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bennelson 09-02-2008 10:06 AM

Wisconsin Conservation Driver license plates
Hey Everyone.

I know somebody who is working hard to get a new set of automobile license plates in Wisconsin.

These would be "Conservative Driver" plates and would help encourage people to slow down and save gas.

As part of the program would also be a "pledge card" and come other relevant materials.

Here is part of the most recent e-mail from Ruth, who is spearheading this effort.

Attached is the most recent version of the Wisconsin Driver Pledge Card. If you have any time to look at it (not likely!) or inclination (that's what I'm hoping for!) please send me any comments. (I got most of the pledge card ideas off the web sites you gave me!)

I just heard that the State Climate Change license plate didn't make the final cut for inclusion in the DNR's 2009 budget going up to the Governor. They liked the project, some a lot, but I gather it was not seen as bringing in much funding. And, too, it was likely that some of the people who currently buy the DNR's Endangered Species license plate would switch to the Climate Change license plate (with a resulting loss in $ for this area). I think this is likely true

Still I think so many more people would buy a Climate Change license plate that in the big picture, more would be accomplished (conservation driving habitats) for protection of all wildlife.

Paul H gave me some suggestions as to where to go with the license plate/project idea - which I'm going to follow up on. Do you have any suggestions? It's in my bones that I believe that this idea/project has real legs.

Also, attached another copy of the Wisconsin Climate Change Project proposal.

Regards and see you soon!
Ruth J"

Here is a text version of what she has going for the "pledge card".

“Wisconsin Conservation Driver
Curbing Climate Change”

Personal Driving

I ___________________ promise to do the following actions. ___________Date.

Label the actions from 1 to 10 - with #1 being the action you’re most committed to, and #10 being the one that’s hardest to do. Underline 5 actions that you will do regularly.


____ Drive at the speed limit or lower, consistent with safety.
(Slowing down just 10 mph can save 15% on fuel)

____ Check and maintain the correct air pressure in my tires.
(Under- inflated tires increase rolling resistance; making the engine work harder)

____ Turn off my car/truck when I’m idling more than briefly. Ex: Fast food restaurant; stuck in traffic, train crossings, etc.
(Excessive idling and long car warm ups, wastes gasoline. Idling engines get zero mph!)

____ No jack rabbit starts or stops.
(Aggressive/fast starts and stops consume more gasoline. Smooth/steady driving is most fuel efficient)

____ Plan my trips to avoid stop signs/traffic lights.
(Create the most efficient ideal smooth/steady driving trip)

____ Car pool or take public transit, whenever possible.
(A big savings of gasoline!)

____ Bicycle or walk whenever, where ever possible.
(No gasoline used; protect the environment and builds the body!)

____ Keep the weight load inside my car as low as possible.
(Take out trunk and car dead weight; weighing less decreases fuel consumption)

____ Ease up on the air conditioner; park in the shade.
(AC use increases fuel consumption; Tree shade cools the car and helps save gasoline)

____ Check and regularly replace the air filter – especially on long trips.
(Dirty air filters cause the engine to use more fuel)

And here is the actual proposal for the whole program

SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Ruth Johnson
N 5117 Butternut Ct
Juneau, Wis. 53039
920 349 3055
Town and Country RCD - Home Page
State, National, International
“Wisconsin Conservation Driver”
‘Curbing Climate Change’
Special Vehicular License Plate and Bumper Sticker/Decal Program

GOAL To have in the world, where motor vehicles are licensed, a program where people can purchase special, voluntary “Take Action for Climate Change” vehicular license plate and/or bumper/decal/antenna pennant.
* 1st in Wisconsin, as the leader of the initiative,
* 2nd, other USA states,
* 3rd, other nations with vehicular licensing programs.

WHAT State Operated - Special Climate Change License Plate Program and
Non-Profit Organization(s)Operated - Vehicular Pennant/Bumper Stickers Program
License Plate Program: with the logo/motto of “CONSERVATION DRIVER: CURBING CLIMATE CHANGE” – Protecting earth, people, and wildlife.
Antenna ‘Flag’: ‘ Flying the Flag for Climate Change.’
Bumper Sticker/decal/window gell. Comparable logo/message.
Included with the special license plate purchase and/or with Pennant/Bumper Sticker/Decal:
* Pledge Card with 10 change actions listed. Examples include: Driving the speed limit or lower; no jack rabbit starts/stops; keep tires fully pressurized; regular vehicle tune ups; systemize rides for chores; car pool; buy a hybrid car; and so on.
On Pledge Card, each person/household commits to doing driving related actions:
4 actions routinely,
4 actions occasionally and
will try to achieve the others
(Note: Getting people to personally commit to an action, significantly increases the actual behavioral changes made.

WHY DO THIS “To help motivate others by displaying a personal, mobile, ‘sign of commitment’ to Curbing Climate Change.” Much more needs to be done by everyone as climate scientists are expressing growing and deepening concern about what’s happening with our climate and the consequences for humans, plants, wildlife, our waters, and life as we know it.

