wanted to. The same “techniques” that you instinctively understood would help you with a near-empty fuel tank can also help you go much further on every gallon of gasoline you buy.

Here are the top five techniques that are proven to work on every vehicle.

  1. Accelerate Gradually – You don’t need to hold up traffic or drive like you left your coffee on the roof. Just accelerate more gradually than normal. Be the slowest off the line, and relax knowing that you are going to get to the next stoplight in about the same amount of time as everyone else.
  2. Leave Your Aggression Curbside – We’ve all done this. You are in a rush, you didn’t leave early enough to give yourself enough time to account for traffic, and traffic has been slow. You are tailgating the knucklehead in front of you hoping that he’ll move out of your way. The first chance you get you dart over to the fast lane and “make up time” with a little extra lead in your foot. You may think you’re making time, but studies show that drivers who time lights and traffic patterns arrive at their destinations sooner than drivers who drive aggressively. Relax, leave a few minutes early, stop jockeying for “position” with the cars around you, and you’ll find you arrive on time, in a better mood, and with more gas left in the tank.
  3. Avoid Stopping – Don’t try to tell Officer Friendly that you were saving gas by rolling through stop signs, they can’t be avoided. But the proper timing of lights and traffic patterns like smoothly merging into traffic can go a long way to helping you maintain your momentum. Any amount of momentum you can keep means less work needed to re-accelerate. Avoiding having to start from a total stop will save fuel every time. This takes a little bit of practice to get right, but with a little effort you’ll be negotiating traffic like a pro.
  4. Loose the Need For Speed – It’s simple physics. The drag on your vehicle increases with speed. The more drag, the more work your engine needs to do to maintain or increase that speed. Work = Fuel. Sure your speedometer on your car goes all the way up to 150 MPH, and the traffic on most major highways zips along above the posted speed limit, but neither is an excuse for not slowing things down a bit if you want to save money on fuel. Stay out of the way of all those filthy rich people who have money to burn, move over to the slow lane, and enjoy the warm feeling of giving “big oil” the bird as you continue to drive to your destination – on your terms.
  5. No Excessive Idling – This one is a little different, and not my favorite. I don’t recommend turning your vehicle off at stop lights or when you are engaged in stop and go traffic, unless it’s clear that you are in a backup that isn’t going to be moving for many minutes on end. Even then, re-starting a car with a hot battery and hot starter can sometimes be iffy (especially in older cars). The last place you want to be stranded is in the middle of a backup. But there are times when idling is done excessively, more often out of laziness or poor planning. Idling gets exactly zero miles per gallon. Idling in a drive-thru lane is costing you money. You might want to park and walk inside instead. Idling while you eat lunch and listen to the radio is another way to waste gas. Idling to “warm up” your car is a waste, unless it’s winter, and you want the heat to work.

There you have it – five top ways to improve your fuel economy. Most drivers can easily improve 10%, some may get up to 25% or more, depending on how terrible their driving habits were to start with. You can track your progress for free on http://www.fuelclinic.com and see for yourself.

There are 15 more eco-driving tips online at: http://www.fuelclinic.com/eco-driving-tips/

And don’t let the “eco” turn you off, manly-men can eco-drive too!



POLL: What will $5 per gallon gasoline mean to you?

All signs are pointing to a continued run on fuel costs here in the US, with many experts predicting $5.00+ per gallon prices common by mid-summer. This is despite a continuing slump in crude oil demand here in the US – now at a 12-year low. This paradox between low demand and high prices has many wondering what’s really happening in the market, and where will it go from here.

Some industry advisors blame commodity speculators for the gouging at the pump, while others say a booming Chinese market and weakening dollar are to blame for near-record pump prices. Still others claim it’s the work of the Obama Administration to raise energy costs in order to make alternative sources of energy competitive in price. (After all he did promise to do just that during his campaign.)

Regardless of the cause, the reality to commuters and business owners is a painful reminder of the summer of 2008 when rocketing energy prices caused a wide ripple effect on prices in nearly every sector of the economy. Many businesses were in a panic about paying surging fuel costs while keeping prices low and people employed. Consumers felt it everywhere, but especially at the pump with painful total sale costs per tank of gas.

So what will $5 per gallon gasoline mean to you?

Will you choose to car-pool, buy a more efficient car, walk or bike to work (where possible), take fewer trips, buy gasoline on discount-days, adopt eco-driving habits, or cut-back in other areas of spending to afford your normal driving habits?



Gas Prices Approaching $5 at the same time Demand for Crude Oil at 12-Year Low

April 12, 2011 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, LinkedIn, Saving Money, Twitter · 1 Comment 

Can anyone explain to me how this system works. We are seeing near-record costs for gasoline at the same time demand for crude oil is at an all-time low.

