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Automakers offer up CO2 reduction program

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 - 23:00
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Automakers have recently rolled out EcoDriving™, a comprehensive, nationwide effort to save consumers money at the gas pump, reduce fuel use and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The industry also applauded California and Colorado for being the first states to support this consumer awareness program.

The Environmental Defense Fund also participated in the launch of the EcoDriving initiative, according to a news release.

“You can save money and save the environment by driving green,” says Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM). “Through EcoDriving, 10 top automakers and the states of California and Colorado have found we share an important commitment, and we commend Gov. Schwarzenegger and Gov. Ritter for their leadership in engaging consumers in green driving. Drivers don’t have to wait to buy a new, fuel-efficient vehicle to start reducing fuel costs and CO2…though I do encourage everyone to buy one of our new fuel-efficient vehicles immediately.”  

By following a set of subtle and easy-to-use best practices for driving and vehicle maintenance, a typical EcoDriver™ can improve mileage by about 15 percent, according to AAM. “Today’s automobiles are really computers on wheels, with more than 3,000 interactive parts operating as a complex system. The more you know about your machine, the better you can reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions,” says McCurdy.

EcoDriving produces the highest mileage from every single vehicle, regardless of vehicle size and age, so it offers an unmatched reach in addressing energy and climate issues by potentially affecting the nation’s entire fleet of 245 million automobiles. The program’s benefits include:  

  • If just half of all drivers nationwide practiced moderate levels of EcoDriving, annual CO2 emissions could be reduced by about 100 million tons, or the equivalent of heating and powering 8.5 million households; and

If all Americans practiced EcoDriving, it would be equal to 450 billion miles traveled on our roadways without generating any CO2 emissions. That’s 1,500 CO2-free miles for every man, woman and child in the United States each year.

Sample EcoDriving practices include: not tailgating, knowing the proper way to accelerate and brake, using synchronized traffic lights to a driver’s advantage, driving at the optimum highway speed, understanding when to use air conditioning and much more; also, knowing which motor oil to use, understanding the importance of proper tire pressure and what affects tire pressure and understanding aerodynamics aare other noted practices.

In conjunction with the unveiling of EcoDriving, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) announced that September will be free “Green Check-up Month” nationwide. 

“Consumers who are better aware of the operations of their vehicle will be rewarded by saving money at the gas pump and reducing CO2 emissions. Working together, we can substantially reduce CO2 emissions and fuel use, one EcoDriver at a time,” adds McCurdy.

The Alliance’s EcoDriving consumer awareness campaign centers on an interactive Web site, www.EcoDrivingUSA.com, to help drivers learn practical tips to improving their mileage and reducing their carbon footprint. The site includes a video guide to EcoDriving, an “EcoCalculator” to determine benefits for individuals or states, a Virtual Road Test and a variety of educational tools.

As part of their national campaign, automakers pledged to reach out to government, business and educators, among others. Alliance members hope to engage all 50 states, as well as major consumer organizations, in EcoDriving.

For more information, visit www.autoalliance.org.


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