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EcoDriving can save you time, money, and effort—all while reducing your carbon footprint

August 01, 2018

Take a sneak peek at our ecoDriving course from the intern who helped update it

By Janelle Gagné

Last year, I turned my life upside down. In the span of a month, I decided to move halfway around the world, leave a comfortable career as an English teacher, and return to school to enroll in a graduate certificate in technical writing. Why would I do something so seemingly crazy? It’s simple, really—I was in the pursuit of a fulfilling and challenging career.

If you asked me how I feel about my decision now that a year has passed, I’d tell you I couldn’t be happier.

What’s happened since then to cause such satisfaction?

As responsible drivers, it is our job to consider what we “need” versus what we “want” when it comes to transportation.

First, I graduated from school after refining my skills in instructional design, a field which brings together eLearning course creation and visual design. Now, I can transfer those skills in my co-op placement within Stantec’s Learning Products and Solutions team.

While the mention of internships or placements might bring to mind coffee runs, menial tasks, and being ignored by supervisors, I’m fortunate enough to say that my experience could not be more different. As an instructional designer co-op student, I’ve now started to take on my own projects and responsibilities.

Of those projects, helping with the updating of ecoDriving Online, was one of my highlights. Stantec developed the course with funding from National Resources Canada, and the course provides information on driving techniques to save on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, which then helps reduce emissions.

It doesn’t pay to drive faster than necessary. A car’s ‘sweet spot’ is actually from 50 to 80 km/h to save on fuel and lower CO2 emissions.

The course itself was a breeze to go through—it has plenty of videos and interactive content. While I found the lessons helpful as a young driver, what really struck me about this course was how little people know about the environmental impact of their actions.

I say this because when I told friends and family about the assignment, I was greeted with many puzzled looks and comments like:

  • “So you mean hybrid cars? I can’t afford that.” 
  • “I need my car. I can’t just stop driving.”
  • “That sounds like a hassle.”

Little did they know that ecoDriving can save them time, money, and effort—all while reducing their carbon footprint. Here are four key takeaways from the course.

1. Keep your car

EcoDriving does not require any big purchase or commitment. Whether you have a 20-year-old car or the latest hybrid, you can lessen the impact you have on the environment by making small changes in how you drive.

2. Save on gas

I was really surprised to learn that lessons from ecoDriving can save drivers money in the long run thanks to fuel-efficient driving. There are driving techniques you can use to help you save 25% in fuel costs, which can add up to approximately $2,500 over five years. For example, here’s one technique: It doesn’t pay to drive faster than necessary. In fact, a car’s “sweet spot” is from 50 to 80 km/h to save on fuel and lower CO2 emissions.

3.Simplify vehicle maintenance

If you’re like me and the thought of buying new tires is the bane of your existence, you’ll be glad to hear simply measuring your tire pressure can help save you money.

That’s because when tires are properly inflated, their life can be extended by 10,000 km. You could even reduce your fuel consumption by 4%.

4. Say goodbye to your commute

Don’t feel like going through the daily grind of rush hour traffic? Telecommuting even just one day a week reduces the amount of fuel you use by 20%.

Author Janelle Gagné, right, working with colleague Isabelle Groulx at Stantec’s Ottawa, Ontario, office.

EcoDriving can fit every driver’s needs

EcoDriving Online is available for free. Highlights of the course include:

• How to save fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.

• Five eco-efficient driving techniques.

• Three travel management tips.

• Four vehicle performance/maintenance tips.

• How to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We understand if you need your car. Public transportation is not always readily available, and jobs can often require travel. Not everyone can take public transportation every day, and that is completely reasonable.

As responsible drivers, it is our job to consider what we “need” versus what we “want” when it comes to transportation.

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