Recent article from Newspaper
Driving: 'Oh behave'
Your habits behind the wheel can help your gas economy
Special to the Times
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Today the province introduces its new carbon tax - about 2.4 cents a litre this year, increasing on July 1 in future years - to encourage British Columbians to change their gas consumption patterns.
The added cost will be offset by a $100 per person 'climate action dividend,' and via cuts to corporate and personal income tax, Victoria promises.
'Hypermiler' and fuel analyst Keith Hebert says if we pay attention to our driving, we will be able to shave more dollars off our gas bills.
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When it comes right down to it, fuel analyst and smartcar enthusiast Keith Hebert's best advice on how to achieve better fuel economy is pretty straightforward.
"Get a better pair of shoes. That's it right there, man. That and your ego," he said.
But this doesn't mean Hebert is out of touch with the crisis many businesses face as fuel costs continue to soar.
As the fuel analyst for Coastal Pacific Xpress, [CPX] a large trucking company based in Cloverdale that is now spending almost a million dollars per week on fuel, his job is to get the most out of every litre the company buys.
Hebert stresses that the key to getting the best fuel economy out of your vehicle is the same for a big rig as it is for a mommy van: driver behaviour.
"Be it a truck or be it a car," he said, "that's your first line of defence."
That's why at CPX drivers are rated every two weeks according to their driving performance.
Data is taken from their trucks' computers and their score, based on rpm [revolutions per minute], speed and idling, determines their ranking, which is posted at work and affects the drivers' monthly bonus.
"A driver doesn't want to be the one guy on the list with the highest score," said Hebert, "and he doesn't want to lose his bonus."
Hebert's job at CPX was somewhat self-created.
He had been working in dispatch and around the warehouse when fuel prices began to skyrocket last year. The CPX management approached him because they knew he was interested in fuel economy and sustainability issues.
"It was clear . . . we needed full-time commitment to managing all aspects related to fuel consumption," said Hebert, "so they said 'well, here's your new job.' "
Hebert's interest in fuel economy was really sparked in 2004 when he bought his first smartcar, a tiny, highly fuel-efficient diesel commuter designed by Mercedes-Benz.
Right around that time, the federal government issued its One-Tonne Challenge to reduce CO2 emissions, and Hebert, with help from the City of Abbotsford, had his car wrapped in advertisements to promote the challenge.
He then took the whole thing one step further by driving across Canada to Labrador and back.
Although he calls himself only a "moderate" hyper-miler - referring to those drivers whose goal it is to eke better mileage out of their vehicles than they are rated for - Hebert has accumulated a lot of insight for those looking to improve their fuel economy.
His first bit of advice for those driving newer models is to get a scan gauge that provides a continual reading of gas consumption as you drive, so adjustments can be made.
Hebert's advice also includes a warning against those who have already begun to prey on our desperation.
"Here's one thing that doesn't work," he says.
"There are no silver bullets that you can just drop in your fuel tank. There's no magic additive, or gizmo you can put in your air intake."
As the fuel analyst of a company spending almost a million dollars a week on fuel, you'd better believe Hebert would be the first to use one if there was.
- Get more of Hebert's gas saving tips at his website, http://www.100mpg.ca
BE A CARBON-SMART DRIVER:
Fuel-saving fanatic Keith Hebert reports he can sip 2.37 L/100 km., or get 119 miles per Imperial gallon, in his smartfortwo car.
Here are some of his tips:
- Use a Scangauge or something like it - it's a fuel economy computer that plugs into the OBDII socket on most 1996+ cars and shows how much gas you use as you drive.
- Watch your speed - the faster you go, the faster the rate of gas consumption
- Don't idle. Turn off ignition for trains and really long lights, and avoid drive-thru lineups
- Keep tires inflated at the correct pressure
- Keep your vehicle tuned and in good repair, and the oil clean
- Keep track of your fuel usage on a notepad in your vehicle
- Avoid the habit of accelerating and braking by anticipating lights and stops
- Don't make jackrabbit starts
source - link may become invalid at some point