California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter teamed up with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to launch the EcoDriving programme.

The nationwide scheme aims to raise awareness of practical steps drivers can take to reduce fuel consumption, and pollutants and carbon emissions associated with motor fuel.

An interactive website helps drivers learn how to reduce their mileage with a video guide to EcoDriving, an EcoCalculator and a virtual road test.

Launching the scheme, Governor Schwarzenegger said: “This programme is no substitute for a consistent, long-term national energy policy, but it provides immediate and tangible relief from high gas prices.

“Just by following some simply recommendations, drivers can get 15% better gas mileage, save money at the pump, and reduce demand for foreign oil.

“During the transition to more renewable and secure energy sources, we’ll all benefit and save money from the most efficient use of gasoline.”

California alone has 32.5m automobiles on its roads. If all its residents practised EcoDriving, it could save an estimated 23m tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

The advice includes accelerating and braking properly, not tailgating and knowing which motor oil to use.

The programme expects to help drivers improve the mileage of their cars by 15%, but recently released research by Ford Motor Company in the US shows that motorists coached by eco-driving experts can achieve even higher efficiencies.

Ford and Phoenix-based Pro Formance group joined forces to pilot an eco-driving programme for fleet customers which provided hands-on coaching.

The results, verified by the Sports Car Club of America, showed an average 24% improvement in fuel economy.

Kate Martin

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