A new survey claims that if all Shetland motorists switched to eco-driving habits they would save £1.7 million a year and 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the equivalent of one motorist driving from John O’ Groats to Inverness 120,000 times.
The survey of 1,000 Scots in 44 different locations was commissioned by independent environmental organisation the Energy Saving Trust and has been announced to coincide with the launch of a £1.5 million three-year campaign to encourage drivers to adopt eco-driving techniques.
Funded by the Scottish government, the Eco-drive Scotland campaign will target drivers through billboard and radio advertising. A website at www.ecodrivescotland.com has been set up and people can also call freephone 0800 512012 for free, local advice on eco-driving.
The campaign focuses on four key pieces of advice for motorists:
• Shift to as high a gear as possible: driving at lower engine speeds reduces fuel consumption: change up between 2,000 and 2,500rpm.
• Anticipate road conditions and drive more smoothly, rather than last minute braking, and decelerate smoothly by releasing the throttle as early as possible. This allows the car to decelerate using engine braking. With the car in gear and throttle release, a modern car uses virtually no fuel at all.
• Maintain a steady speed in as high a gear as possible: driving at a steady speed requires little effort for the engine. Avoiding unnecessary acceleration and heavy braking helps reduce fuel consumption.
• Drive a little slower than your normal speed: stick to the speed limits and make your fuel go further. For most cars the most efficient speed is between 45 and 50mph. Driving at 50mph rather than 70mph reduces your fuel consumption by 10 per cent at a stroke.
The full results of the poll can be viewed at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland