Ecodriving is a modern and efficient way of driving that emphasizes fuel efficiency, speed, and safety. It is widely practiced in Canada and Western Europe, but still catching on in the US. Some ecodriving tips work better with a manual transmission, but anyone can ecodrive. Whether you are in a commercial truck or hybrid vehicle, ecodriving techniques improve gas mileage. In challenging economic times, improving gas mileage saves money and decreases our collective dependence on oil.
For more detailed driving tips from passionate ecodrivers, check out our post on Hypermiling. Ecodriving and Hypermiling are often mentioned in the same breath. They overlap in many ways and both aim to boost fuel efficiency, but some hypermilers take matters to extremes.
Our post included beginner hypermiling techniques, but there are much more advanced hypermiling techniques that aren’t recommended for use off the racetrack or the test track. If you are curious, you can check out some examples of extreme and futuristic hypermilers here.
The Golden Rules of Ecodriving, according to Ecodrive.org:
Anticipate Traffic Flow
Get used to reading the traffic far ahead of you and anticipate the movement of traffic ahead of you as much as possible. Give yourself three seconds to the car in front of you to minimize the need to suddenly brake. Use momentum and coast as much as possible, as covered in our Hypermiling post. Different techniques can be used to accomplish this. Ecodrive.org lists some here.
Maintain a Steady Speed at a Low RPM
Think flow. You want to glide through traffic smoothly and safely with minimal braking and acceleration. Drive at a low RPM and the highest possible gear. Avoid rapid acceleration and braking, as they lead to increased fuel burn. Use cruise control when applicable.
If you have a manual transmission, shift earlier and accelerate at a lower rpm.
Check Tire Pressure Frequently - at least once a month
Check your car’s manual for correct tire pressure. Tire pressure alone can work wonders for improving your gas mileage in the long haul.
Limit Any Extras - Extra Energy Costs Fuel, and Therefore Money
Air conditioning always burns more fuel, so use it only when necessary. The same goes for any other electrical extras you use in your car.
Avoid dead weight like heavy equipment you forgot in your trunk, and aerodynamic drag like an open sunroof on the highway.
Of course, you need to be comfortable, so there is no need to drive around with all of the windows up and no air-conditioning on a hot day. Generally speaking, on the highway at speeds of 50 mph and above, air-conditioning is a more fuel efficient option. When cruising around town at relatively low speeds, turning the a/c off and rolling the windows down is the better option.
Hungry for more?
Of course, a few tips like this are helpful, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. Ecodriving Solutions specializes in training fleet drivers (like bus and truck drivers) to ecodrive, potentially saving participating corporations and government departments 6-24% on fuel costs. They provide a free demo for the average driver on their site, and have an excellent and prolific blog covering ecodriving.