Eco-driving is on the environmental agenda of most governments and international institutions but few road users today have actually ever received eco-driving training. In most countries being familiar with the principles of eco-driving is simply not a requisite to obtain a driving license. ECOWILL “Eco-driving Widespread Implementation for Learner Drivers and Licensed Drivers” aims at redressing this situation. Financed by the European Commission’s “Intelligent Energy Europe Programme” ECOWILL was launched in May 2010 by the Austrian Energy Agency and a large consortium of European organisations including the FIA.
The programme aims to reduce carbon emissions by up to 8 Mt by 2015 through the promotion of more eco-driving across Europe. To reach such an ambitious target the project will roll out short eco-driving training programs for both licensed and learner drivers in 13 European countries. Golden rules of eco-driving include: anticipating the traffic flow maintaining a steady speed at low RPM shifting gears up early checking tyre pressures frequently and avoiding dead weight and aerodynamic drag (by removing heavy objects and unused racks etc.).
ECOWILL promotes the education of ecodriving for learner drivers by pushing for its integration in driving schools’ curriculum and in driving licence tests. ECOWILL also works on standardising the contents of eco-driving courses and certifying trainers to provide such courses. Through all these activities ECOWILL plans to reach 100000 learner and novice drivers across Europe.
Thanks to its impact on fuel consumption and maintenance costs (brakes tyres etc.) and lower exposure to road risk eco-driving is both a cheaper and safer alternative for motorists which means that one needs not be particularly ‘environmentally minded’ to draw benefits from it. In environmental terms however eco-driving is important as it narrows the gap between the real world and ‘test-cycle driving’: test cycle emission figures are published by manufacturers and supposed to represent the typical usage of a car however these figures are typically lower than the emissions produced in real life driving and motorists need to be made aware that their driving style also has a significant impact on fuel consumption and the emission of pollutants.
For more information visit the newly launched ECOWILL website.
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Original Publication Date: Thu 24 Mar 2011