Kate’s Corner: Ecodriving

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A simple change in habits can make a significant impact on the bottom line.

Are you looking for low hanging fruit, or a way that you, as a fleet professional, can start making a difference today, through either your work fleet or even your personal driving habits? The principles of ecodriving are little more than common sense, yet their application can reduce fuel usage and emissions by up to 20 percent.

Did you know?

  • Using cruise control under the right conditions can improve your mileage by seven percent.
  • On a cold winter day, Canadians collectively idle vehicles for 75 million minutes consuming 2.2 million litres of fuel. (NR Can)
  • Reducing vehicle weight by 100 lbs results in a one percent increase in mileage.
  • Using air conditioning can decrease fuel economy by 25 percent.
  • For every five mile increase in speed over 50 MPH, mileage decreases by seven percent.

All of this information and more can be found in NAFA Fleet Management Association’s Sustainable Fleet Management Guide, which will be released in April.

The Reference Guide was developed by NAFA volunteers in conjunction with North Carolina State University. A Sustainability module has been added to NAFA’s certification program and candidates can enrol to take a Sustainable certificate commencing in April.

These materials and the first exams for this new certificate are also being offered as a pre-conference event at the Institute and Expo in Tampa on April 24. More information is available at nafainstitute.org/ sustainability_pre-con.

Effective benchmarking
The Reference Guide offers practical information to address sustainability in every aspect of fleet management from sustainable acquisition to maintenance to benchmarking to ecodriving.

When it comes to ecodriving, here are five of the ten recommended practices:

Select the best vehicle and route.
This may be basic common sense but training ourselves and our employees to think before making vehicle and route selection decisions can equate to impressive savings.

Of course, we want employees to take the Smart car instead of the SUV from the pool when they are going to a meeting across town, but finding ways to encourage and incentivize them for making these wise choices can assist.

Likewise with routing. The use of route optimization software is increasingly common and can decrease the number of vehicles required and kilometres travelled for delivery service or refuse pick-up.

Train for defensive/anticipatory driving.
There are online and in-person programs available that remind drivers of the importance of looking ahead in order to anticipate emerging circumstances and avoid the hard braking or acceleration that can reduce vehicle life and increase fuel usage.

Practice steady driving.
A steady driver is one who maintains a constant speed and uses cruise control where possible.

Lower speeds.
With speed limits of 100km/h or higher, it is impractical and may even be unsafe, to encourage drivers to operate at speeds significantly slower.

It is important, however, that drivers recognize the reverse relationship between speed and mileage and the adverse impacts of excessive speed.

Reduce idling.
Legislation aside, changing your personal behaviour is a first step to changing the culture of your family, or your organization, and not accepting unnecessary idling.

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” (Warren Buffet) In other words, small changes in these areas are painless and may go unnoticed but will eventually become so ingrained that they will make a difference. Accept this as a challenge and make your own contribution–big or small.

Categories : Fleet


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