Brits to Start Testing ‘Eco-Driving’

While many of us sweated the parallel parking part of the driving test when we were 16, the British will add another feature to their testing of new drivers in 2008: their ability to drive in a manner that conserves fuel. From The Observer:

Learner drivers will be taught tips such as accelerating and braking less strongly and changing gears sooner and be assessed on their abilities as part of the practical exam.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, said candidates would not pass or fail on eco-driving, but wanted it ‘to become as much a part of learning to drive as the three-point turn or checking your mirrors. Small changes like this can make a big difference to the effect drivers have on the environment.’

The government move follows similar initiatives in other countries, including the Netherlands, where the ‘New Driving’ programme estimates that drivers can cut fuel use by nearly a third. The development comes after ministers faced criticism for failing to meet carbon reduction targets, especially from road transport, because traffic is growing and modern family vehicles are as powerful as the 1960s Monte Carlo rally cars. New car efficiency ratings are also based on model driving, which most people do not practise, claim the Dutch scheme experts.

While eco-driving can be promoted on its environmental benefits, the test that seems to matter for most (at least in the Netherlands) is the hit to the wallet: “…researchers found the environment ‘gives people a good feeling, but it’s not an incentive for them to change their behaviour’.” The article also links to a quiz where you can test your eco-driving savvy… Via The Daily Grist.

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