At a time when the role of the U.S. Federal Government has been called into question and concerns about the exploding national debt loom over our collective heads, local and state governments and seeking to reduce their own debt burdens. Yet many municipalities are being called on to provide more public transit options, even as funding disappears. One potential money-saver is the application of eco-driving techniques designed to save fuel.
A recent study released by SmartDrive Systems indicates that many public transit fleets could reduce fuel consumption (and the associated costs) by teaching drivers how to apply eco-driving, or hyper-miling, techniques. While some of this stuff is common-sense (drive slow, accelerate gently), other techniques like how to use the brakes less and avoiding lengthy periods of idling take time and experience to learn. All together though, these techniques could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 18.7% every year.
But the associated cost savings could be huge, especially as gas prices creep over $4.00 a gallon. If you ask me, the best way to get drivers to apply these techniques is to teach them, and then offer some sort of incentive (financial compensation, extra time off, etc.) to those who use the least fuel. Bribery? Maybe, but if a driver is saving 100 gallons a week, what’s the harm in giving him an extra day off?
Another important factor could be the implementation of real-time fuel-tracking equipment and software. This would give drivers up-to-the minute information on just how much fuel they are using. And if there is some sort of incentive attached to using the least fuel, well, all the better.