A driver behavioural study into the benefits of eco-driver training, launched by the Energy Saving Trust in conjunction with Vertivia Mileage Management, is progressing well and throwing up some interesting results.
So says Vertivia sales director, Paul Chater, as the Energy Saving Trust field trials, which involve two fleets with a combined total of around 500 company cars and vans, reach an intermediate stage.
The full results of the study, which is being funded by the Department for Transport and is the first of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, will be made widely available this summer.
Drivers on both participating fleets are given Smarter Driving training with Energy Saving Trust trainers to show them how much fuel can be saved by driving more efficiently. They are then re-evaluated at a later period to see how much of their training they have remembered and whether it is still having an impact on their fuel economy.
Their results are measured against a control group which has no training of any kind and another group which has the initial training but no reminders or refresher training to see how the results compare.
The Energy Saving Trust has delivered Smarter Driving training sessions to business car and van drivers for the last five years, with participants achieving an average 15% improvement in fuel consumption immediately after training. But little follow-up research of this kind has been undertaken to measure the long-term effectiveness of eco-driver training on reducing fuel consumption.
Vertivia’s mileage management software is integral to the success of the study, as it provides accurate fuel and mileage data for each driver taking part so that individual fuel consumption figures can be measured and the results evaluated.
Chater said: “The study has thrown up some interesting readings so far, but we would not want to pre-empt the final results at this stage. Each participating driver’s details have been entered into our mileage capture software and their individual mileages captured and measured during the study period.
“That way we have an accurate and undeniable record of any improvements in fuel consumption achieved as a result of the training, and what drivers then achieved post-training.
“Mileage capture has been proven to deliver significant savings for fleets by reducing unnecessary mileage and false claims, and we are very excited to see what additional fuel cost savings can be achieved by training drivers in fuel efficient techniques in this way.”
Tim Anderson, senior knowledge manager at Energy Saving Trust, said: “I am pleased to announce that our eco-driver training field trials with Vertivia are progressing very well.
“Research elsewhere in Europe has shown that training drivers to drive more efficiently can result in long-term fuel savings of around 3-4%, but this is the first time such a study has been carried out in the UK.
“We are confident that identifying changes in driver behaviour with regard to fuel efficiency can provide useful insight for Government to use when creating policy.”