Eco-Driving — Unfeel the Need for Speed

The Netherlands Ministry of Spatial Planning, Housing and the Environment, who thankfully also go by the shorter name of 'VROM', publish a periodical newsletter. This time round they are highlighting Air Quality and in one story how this can be addressed via automotive transport and in particular the speed thereof. The VROM believe "a decrease in the general speed limit to 100 km/hr [from 120km/hr] would create a one mega-tonne reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year". Rather than repackage their message on how to achieve this, we reckon it's succinct enough to give it you unedited: "Eco-Driving is a driving style designed to reduce fuel consumption, cut emissions and improve safety. By changing the way they drive, motorists can save up to 25% on fuel and fuel costs. In the original 15 European Union member states, a 10% decrease in consumption translates into 25 billion litres of fuel and 50 mega-tonnes carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.""The Dutch government backs the principles of Eco-Driving and for the first time will begin promoting it under the slogan "50 in 4th gear" on all 80 km/hr zones in November 2005. In the Netherlands, the Eco-Driving programme is funded from the Climate Change budget, and all major consumer and business transport organisations are involved. The goal of the programme is to change motorist driving habits: steady driving patterns provide the optimal fuel and environmental benefits. Like any new skill, it takes practice.

Some of the key principles of Eco-Driving are:
• Maintain engine speeds between 1200 — 3000 rotations per minute (RPM);
• Change to higher gears between 2000 — 2500 RPM, and drive in top gears at lower speeds — the so-called "50 in 4th gear" driving style;
• Try to anticipate more to avoid strong accelerations, decelerations, overtaking or aggressive driving;
• Driving at speed limits and avoiding high speeds;
• Add 10% to standard tyre pressure;
• Avoid using the air condition, or set at temperatures above 21°C;
• Use your bike for short trips — starting your car when it is 'cold' uses 300% more fuel."

Of course, we're big fans of that last point. For more background on 'Speed Rationing' and the like, point your cursor here. Other related Air Quality stories can also be found at ::VROM's 'Shared Spaces' newsletter