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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ford Tests Improve Gas Mileage 24% with EcoDriving

by Benjamin Jones

Ford is really throwing down the guantlet by showing how dedicated it is to the new EcoDriving initiative we talked about the other day. I really liked it because it validates a lot of what we’re trying to do on the forums in terms of improving fuel economy on an individual level, but also showed that automakers were willing to commit (at least in name) to supporting fuel efficient driving. However, it seems Ford has really stepped up to the plate by offering ecodriving lessons over the course of several days to see how effective it really is.

Ford takes on ecodriving

Recently, Ford and a group called Pro Formance decided to take on ecodriving in the form of a 4-day long seminar with 48 different drivers taking part. Using the ecodriving tips taught by Pro Formance, the participants increased their fuel economy between 6-50%, with and average increase of 24%.

With the gas crunch hitting people hard, it’s good to see a company like Ford stepping up and showing consumers that there’s more than just air up your tires and cleaning out the trunk. Here’s their take on ecodriving:

“By working with Pro Formance to conduct validation testing, Ford is proving that eco-driving techniques are teachable and work across a broad spectrum of vehicles and drivers,” said Drew DeGrassi, president and CEO of Pro Formance Group. “It’s a great initiative for Ford to lead in this country. It’s not the end-all solution for America to obtain energy independence, but it is an important part of it.”

I would love to see what the training program is like, but for the rest of us Ford give us 10 ecodriving tips. Sure, they pale in comparison to EcoModder’s ecodriving tips list, but most drivers aren’t interested in getting really involved, and Ford’s hands-on approach is a good way to get results without asking too much of people.

Evidently they have been doing this since the 1990s in Germany, where gas mileage has been an issue for longer than it has in the US. Hopefully, this will encourage other manufacturers to bring their most efficient vehicles and programs to a ready-and-willing US market.