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A 15-Minute Driving Lesson Can Help Reduce Climate Emissions by Up to 15%

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Neste teamed up with a Finnish driving school to research the impacts of driving instructions and styles on climate emissions

A 15-Minute Driving Lesson Can Help Reduce Climate Emissions by Up to 15%

Neste teamed up with a driving school in Finland to study the impact of driving style and instruction on climate emissions. Now, with their learnings in hand, they have set out to challenge driving schools worldwide to make climate-friendly driving an essential part of their standard curriculum.

Neste and Ajotunti.fi analysed driving school students in the Spring of 2022. Their analysis showed that operating in a more climate-friendly way can reduce emissions and fuel consumption by as much as 6–15%. And, that acquiring the skills necessary takes just 15 minutes of driving instruction. 

"Solutions for emissions reduction have included lower-emission fuels and redesigned vehicles, but we need more. Our study proved the impact of simple driving lessons on emissions which created a stimulus for making climate-friendly driving a more important, perhaps even required, part of learning to drive in Finland and abroad. If the generation of young people participating in drivers' education received the same guidance, the full impact on the future driving culture would be massive," says Mika Hyötyläinen, vice president, marketing communications, data and digital, marketing and services at Neste. 

According to the survey, Finns aged 25–34 years and 55–64 identify themselves as the most climate-friendly drivers but the desire to save on fuel costs is the main reason for driving in a climate-friendly way (67%). In contrast, 72% of the 18 to 24-year-olds said that the desire to reduce emissions and protect nature was their primary motivator for climate-friendly driving. 

"There is a significant chasm between age groups in terms of their awareness and understanding of the impact of climate-friendly driving. Many people make a conscious effort to drive in a more climate-friendly way, but we still need to raise awareness of the specific impact of driving style on emissions and integrate this knowledge into practical instruction. One concrete way is to introduce an instruction module on climate-friendlier driving in driver's education. We believe that the impact of this instruction on already conscientious young drivers would have a significant impact in the long term," says Mika. 

The test drives by Neste and Ajotunti.fi were conducted in Helsinki, Finland, between May and June 2022. The route was eight kilometres long and included driving both in the city and on the motorway. The test drive lasted for two hours. 

"During the first run, the driver drove in their usual style without any instruction. We noted the consumption impact. Then we showed the drivers what they needed to fix to produce lower emissions. We then drove the same route again and compared the results. The test results showed a 6–15% reduction in emissions. What we learned from the test drives resulted in minor changes, but their effect was monumental" says Kristiina Anunti, driving instructor at Ajotunti.fi. 

"Driving schools use the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom's guidelines as a basis for their instruction plans, but currently, the time available for climate-friendly driving in many driving schools is not enough to cover the topic to the extent it deserves. Nevertheless, the preparation of instructional materials, as well as concrete tips and their testing during this pilot alone, produced excellent results. It would be great to see climate-friendly driving being given greater emphasis in future legislation and guidelines," Kristiina continues. 

According to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, paying attention to climate-friendly driving is essential. 

“Everyone can make an impact on the environment through simple actions. The necessary changes can be minimal but still have a significant impact on you and your emissions. Climate-friendly driving is easy and does not cost you anything. It uses the principles of economical driving, which can be learned with a little practice and reduces emissions and fuel costs," says Marjo Immonen, Special Adviser at Traficom. 

Even the route choice matters 

The impact of the driving style and route choice on emissions and fuel consumption has been studied before by VTT and Neste. In spring 2020, Neste and HERE Technologies, and PTV Group studied the impact of route choice on road transport emissions. In Finland, tests have shown that selecting a more climate-friendly route can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 6% compared to the fastest way most recommended by GPS navigation apps. 

"VTT is participating in the EU-funded MODALES project. The results of its first phase showed that there could be significant differences between drivers in terms of both CO2 and local emissions. On average, the impact of drivers on CO2 emissions varied by as much as 26% depending on the vehicles used. Typically, a strong correlation was found between CO2 and local emissions, with drivers consuming less fuel simultaneously producing fewer exhaust emissions harmful to the surrounding environment," says Rasmus Pettinen, senior scientist at VTT.

Read more * The Neste survey was conducted as a nationwide consumer panel via IRO Research Oy'sOy's Tuhat suomalaista ("One thousand Finns"") survey between 11 and 23 May 2022. 1,000 Finnish consumers nationwide answered the survey. 

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hasan & partners, Fri, 02 Sep 2022 14:36:28 GMT