March 17th 2011 - An innovative eco-driving simulator programme that monitors how your driving style affects the amount of fuel you use is helping businesses save money as well as cutting carbon emissions.

Available from environment behaviour change charity Global Action Plan as part of its Fuel Wise programme, the simulator is being used by businesses to improve their drivers’ efficiency which significantly reduces CO2 emissions and fuel costs. One company’s employees cut the cost of their daily drive to work, saving the average employee £200 per year in today’s fuel prices.

Based on the average car driver’s mileage and fuel consumption, a 16% improvement in driving efficiency would add up to a £200 saving per year. Van drivers could save £789 per year.

Eco-driving is a proven tool in reducing costs. In a separate trial(1) organised by Fiat involving 5,700 drivers, an average fuel saving of 6% was achieved. 1 in 10 drivers achieved a 16% reduction by using eco-driving techniques.

Global Action Plan’s Fuel Wise programme is led by experts in driving and behaviour that tackle the root causes of inefficient driving using Eco Driving simulators and behaviour change workshops.

“Eco-driving is about changing our driving styles so we use less fuel, reduce CO2 emissions and save money. It’s one thing to teach someone the techniques to drive in efficiently, it’s another thing to ensure that those behaviours stick. Global Action Plan is committed to making carbon emission cuts happen." comments TrewinRestorick, CEO at Global Action Plan.

Heather McInroy, National Business Travel Network Programme Director adds:

“With 70% of UK employees driving to work and 80% of business trips being by car, we urge organisations and their employees to undertake eco-driving training. It will save businesses and individuals money and make a significant contribution to reducing emissions whilst improving safety for all road users”.

Simon Eves, Environmental Affairs, Panasonic UK Ltd, used the Eco Driving simulator at an event and said: “The Global Action Plan Eco Driving simulator brought attention to our environmental policy in a fun and involving way, and as a result is more likely to produce lasting change”.

The Committee on Climate Change has advocated eco-driving as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce transport carbon dioxide emissions.

Global Action Plan’s Top 10 Eco Driving Tips

Speed up and slow down smoothly

Harsh acceleration and braking can use up to 30% more fuel and lead to increased wear and tear on your vehicle.

Over revving accelerates emissions

Accelerate gently and use the highest possible gear as soon as conditions allow.

Limit ‘invisible’ fuel consumption

Devices such as the rear window defroster, fog lights or air conditioning all increase fuel consumption considerably.

Control your speed

Less than 15mph is the least efficient speed. Your fuel efficiency improves as your speed increases up to 60mph. Travelling over 60mph increases your fuel consumption again.

Use in-car devices

Most modern vehicles have lots of devices that can help you to reduce your fuel consumption.

Using the rev counter helps you to choose the appropriate gear, a sat nav system helps you to reach your destination quicker.

Minimise your vehicle use

Driving with a cold engine doubles fuel consumption so avoid short journeys where possible.

Pump up your tyres

Under-inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, which means your engine has to work harder.

Limit weight and air resistance

Roof racks and bike racks impede the aerodynamics of your vehicle and increase fuel consumption.

Keep your car well maintained

A vehicle which is not properly maintained will pollute more and drive less smoothly.

Plan your journey

Avoid separate journeys and try to combine trips.

-ENDS-

References:

1. FIAT Eco-driving Uncovered Report: http://www.fiat.co.uk/ecodrive/en/#ecodrive_en/thefacts

To arrange an interview or for photographs or further information, please contact:

Stephanie Walker

Tel: 020 7420 4443

Email: stephanie.walker[at]globalactionplan[dot]org.uk or

Amanda Barry-Hirst

Tel: 07860 313576

Email: amanda[at]amandabarryhirst[dot]com

To speak to Heather McInroy, National Business Travel Network Programme Director, email heather.mcinroy[at]bitc[dot]org.uk, www.nbtn.org.uk.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

About Global Action Plan’s Fuel Wise Programme

Drivers learn how their driving style, vehicle preparation and journey planning all contribute to their miles per gallon. By addressing the reasons why people drive the way they do, Global Action Plan is able to change drivers’ habits, reducing their fuel consumption, cost, carbon emissions and vehicle wear and tear, whilst improving safety and productivity. Global Action Plan uses Eco Interactive exhibits, which are available for hire, such as the Eco Driving simulator, Energy Bike and Carbon Gym in workshops to create behaviour change.

About Global Action Plan

Global Action Plan is an environmental charity specialising in behaviour change and, since 1993, has helped businesses, schools, and communities reduce their carbon footprint to positively impact on the environment and climate change. Global Action Plan is the only charity in the UK to be supported by the United Nations Environment Programme.

www.globalactionplan.org.uk

www.twitter.com/globalactplan

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=3004320&trk=anet_ug_hm

Distributed on behalf of Amanda Barry-Hirst by NeonDrum news distribution service (http://www.neondrum.com)