By Laura Elizabeth May
Green Right Now
Denver drivers have seen the light. It’s on the driving dashboard that shows them their CO2 emissions.
As part of a pilot program called Driving Change, city-employed and selected citizen drivers were given feedback from their dashboards about their driving habits, which in turn, told them about their carbon emissions.
What they learned was that how they drove really did make a difference.
Using a technology installed in the car, Driving Change, the world’s first Internet-based vehicular greenhouse gas tracking system, identified driving habits that caused higher carbon emissions. Then it sent reports on a car’s emissions to the driver’s computer.
The program began in March 2008, and included 120 city vehicles and 240 citizen cars. By its conclusion, the experiment showed that driver education works.
As the participants learned the program’s goals and tracked their results, they were more likely to turn their vehicles off. Engine idling decreased by more than 35% among participating vehicles, according to a follow up analysis. And idling less, obviously meant fewer carbon emissions.
The program carries lessons for all of us: Excessive idling, as well as driving aggressively (hard braking and fast starts) lowers gas mileage and raises carbon emissions.
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