A License To Eco-Drive

Starting next week, all Swedes hoping to get a new driving license (a more intensive and expensive process than in the U.S.) will need to have learned how to "eco-drive." The principles of eco-driving are here. The Swedish Road Administration (SRA) says too many drivers - half of taxi and bus drivers and two-thirds of truck drivers - regularly speed, using up fuel and spurting out carbon dioxide unnecessarily. SRA makes the bold claim that 220,000 tons of CO2 could be saved annually if drivers obeyed the speed limit. How does SRA know this stuff? Using data from the odious big brother cameras that can be seen on more and more highways.

So to save lives, gas and CO2 emissions, SRA is including eco-driving in both its 'knowledge' and practical driving tests. SRA says eco-driving doesn't necessarily mean driving slower, but that drivers can expect to save between 4 to 10 percent on gas usage - and don't forget it costs more than $6 a gallon in Scandinavia - by sudden speed-ups and slow-downs, never pressing more than halfway on the gas pedal, switching to higher gears fairly quickly, and maintaining the speed limit. But while SRA is giving more weight to new drivers learning and demonstrating this knowledge to get a license, the agency also knows old habits die hard. In the recent speed report, SRA noted that speeding has increased rather than decreased since the last set of data was analyzed last spring. Perhaps Stockholm's drivers are going faster hoping perhaps to somehow outrun the congestion tax, which is tallied by road cameras and can cost a driver up to $10 per day. Via ::SRA web site (Swedish and English)

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