…”Imports fell 1.7 percent to $210.9 billion. A big reason for the decline was that demand for crude oil fell to a 12-year low, which offset higher prices.”… (Source: Forbes)

The EIA indicates that higher crude oil prices are the cause of the higher gasoline prices, not additional taxes or increases in refining.

Graphic Source: EIA

UPDATED – POLL: What will $5 per gallon gasoline mean to you?



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.



Changing Your Driving Style Can Save You $400 per year – or more

March 13, 2011 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, LinkedIn, Technology, Twitter · Comment 

Source: Discovery News

“When people get instantaneous feedback, they can say: ‘Oh, look how bad my mileage was,” said Matthew Barth of the University of California, Riverside. They can also see the driving changes that bring improvements in their mileage.

The continuous feedback is important. When people just get advice on driving in ways that save fuel — like avoiding quick starts or slowing down on the highway — they tend to fall back into less efficient driving habits. “The problem with the static advice is it doesn’t really stick,” Barth said.

The mileage feedback encourages more gradual starts and stops and slower highway speeds.

With eco-driving, “you become a less aggressive driver,” said Jack Barkenbus of Vanderbilt University. “It encourages you to get your foot off the pedal a little bit more. You’ll find that on the interstates, going slower really makes a difference.”

Barkenbus said that a 10 percent decrease in fuel usage — and therefore in driving-related CO2 emissions — is a realistic possibility. If one-third of Americans did this, he estimated in a paper published last year, it would save the equivalent of taking almost 6 million cars of the road, or eliminating seven large coal-fired power plants. Those who dropped their usage by 10 percent would save around $200 to $400 per year.

Read the rest



As Gas Prices Spike, More See Economic News as Bad

March 13, 2011 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, Fuels, News & Reports · Comment 

Source: Pew Research Center

Concern about prices –especially gas prices – appears to be a key factor in the more negative perceptions. Nine-in-ten (90%) say they are hearing mostly bad news about gas prices, up from an already high 77% in February. About six-in-ten (62%) say they are hearing mostly bad news about food and consumer prices in general. That’s up from 49% one month ago.

Read the report



Prepare to spend $700 more this year on gasoline

March 10, 2011 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, Motivations, Saving Money, Twitter · Comment 

Source: Reuters

The average U.S. household will spend about $700 more for gasoline in 2011 than it spent last year, bringing total motor fuel expenses up 28 percent to $3,235, based on an annual pump price of $3.61 a gallon, the department’s Energy Information Administration said.

Retail gasoline prices soared by 38 cents over the last three weeks to $3.52 per gallon, according to the EIA, because of high crude oil costs due to unrest in the Middle East.

Read the rest



Fuelishness! Feed: Gas Prices Up Despite Glut of Oil; EcoMode for Ford Focus; UCR Eco-Driving Study Started; Instant Feedback Important for Eco-Driving; “Grey Fleet” Eco-Driving Off-set Reduced Mileage Allowance; Auto Insurance Costs $84,000

Here’s a quick fill-up:

  • Retail gas prices rise in spite of supply glut and reduced Middle East tensions — Retail gasoline prices have continued to rise in California and around the rest of the U.S., in spite of falling oil prices, mounting optimism about Middle East unrest, and U.S. fuel supplies so plentiful that their like has not been seen in 17 years.
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  • All-New Ford Focus Features EcoMode to Help Drivers Perfect Eco-Driving Techniques — “The foot of the driver has one of the biggest impacts on real-world fuel economy of a vehicle and was the starting point for the development of EcoMode,” said Thomas Schick, an engineer with the Ford of Germany Core Vehicle Integration team who helped design the software. “This is a useful tool that creates awareness between personal behavior and fuel consumption and offers up hints on how to improve. Applying those hints and recommendations is all up to the driver.”
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  • UCR study focuses on ‘eco-driving’ — The UCR Engineering Center for Environmental Research & Technology, along with researchers from UC Berkeley and UC Davis, are conducting the study with Earthrise Technology Inc. to determine what driving behaviors lead to the least fuel consumption.
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  • Using Instant Feedback for “Eco-Driving” — Eco-driving technology and behaviors can be implemented immediately, with little cost and investment in transportation infrastructure, supporters of the technology say. It’s also a simple way of reducing transportation-related carbon emissions. The final report is expected to be published in the spring of 2012.
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  • Fleet Hero grey fleet management award — Paul Jackson, managing director of The Miles Consultancy, says there are side-benefits for staff in smarter driving courses…Jackson says fuel consumption and emissions can be cut by nearly a quarter when drivers use eco-driving techniques of reading the road farther ahead, cutting out aggressive braking and slowing at roundabouts, rather than stopping, if the road is clear.
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  • Study: Average lifetime car insurance costs estimated at $84,000 — Insurance.com based its analysis on quotes from drivers who first purchased insurance at age 21, married at 27, briefly insured two teens and stopped driving at age 75. The average premium includes drivers with all types of claims, accidents and other driving histories.


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