Encouraging ecodriving

Short summary of a paper presented at International Energy Agency in Paris 10-11th May 2016, on Ireland’s experience with ecodriving: by Conor Molloy CMILT, MSc Energy, CEM, CMVP, REA.

Driving style can account for 30% difference in vehicle fuel performance

Source UMTRI and other studies, as well as fleet measurement experiences in Ireland 2006-2016.


An Immediate win for the driver and the planet: ecodriving is about driving in a style suited to modern vehicle & engine technology (post 2003). It comprises smart, smooth and safe driving techniques that can lead to sustained fuel savings of 5-10%. It is not ‘hypermiling’ or extreme fuel saving behaviour, safety always comes first. Ecodriving comprises 5 Golden Rules

  • Anticipate traffic flow
    • Look ahead as far as possible and anticipate surrounding traffic
  • Maintain a steady speed at low rpm
    • Drive smoothly, using the highest possible gear at low RPM
  • Shift up early
    • Shift up between 1,500 (diesel) and 2,000 (petrol/gas) revolutions
  • Check tyre pressures frequently
    • At least once a month and before driving at high speed
  • Consider any extra energy
    • Take-off roof racks/boxes, air conditioning, loads

Source: EU Ecodriven project 2005-2012

Does ecodriving deliver?

You can see dramatic savings under controlled conditions i.e. when training. This example from a consistent 20km route, urban & dual carriageway in Dublin, measured at forecourt pumps:

Without feedback: 80+% of the training benefits i.e. the fuel savings, are lost within 6 months. It is critical for business to implement a structured approach to fuel management before training.

Whomever you choose to deliver your training, it should feature

  • Measurement of fuel & activity first, develop the feedback tools for drivers
  • One-on-one training for Drivers in their regular vehicle on-road
  • Written Training fuel savings results and records signed by the driver

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.“ – Pearson’s law

ISO50001 to sustain savings

As mentioned, training alone is not the answer, to maintain and sustain fuel savings, you need a structured approach: The global standard for Energy Performance Management is ISO50001.

One of the first companies in the world to achieve ISO50001 certification was Matthews Coaches back in 2011, they kindly share their fuel results below (passenger numbers excluded).

50001 can sustain savings from ecodriving training
50001 can sustain savings from ecodriving training

Today in 2016, several road and rail transport operators in Ireland have achieved ISO50001 certification and further large road fleets will be certified this year.


Adopt a structured approach first; build trust and accuracy into your fuel performance figures with regular management reviews: then implement ecodriving.

Aside from our own ECOfleet™ and ECOdrive programmes, see also the FTAI ecodriving course and its Bronze, Silver and Gold accreditation programme for a structured approach to fuel management.

To avail of funding, your project must measure performance before, during training and for at least 12 months afterwards; the majority of our clients are committed to measuring and reporting to at least 2020.

Conor Molloy is an independent energy advisor and trainer with an MSc in Energy Management and Renewable energy from University of Ulster, he is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Measurement & Verification professional (CMVP) and a trainer for ISO50001. He is a registered lead ESOS assessor (UK) and registered energy auditor (Ireland).

Contact Conor at www.aems.ie or follow him on Twitter @conormolloy