Hey, here’s an idea. Let’s go to New York City, Yonkers to be exact, and teach a bunch of city drivers how to save fuel and be green loving tree huggers. Sounds like a great plan doesn’t it?
Yeah, I didn’t really think so either. To be honest, the idea downright scared me. And of course we picked the best week to do this. Rangers and Kings are in the NHL finals, and a bunch of us west coast based EDS instructors in our cute white shirts are gonna teach these seemingly “set in their ways” public works managers about driving in the Big Apple.
What could go wrong?
Actually, not a thing!
So, how did this happen? Well, first off, let me tell you that the City of Yonkers, nestled against the Hudson River and lying just north of Manhattan is a beautiful place. Idealic even in many ways. Great food, gorgeous scenery and nice people. Plus, Yonkers is all about sustainability. Just ask City of Yonkers Sustainability Manager Brad Tito, a young, gregarious and smart-as-a-whip manager who immediately saw the worth of trying to change driver behavior.
Next, came the drivers themselves. All of them were busy with their daily job duties when they took four hours out of their day to spend with us. So, you’d think that perhaps they would be less than happy.
They were terrific actually. They listened and approached the process with an open mind. And they really seemed to get into the program.
As soon as the drivers showed up to the start of our 7-mile course developed by our company President and CEO Drew Degrassi, we got them in cars and got going. It was all them driving, and us riding.
We did an out-lap of the course, simply encouraging them to drive they way they typically would.
Then, we basically took a page out of the Ford backed study that we did several years ago. We did a short and informative talk about ecodriving theory and genesis, and then went out and did 2 coached laps of the same circuit.
The results – pretty close to what we saw with the Ford study. We saw a 20% fuel savings and of course the associated reduction in carbon output, and only a 10% increase in time to distance overall. In fact some of the drivers actually took less time in their coached laps and got better mileage to boot!
Hopefully the EDS team will get to go back out to Yonkers and put on a full scale show for all of their drivers. In a city that spends $1.5 million each year for fuel costs alone (not including maintenance or insurance) adopting a proper ecodriving program could easily produce an very quick ROI.
We won’t make tree huggers out of those guys, but we sure will be able to help them save fuel. And money!
Ecodriving – it works
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