Preserving the Environment

This City’s Drive to Reduce Its Fuel Bill with Ecodriving

June 18, 2014
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This City’s Drive to Reduce Its Fuel Bill with Ecodriving
Carsten Koall/Getty Images
Less braking and proper acceleration will save energy and taxpayer money.

Whether they’re parks employees, public works staff, transit workers or building inspectors, city employees often log a lot of time behind the wheel.

Which is why Yonkers, New York is asking its public service employees to take an EcoDriving Training Program that teaches drivers energy-saving techniques and fuel efficiency. The city spends an estimated $1.5 million annually on fuel for Yonkers’s fleet, and Mayor Mike Spano hopes some tips in ecodriving can save taxpayer money and reduce fuel use by up to 25 percent.

“These EcoDriving workshops are an exciting opportunity to demonstrate that small changes in driver behavior can lead to big savings at the gas pump,” said Mayor Spano. “The techniques can be used anywhere by anyone, so it’s not only going to cut the city’s fuel bill, it’s also going to help our employees to save money and improve air quality in their daily lives.”

The two, half-day courses will be held at city hall, taught by instructors who are current or past race car drivers, according to the Daily Voice. The instructors are certified as masters in ecodriving by the German Road Safety Council — which pioneered the practice with support from the Ford Motor Company.

The class will include learning techniques on “momentum management,” including when to accelerate, shift, speed, brake, and cruise. For example, ecodriving requires a driver to keep a foot on the gas pedal for as long as possible, as breaking destroys harnessed energy that’s been built up. Rebuilding that energy uses more fuel and more energy.

City employees that rack up the most miles — the Office of Aging van drivers and building inspectors — will be the first participants. Yonkers has also partnered with Metropool, which provides transportation programs. If successful, ecodriving could prove useful to be included in the curriculum of driver’s education classes.

MORE: Top 10 Cities for Energy Efficient Office Buildings

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