Eco-driving is often considered an effective strategy for improving fuel efficiency. Some studies have estimated of the impact of eco-driving behavior on fuel efficiency to be quite pronounced – even as high as 20%. A recent pilot project, supported by the High Meadows Fund, gave the VEIC Transportation Efficiency team an opportunity to explore the costs, benefits, and viability of eco-driving, as well as its larger impact on transportation energy landscape.
Though the sample group for the project was small, it did help uncover some interesting findings:
- The impact of eco-driving on fuel efficiency may not be as pronounced as many other studies have suggested. In fact, eco-driving programs may not prove cost-effective for many drivers – even those who profess a strong commitment to eco-driving techniques.
- Eco-driving is more accurately characterized as a conservation activity rather than an energy efficiency measure. This is because it depends on drivers’ willingness to change their behaviors and expectations, rather than built-in vehicle technologies.
So, is eco-driving a good option for drivers who want to reduce their fuel costs? For those willing to make a committed long term effort, the answer is probably yes. The good news is that as built-in energy monitoring systems become increasingly prevalent, particularly in new vehicles, it is becoming easier for drivers to put these assumptions to the test in their own lives. But there is still work to be done in exploring the viability of eco-driving programs as a widespread transportation efficiency strategy.
Read the full report or contact the VEIC Transportation Efficiency team.