Darlene Monkman gives tips on how to drive green
The 18 million cars on Canadian roads release an average of 4 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle each year. And while the world’s scientists, engineers, and urban planners are working to find new ways of reducing that number (smart cars, electric cars, more public transit, etc.), drivers like you and me can actually make a difference right now with the cars we drive.
Stantec’s Learning Products and Solutions group recently launched Ecodriving Online. Developed with financial support from Natural Resources Canada, the online course provides Canadians with easy-to-implement driving techniques that are proven to reduce fuel consumption, save money and benefit the environment.
These green driving techniques have had a very real impact in my own life. Last summer, my husband drove my car for one week. When I got the car back, I decided to compare our fuel consumption. The numbers didn’t lie: In summer, I use an average of 7.5 L/100km. My husband used 8.2 L/100km driving the same vehicle.
The key messages in Ecodriving Online were a perfect fit for Stantec to partner with the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada – AJAC – for their annual Eco-Run, June 4-6. The Eco-Run saw 22 AJAC members drive from Ottawa to Montreal – each of them competing to be the most fuel-efficient driver on the journey.
I was in good company as the 22 drivers are like me…they employ driving techniques to reduce their fuel consumption. I was delighted that most of the Eco-Run drivers took our Ecodriving Online course in order to give them a hand up in the run. In the end, Michael Bettencourt took home the Eco Green Jersey award.
My hope is that EcoDriving Online will attract not only individual Canadian drivers, but companies with a fleet of vehicles who want to reduce their fuel costs. In just 25 minutes, Ecodriving Online teaches fuel-saving driving techniques and maintenance tips that can be implemented right away and could lead to a 25 percent savings in fuel costs and a $2,500 savings over five years.
Here are five ecodriving techniques:
1. Accelerate gently
- In city driving, over half the fuel your vehicle consumes is used to accelerate your vehicle
- Try to take five seconds to accelerate to 20 km/h after a full stop
2. Maintain a steady speed
- Driving at varying speeds consumes more fuel and creates more emissions
- Consider using cruise control for highway driving
3. Anticipate traffic
- Avoid unnecessary stops
- Avoid hard braking and rapid acceleration to save the brakes and tire wear
- Leave space between you and the vehicle in front of you
4. Coast to decelerate
- Leaving your foot on the gas and braking uses more fuel and wears brakes and tires faster
5. Avoid high speeds
- Aim for the sweet spot, 50 to 80 km/h, to save fuel and CO2 emissions
- It takes 20% more fuel to go 120 km/h than 100 km/h and you don’t save a lot of time
To learn more, visit ecodrivingonline.ca