BENEFITS Potential Multiple Quantitative and Qualitative Benefits
Visible, mobile commitment to Climate Change – potentially, every vehicle, every day, everywhere.
Saving of gasoline/diesel supplies, reduced purchase of foreign oil. Quantifiable results.
Quantifiable reduction of air, stormwater and groundwater pollution. Locally and world-wide.
Reduction in vehicle accidents: Lives and money saved. Most accidents related to speeding.
Being responsible for moral leadership in the world. Technologically advanced or advancing counties are creating Climate Change; we have the responsibility to lead curbing of it.
It’s voluntary and a personal commitment by people.
Creates a new funding source for states/countries for additional energy efficient projects for people.
Setting the psychological and spiritual stage of committed action by people to Curb Climate Change. This could have significant spill over effects in other behavior.
Powerful Change in Individual Mind Set. I and we are not powerless.
Pretty easy and economical to accomplish. Builds on existing vehicular licensing programs.
Vehicular pennants/bumper stickers easily and quite economically producible.

FUNDING Costs to do the license plate program by a state. Likely fairly economical as states and countries with vehicles have vehicle license plate systems. Many states have special commemorative license plate programs and/or operate their own special license plate programs. Ex: Wis. Endangered Species License Plate.
Costs to do the bumper sticker/decal program by non-profit organization(s). Likely reasonably economical as it’s primarily program promotion/organization and bumper stickers/decals sales, except potentially for managing the pledge card aspect.
Monies brought in by program.
New State revenue source via sales of special Climate Change license plates. The monies could be potentially spent on state energy efficiency programs. Ex: Energizing homes for low income people, helping purchasing more energy efficient household furnaces, water heaters, and/or mass transit, etc.
Non-profit organizational revenues via pennant/bumper sticker/etc sales. Related program activities.

WHEN TCRCD will be kicking off the bumper/decal/pledge card component of this program at its September 11/12, 2008 Conference in Oconomowoc, Wis “Going Green: Sustainable Communities and Farms”

I know that's a lot of text to read through. Hope it's formatted ok to read!

What are your thoughts and comments on this? How could we improve it? What would be the best way to improve the odds of getting this program turned into an actual license plate?

All comments welcome!


FunkSkunk 09-02-2008 10:17 AM

Sounds great except for the No Idling part, I know that is one of our little tricks. But that has a lot of "what-if's..." attached to it. For example, what if it doesn't start back up at a stop light causing even more traffic problems, what if I have an ambulance coming up from behind and I can't get it to start, what if the car takes to long to start and move out of impending doom ___ (insert anything dangerous here), What if I forget to start it before the light turns, holding up other drives aka burning fuel while waiting on me to get moving, etc. I just think that one part is going to give you some problems getting this initiative passed. I know you didn't say traffic lights in your proposal but this could be a problem.

Tango Charlie 09-02-2008 10:56 AM

Overall: :thumbup::):thumbup::):cool:

I don't think traffic lights are considered 'idling more than briefly'; which is why it's not listed with 'fast food restaurant; stuck in traffic, train crossings'. I've always heard that two minutes is the cutoff: less that 2, let it idle. More than 2, shut 'er down. This may be an oversimplification.
The reliability of today's fuel injected/computer controlled cars make the imagined difficulty of restarting a moot point.

One little typo; "Idling engines get zero mph!", should be "..get zero mpg!"

How can we get more states (like Indiana) to consider this?

bennelson 09-02-2008 12:55 PM

Well, when you are idling, you ARE getting no speed! Thus no MPH!:thumbup:

Yep, just a typo there.

I think the best thing to do on the "idling" bit on the pledge card may be just to remove the examples.

If people turn off the engine when idling more than briefly, it is their opinion of what breifly is. For some people, it may mean while at a traffic light. For other people, it may mean having the car run while parked in the driveway, to run inside the house and get something you forgot.

If the examples are eliminated, wouldn't it leave "briefly" up to the mind of the driver?

We would still be saving fuel no matter what "briefly" is defined as.

Bicycle Bob 09-02-2008 01:49 PM

When you use the starter, the engine gets a shot of rich mixture. Hypermilers who coast to a stop will re-start the engine with the clutch and idle for several seconds to avoid that. It takes good instrumentation to find out the optimum time on a given vehicle.

modmonster 09-02-2008 08:54 PM

so what is the switch off point -2 minutes?

i usually switch off at lights even if its 2 seconds! is this wasteful?

Bicycle Bob 09-02-2008 09:19 PM

I'd guess that unless a car is designed to switch itself on and off, it should not be switched off for less than between ten and thirty seconds, depending on the model. There's starter maintenance to consider, too. Driving around to get parts can eat up a lot of saved droplets.

RH77 09-02-2008 11:23 PM


Originally Posted by Bicycle Bob (Post 58269)
I'd guess that unless a car is designed to switch itself on and off, it should not be switched off for less than between ten and thirty seconds, depending on the model. There's starter maintenance to consider, too. Driving around to get parts can eat up a lot of saved droplets.

Find out how long it takes to recover from "open-loop" on re-start. I use the 10-second rule for newer fuel-injected vehicles (without fancy idle-emission controls). I let the TSX idle for a 20-second target because the variable cam timing reduces idle emissions and fuel consumption when stopped (no EGR system).

Back to the topic...

Awesome! Great plate. Great idea. Of all of the ridiculous plate varieties I've seen in many states, this one actually has some merit.


toyobug 09-03-2008 04:38 AM

"Awesome! Great plate. Great idea. Of all of the ridiculous plate varieties I've seen in many states, this one actually has some merit." RH77

I agree with RH77. I would like to see all states adopt a policy similar to this.
Ben-please keep us updated.

ATaylorRacing 09-04-2008 09:36 AM

Here in Indiana they have conservation plates that cost $40 extra and the money goes toward wildlife and other areas.....usually found on big SUVs so that they "feel" like they have helped somehow.

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