Ford Puts EcoDriving Tenets to Real-World Acid Test

By Editors on August 28, 2008 11:29 AM

Can simple changes in your everyday driving habits really make a meaningful difference when it comes to improving vehicle mileage?

Ford Motor Company and the Phoenix, Arizona-based Pro Formance Group recently conducted an exercise to find out. Mentored by master Pro Formance Group trainers, 48 volunteers put Ford's 10 basic eco-driving tips into practice over the course of a four-day evaluation period. The results, verified by the Sports Car Club of America, netted fuel-economy improvements of six to 50 percent, depending on how well each driver mastered and implemented the disciplines, with the average gain being an impressive 24 percent. Much like the EcoDriving initiative launched earlier this month, the keys to Ford's mileage-making program focus on operating vehicles at a more moderate and consistent pace, keeping tires properly inflated, engines properly lubricated and jettisoning unnecessary junk from the trunk.

Ford has been active in promoting eco-driving concepts since the 1990s, when it began working with the German Road Safety Council. Ford of Germany supplied a team of experts to train the Pro Formance Group coaches for this undertaking, and their next mission will be to develop a pilot program to certify eco-driving instructors who can pass these fuel-saving techniques along to many of the firm's fleet customers. "We are talking with fleet owners first, because they have large numbers of vehicles and drivers that could realize significant benefit from such training," said Curt Magleby, director of Governmental Affairs, Ford Motor Company. "Ultimately, all drivers can benefit from practicing eco-driving, and one day it may be considered mandatory as part of all new drivers training."