WASHINGTON, DC, August 22, 2008 (ENS) - Hypermiling, a way of driving to maximize fuel economy, has gone mainstream and bipartisan.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers started a new website today, www.ecodrivingusa.com, to promote driving and vehicle maintenance habits that can reduce fuel consumption. Its first two spokesmen for the effort are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican governor of California, and Bill Ritter, Democratic governor of Colorado.
Underscoring their united efforts, the site proclaims: "Red State. Blue State. Through EcoDriving, we can all be green states."
The interactive site lists a variety of ways to wring the most miles out of every gallon of gasoline, from avoiding idling the car for more than 30 seconds to using the "recycle inside air" feature to reduce air-conditioning demands.
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In a video message posted on the site's home page Schwarzenegger underscores the immediate benefits of learning how to "ecodrive."
"We hear a lot of ideas from politicians about lowering the gas prices and fighting global warming, whether it is biofuels, offshore drilling or nuclear power," he says. "But none of those will affect gas prices right now. Only you can do that. ... Each of us has the power to make a difference right now."
How? The site lists 26 driving and vehicle-maintenance tips that it says can collectively boost fuel economy by 15 percent. For example:
- Drive with a feather foot rather than a lead foot, avoiding rapid acceleration and hard stops.
- On warm days, roll down the windows to cool off if driving slower than 40 mph. At speeds above 40 mph, using air conditioning is more efficient.
- Use cruise control selectively. The feature saves energy on flat terrains, but on hilly routes, cruise control may cause the engine to speed up unnecessarily while climbing hills and slow down while descending.
- Check tire pressure regularly, use "energy conserving" motor oil if available and appropriate for your engine, replace clogged air filters and keep vehicle properly tuned.
Schwarzenegger says that if every driver followed "ecodriving" practices, the reductions in climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions "would be an equivalent to heating and powering nearly eight cities the size of Los Angeles."
"Ecodriving" is also known as hypermiling, a term coined by Wayne Gerdes, owner and administrator of www.cleanmpg.com. That website is billed as an online community of people guided by the motto, "Learn to raise fuel economy and lower emissions in whatever you drive."
Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the trade group Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said much the same thing in a statement introducing his organization's campaign.
"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," McCurdy said.
"Drivers don't have to wait to buy a new, fuel-efficient vehicle to start reducing fuel costs and CO2," he said - but in deference to his 10 member companies, which include Chrysler, Ford, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen, he added, "I do encourage everyone to buy one of our new fuel-efficient vehicles immediately."
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.