Ford Tests Improve Gas Mileage 24% with EcoDriving

by Benjamin Jones on August 27, 2008

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.

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1 inyearstocome August 28, 2008 at 11:09 am

Steps 1 and 2 are complete BS in practicality. Driving 55 is a nuisance to everybody on the highway as it increases the speed differential between max and min drivers making accidents FAR more likely. Furthermore, accelerating slowly can increase traffic, requiring others to brake more– you might save a little on gas, but others will not.

Keep your car in good shape and drive SMART, not slow. Everyone should be going 70-75 on the highway.

2 Tony August 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Driving at 55… Not all cars are created equal. I will increase my mileage by drving at 55. My AFR hits the sweet spot at 78mph. This is different for all cars.

3 Todd December 25, 2008 at 10:21 am

Tips 1 & 2 are not BS at all.

There’s not doubt that lowering speeds will reduce fuel consumption. While not suggesting one reduce their speed in high rate traffic flow, you can achieve much the same results even at 65mph which is what this test was run at much of the time on I-10. Not holding up traffic by being a hazard.

Tip 2 is very practical but extremely hard to get past a mindset that is our “go-go” society. Much of the instructors understand this very well with a racing background that promotes such things without the term Eco applied to it. Changing tire direction increases tire friction, hard stops are not gas consumers but the longer application before braking burns fuel wastefully, and rapid acceleration applies more fuel than is necessary to move the vehicle. Fuel limits, rolling resistance, and wear/tear are an underlying art in Motor Racing too, most people just don’t equate this as part of racing. Next time your favorite driver is thinking of squeaking one more lap from the tank before his pit stop…let me tell you; there are a lot of Eco tips being used there.

Lastly, the format is as much mental it is physical. Sure I can tell you these things but putting them to use will be harder to do than you think unless you wrap your mind around it. My personal gains if 10-15% in a Titan truck are proof enough to support what I teach.

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