Eco Driving With An iPhone Glass Of Water

Car maker Toyota has produced a free app for the iPhone called A Glass of Water to help you drive in a more environmentally friendly manner.

The idea comes from the suggestion that if everyone drove with a glass of water on their dashboard and drove like they didn’t want to spill a drop then fuel consumption would go down 10%.

The app records your driving distance, time, fuel consumption and amount of ‘water’ spilled. After each journey you can go on the website which analyses your drive and makes suggestions on how you can reduce your power consumption. And you can compete with your friends too.

Check out the website here.

A Glass of Water

Spotted via Springwise.


Green Tuning Business Makes Your Car “Greener”

Green Garage is a company that specializes in “green-tuning”. This is tuning cars to “run cleaner, greener and cheaper through sustainable, energy-saving automotive maintenance and repair products”.

The company is based in Colorado but comes to your home rather than requiring you to go to a garage. ins by bringing the garage to the customer’s front door with a valet service whereby it picks up a client’s car, green-tunes it and then drops it off again.

For corporate clients, Green Garage’s Corporate Mobile Service Truck pulls into business parking lots with its mobile lift and is able to service many cars throughout the day. Either way, Green Garage’s “Carhugger” technicians use auto parts that save money by improving fuel efficiency and by reducing the frequency of services. Included in the garage’s services are an “Energy Intervention,” including preliminary diagnostics to see how to get the best out of the engine, as well as a 53-Point Systems Inspection that proactively identifies any preventive issues that may require maintenance.

You can read more about their eco-responsible setup here and they apparently have a line of over 60 sustainable products, chosen for their superior performance at solid waste reduction, CO2 emission, toxicity, water conservation, use of natural resources and social impact; included among them are non-leaded wheel weights and bio-diesel engine conversions, for example.

An interesting idea.

[Via: Springwise]

Getting Green With Transport

In the US, possibly more than in any other country, we love our cars. The space between places means that we rely upon driving to get us from one place to another and it’s difficult to find alternative modes of transport for when time is short and distances are long!

Obviously, choosing to travel on foot or by bicycle is a great way to reduce your individual impact on the environment. The thing is, we’re not in to preaching and understand you can’t simply stop using your car. Trains and other public transport are great, but they’re not always convenient, especially if you have a family with children and don’t want to be tied down to specific times.

Whether we like it or not, cars are here to stay. Even if you are a dedicated car driver, there are a number of ways to reduce your carbon emissions and make your transportation a bit greener. As with any environmental action, taking control of our individual impact on the world around us can make a huge difference.


Do you have to drive?

 Before getting in your car, consider whether you could reach your destination by another means. Walking regularly can reduce your risk of heart problems and other illnesses, as well as making you fitter. Identify your most common destinations, and investigate whether you could get there by bus, train, bike, or walking. A study carried out found that on average, people overestimate the time that journeys by public transport will take by more than 80% and underestimate the time that car journeys will take by 18%. Is it really quicker to drive? Travel to work or school by public transport, walking, or cycling once a week. You might find that you enjoy it!

How to cut emissions when using your car

The following tips have been pulled together to give you an overview of how to be more green about your transport, so you can arrive at your destination feeling a bit smug about how you got there…

Investigate the possibility of car sharing. You can register for car-sharing by going online and seeking out other people who regularly go to the same destination as you. By sharing with just one other person, you could half your costs of driving.

When you’re driving, get rid of any surplus weight, such as roof bars or bike racks. This makes your journey a little cheaper and also cuts down on emissions by losing the excess weight your car has to pull along.

Use air conditioning carefully, as this increases fuel consumption by 15% – by cutting it down where you can and opening the windows, you cut fuel costs and assist to reduce your emissions. When you are driving, try to change into a higher gear as soon as possible, to reduce the impact on your engine and cut costs. Accelerate and brake as slowly and smoothly as possible, so that you use less fuel and drive with awareness of the environment.

If you drive at slower speeds, you can reduce your emissions significantly. Obviously, the faster you go, the more gas you use!

Have your car serviced regularly – an incorrectly adjusted carburetor can waste up to 25% of fuel. Incorrect tyre pressure can increase fuel consumption too. Switch off your engine at short stops when you are idling for more than a minute, to save on fuel costs.

All these things can support you to make your mark on environmental change and get you to make a real difference on a personal level when considering your impact on the environment. If each one of us makes these small changes, imagine the collective impact we could have on reaching our targets!

Canadians Get Eco License Plates

News comes in via Springwise that Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation aims to recognise drivers of green vehicles with their own special license/registration/number plate – whatever you want to call it.

The aim for ministers in the Canadian province is to have one out of every 20 cars powered by electricity by 2020 – and this idea is a way of encouraging motorists to switch. The green plates are just part of a number of incentives such as rebates but the plates are more than just status symbols. They will (for the next five years at least) give the drivers the right to drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, even if there’s only one person in them. Also they’ll give them access to recharging facilities and access to special parking places at businesses, and public buildings.

The plate (pictured) will have green lettering on a white background with the picture of a trillium in the middle. It was selected from four choices in an online vote that ran from July to October.

