The first step is to consider whether eco-driving is going to be a stand-alone initiative or included within a travel plan, then whether it is going to be promotion only or include training, if so how will that be funded?
Then you need to consider how eco-driving standards can be kept up. Is there funding for refresher training or promotion?
In terms of adopting eco-driving, consider the following twelve steps:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Vehicles in a poor condition may be less efficient so ensure yours has regular servicing.
- Check the pressure of your tyres. Make sure they are at the pressure recommended in the manual. Check this monthly.
- Reduce drag. Roof boxes and racks can increase air resistance. Take them off the vehicle when not in use. You could reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% in some cases.
- Reduce weight. Are you carrying unnecessary things in the boot? Have a clearout of the vehicle and make sure you are only carrying what is required.
- Drive off from cold. Modern vehicle are designed to run from cold, so warming the engine up is just a waste of fuel.
- Shift up. Try to keep your engine revolutions below 2000 rpm. Change up before 2500 rpm with a petrol engine or 2000 rpm with a diesel.
- Drive smoothly. Try to look ahead and anticipate driving conditions. If possible, use engine braking to slow down. Slowing in gear and without the accelerator uses virtually no fuel. Smoothly increasing and decreasing speed, and avoiding coming to a halt where safe to do so, saves fuel, reduces accidents and makes your journey more comfortable.
- Sensible speeds. The optimal speeds for modern engines are between 30 to 55 mph. But that is for constant speeds. if you are in a busy built-up area or winding country road, you will waste less fuel braking if you take it easy. Going at 85 mph uses 25% more fuel than 70 mph.
- Turn off in traffic. If it looks like you may be stationary for more than a minute, turn the engine off to save fuel. Turning it back on without the accelerator will use almost no fuel. Some new vehicles have “Stop-Start”, which does this automatically.
- Plan ahead. Avoiding busy times, congestion and road works saves fuel and knowing where you need to go helps too. Imagine how much fuel you waste when lost!
- Avoid short journeys. Cold engines use twice as much fuel and catalytic converters take several miles to start working fully, so think about other ways of doing a short trip.
- Turn the AC down or off. Air-conditioning uses extra fuel, so don’t avoid using it and if you do have to, use the minimum amount you need to stay comfortable. Turn it off five minutes before your journey ends. If it is hot, though, air conditioning is better than the wind resistance of open windows if you are travelling over 40 mph.