DENVER– Driving Change, a vehicular greenhouse gas (GHG) management and reduction pilot program, was just launched at an event led by Denver Mayor John W. Hickenlooper and Driving Change developers, stakeholders, and participants. In an effort to identify new ways for drivers to address GHG emissions stemming from vehicles, Driving Change measures the environmental impact of driving behavior.
Through the installation of accelerometers that connect to internal vehicle systems and the use of an Internet-based GHG management system, the Driving Change initiative allows for the real-time measurement of a number of driving behaviors, including idling, speeding, fast stops, and hard braking. Performance reports, viewable via the Internet, help to educate drivers on how their driving patterns can potentially impact their individual carbon footprint.
Mayor Hickenlooper will be joined by program participants from both the public and private sectors, including City of Denver employees, lead sponsor EnCana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc., Cartasite, provider of the automobile telemetry system, and Enviance, Inc., provider of the Internet-based GHG management technology. The event, held at Denver's City Park, featured a number of City of Denver fleet vehicles from Parks and Recreation and the Department of Environmental Health, as well as vehicles belonging to individual citizens involved in the pilot.
By May 2008, Driving Change expects to have a total of 400 private and public vehicles involved in the study. The goal of the pilot program is to determine if there is a direct, measurable, and positive correlation between driving behavior and CO2 emissions.
While the pilot program does not directly measure GHG emissions, it will attempt to reveal that driving style does have an impact on the environment. For example, idling (where a vehicle is running while parked), is believed to consume one cup of fuel every five minutes. The cumulative effect of idling is estimated to result in the burning of 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline, emitting 13 million tons of CO2. Rapid acceleration and hard braking can lower gas mileage by as much as 20 percent. The ability to measure and review idle time, rapid acceleration and hard braking is designed to help both individual and fleet drivers to see the impact of their behavior on the level of emissions for which they are responsible.
In Denver, where automobile emissions account for approximately 30 percent of GHG emissions, Denver Public Works has been a pioneer in the greening of its fleet since 1993 when the City created its Green Fleet program. Today, Denver’s fleet includes 144 hybrid-electric vehicles. In May of 2008, Denver will become one of the first cities in the nation to acquire a hybrid-hydraulic trash truck, which is expected to produce a 25 percent to 50 percent increase in miles per gallon achieved and reduce emissions. Denver is currently retrofitting on-road and off-road equipment with diesel oxidation catalysts and crank case ventilation systems to reduce emissions and clean the air in Denver neighborhoods. The City and County of Denver also utilizes alternative fuels and operates more than 800 units on B-20 biodiesel.
More information on the Driving Change pilot program is available at www.drivingchange.org.