Green plate

Turning Trash Into Gas

Or “Turning Rubbish Into Petrol” for those in the UK. Recently, Coskata Inc., a leading developer of alternative bio-fuels, announced the successful start-up of its semi-commercial flex-ethanol facility.

Unlike other technologies and facilities that often rely on one primary source of feedstock, the company’s flex ethanol facility will be producing ethanol from numerous sources, including wood biomass, agricultural waste, construction waste and even household garbage. In addition, their patented microorganisms and bioreactor designs will produce ethanol for the same as, and in some cases less than, the cost of producing a gallon of gasoline. This new technology also reduces CO2 emissions up to 96 percent compared to gasoline.

Flex Fuel vehicles that can run on gas, E85 or a combination of both, are already available from Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and GMC. GM has built 5 million of these vehicles to date, watch the video below to learn more.

Really Smart Driving

smart has unveiled a new green driving initiative called ‘smart eco driving’. Developed alongside the launch of the smart fortwo cdi, apparently the lowest CO2 emitting car in production, the initiative builds on smart’s green driving credentials and teaches motorists how to drive in the greenest and most economical way.

The initiative is designed to encourage all drivers to adopt smarter driving techniques to enable them to save money and cut back on CO2 emissions via a smart tutorial. Green driving courses will also be available from Mercedes-Benz World later this year. Motorists will be able to book a theory lesson to learn tips on how to effectively reduce both fuel consumption and emissions, as well as practical tuition with a professional eco-driving instructor where the techniques can be put into practice.

Watch the top 10 smart eco driving tips below (click here if you can’t see the video).

Additional smart driving tips include:

-Reduce driving speeds by 10mph where safe to – higher speeds use more fuel
– Regularly check tyre pressure – under-inflated tyres use more fuel and need replacing more regularly
– Air conditioning uses fuel so turn it off and open the window a fraction – ideally no more than 10% as full open windows can create drag
– Turn the engine off if stationary for more than 10 seconds – smart’s mhd system does this automatically
– Cruise control can help minimise inadvertent variations in throttle
– Reduce loads – clear the boot of unnecessary junk
– Regularly check air and fuel filters, as well as spark plugs – clogged filters can reduce efficiency
– Roof racks increase drag – take them off when not in use
– Use the MPG indicator (trip computer) so you’re always aware of how much fuel has been used
– Plan journeys well in advance and try to avoid times that will be congested

American Idol Fusion

This is a guest post by Ron Doren, Editor of The Drivers, an awesome car review and comparison site.

For the past several seasons, Ford has been one of the biggest sponsors for American Idol and despite tough times, 2009 is no exception. My day began driving to Hollywood to experience the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Just a green day all around. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the fine people at Ford who were eager to show off their redesigned Fusion.

The overview was informative and we learned a lot more about this mid-size GREEN sedan like its class-leading 41MPG and that the Fusion is capable of running in EV or all-electric mode for speeds up to 47MPH. Ford also had Fusion Hybrid that was loaded with decals highlighting its achievement for traveling over 1,400 miles on one 17.5 gallon tank which is a new record. Of course that was done by some hypermile experts, but they did offer 10 tips for the rest of us who want to drive greener.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Slow down and watch speed
Accelerate and brake smoothly
No idling
Check your tires
Be kind to your vehicle
Travel light
Minimize use of heater and air conditioning
Close windows at high speeds
Choose the right oil
Consolidate trips
Numbers are impressive, but it was now time to put the Fusion to the test via a mileage competition among auto journalists.

I had the more challenging part of the drive, taking the Fusion up through the Hollywood hills. Plenty of torque on tap, but the key was to use as little fuel as possible despite the challenging terrain. When I handed the Hybrid Ford to my co-pilot, the average MPGs was at 20.6. Not great, but considering the roads, very good, especially by non-Hybrid standards. My partner had the freeway drive as well as some downhill coasting opportunities to help us achieve a competition-winning average of 36.5 MPG! Not bad when you consider the size of the Fusion. That’s the same fuel economy I’ve been achieving with the Honda Insight!

Ford has come a long way and I have to admit, the 2010 refresh was more than just cosmetic. The Fusion drives better, looks better, and has been improved significantly on the inside thanks to better materials and better gauges. And of course we can’t leave out the Microsoft Sync system which is truly one of the best on the market.

The primary competitors for the Fusion Hybrid are the Camry Hybrid and Altima Hybrid. I’ve driven both of these cars and can honestly say that this Fusion Hybrid is just better. Looks better, drives better, and better interior. And best of all, it’s priced better.

One final word on the Fusion and American Idol. Ford made it clear that although the show is about young people, it actually appeals to a broad audience and therefore the Fusion makes sense. That may be the case, and I’m sure Ford gets a good return on their investment or the partnership would have been canceled quicker than a show on TBS, but I for one can’t wait until next year when the Ford Fiesta arrives. I drove it and it’s awesome. It will help on so many levels. First, it will give Ford its first legitimate compact car in America….EVER. Second, it will draw young buyers into Ford dealerships. And third it will prove that America can build a quality compact car that can compete with Honda and Toyota. I just wish the Fiesta was here today!

Posted by Ron Doren, Editor of The Drivers