Ecodriving and Carbon Footprinting: Understanding How Public Education Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use


Title: Ecodriving and Carbon Footprinting: Understanding How Public Education Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use

Publication Information: MTI Report 11-11, 2012

Author(s): Susan A. Shaheen, Ph.D., Elliot Martin, Ph.D., and Rachel Finson, M.A.

Document Date: April 23, 2012

Number of Pages: 184

Abstract: Ecodriving is a collection of changes to driving behavior and vehicle maintenance designed to impact fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in existing vehicles. Because of its promise to improve fuel economy within the existing fleet, ecodriving has gained increased attention in North America. One strategy to improve ecodriving is through public education with information on how to ecodrive. This report provides a review and study of ecodriving from several angles. The report offers a literature review of previous work and programs in ecodriving across the world. In addition, researchers completed interviews with experts in the field of public relations and public message campaigns to ascertain best practices for public campaigns. Further, the study also completed a set of focus groups evaluating consumer response to a series of websites that displayed ecodriving information. Finally, researchers conducted a set of surveys, including a controlled stated-response study conducted with approximately 100 University of California, Berkeley faculty, staff, and students, assessing the effectiveness of static ecodriving web-based information as well as an intercept clipboard survey in the San Francisco Bay Area. The stated-response study consisted of a comparison of the experimental and control groups. It found that exposure to ecodriving information influenced people's driving behavior and some maintenance practices. The experimental group's distributional shift was statistically significant, particularly for key practices including: lower highway cruising speed, driving behavior adjustment, and proper tire inflation. Within the experimental group (N = 51), fewer respondents significantly changed their maintenance practices (16%) than the majority that altered some driving practices (71%). This suggests intentionally altering driving behavior is easier than planning better maintenance practices. While it was evident that not everyone modifies their behavior as a result of reviewing the ecodriving website, even small shifts in behavior due to inexpensive information dissemination could be deemed cost effective in reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Key Words: ecodriving,public education,fuel consumption, greenhouse gases, GHG emissions, carbon footprinting


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