Automakers in the U.S., through their lobbying group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, are getting behind a new fuel-saving program called EcoDriving that is supposed to "save consumers money at the gas pump, reduce fuel use and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions." How will it do this? By using some of the oft-repeated greener driving tips (you know the ones).

Auto Alliance president and CEO Dave McCurdy said in a statement to AutoblogGreen that, "We know we have a responsibility to innovate and raise fuel efficiency. But we can go farther and faster ... That includes innovative market-based approaches and collaborative partnerships with policymakers. There's a role for each one of us to play in being a part of the solution to these critical issues" (see full statement after the jump).

There is also more information at the EcoDriving site, but if you click that link, watch out for a surprise visit from Gov. Schwarzenegger. It's a bit creepy how he just appears.

[Source: Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers]

PRESS RELEASE:

Automakers Introduce 'EcoDriving' National Fuel Use/CO2 Reduction Program

DENVER, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Automakers today announced EcoDriving(TM) (www.EcoDrivingUSA.com), a comprehensive, nationwide effort to save consumers money at the gas pump, reduce fuel use and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The industry also applauded California and Colorado for being the first states to support this consumer awareness program. The Environmental Defense Fund also participated in the launch of the EcoDriving initiative.

"You can save money and save the environment by driving green," said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "Through EcoDriving, 10 top automakers and the states of California and Colorado have found we share an important commitment, and we commend Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Ritter for their leadership in engaging consumers in green driving. Drivers don't have to wait to buy a new, fuel-efficient vehicle to start reducing fuel costs and CO2...though I do encourage everyone to buy one of our new fuel-efficient vehicles immediately."

By following a set of subtle and easy-to-use best practices for driving and vehicle maintenance, a typical EcoDriver(TM) can improve mileage by about 15 percent. "Today's automobiles are really computers on wheels, with more than 3,000 interactive parts operating as a complex system. The more you know about your machine, the better you can reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions," said McCurdy.

EcoDriving produces the highest mileage from every single vehicle, regardless of vehicle size and age, so it offers an unmatched reach in addressing energy and climate issues by potentially affecting the nation's entire fleet of 245 million automobiles. The program's benefits are potentially huge:

-- If just half of all drivers nationwide practiced moderate levels of EcoDriving, annual CO2 emissions could be reduced by about 100 million tons, or the equivalent of heating and powering 8.5 million households.

-- If all Americans practiced EcoDriving, it would be equal to 450 billion miles traveled on our roadways without generating any CO2 emissions. That's 1,500 CO2-free miles for every man, woman and child in the United States each year.

Sample EcoDriving practices include:

-- Not tailgating, knowing the proper way to accelerate and brake, using synchronized traffic lights to a driver's advantage, driving at the optimum highway speed, understanding when to use air conditioning and much more.

Sample maintenance practices include:

-- Knowing which motor oil to use, understanding the importance of proper tire pressure and what affects tire pressure, understanding aerodynamics and much more.

In conjunction with the unveiling of EcoDriving, the National Automobile Dealers Association announced that September will be free "Green Check-up Month" nationwide.

"Consumers who are better aware of the operations of their vehicle will be rewarded by saving money at the gas pump and reducing CO2 emissions. Working together, we can substantially reduce CO2 emissions and fuel use, one EcoDriver at a time," said McCurdy.

The Alliance's EcoDriving consumer awareness campaign centers on an interactive website, www.EcoDrivingUSA.com, to help drivers learn practical tips to improving their mileage and reducing their carbon footprint. The site includes a video guide to EcoDriving, an "EcoCalculator" to determine benefits for individuals or states, a Virtual Road Test and a variety of educational tools.

As part of their national campaign, automakers pledged to reach out to government, business, educators and more. Alliance members hope to engage all 50 states, as well as major consumer organizations, in EcoDriving. "We're all in this together, so there's a role for each one of us to play in being a part of the solution to these critical issues," added McCurdy.

"Automakers are aggressively developing and introducing new technologies, but it takes 15 years or more for these technologies to become widespread on the road. EcoDriving helps consumers reduce carbon dioxide emissions today," said McCurdy.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 10 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen. For more information, visit the Alliance website at www.autoalliance.org.

STATEMENT FROM DAVE MCCURDY

Automakers understand and share the concerns of policymakers and all Americans about rising gas prices, energy security and climate change – and the auto industry recognizes the role we have in being part of the solution.

EcoDrivingusa.com highlights the auto industry's commitment to helping enrich our daily lives while at the same time preserving the environment in which we live. Our message is simple "Red State or Blue State we can all be Green States."

Last year, Alliance members supported a tough, new national energy law in Congress that raises fuel economy to an average of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020 – that's an historic 40 percent increase in mileage. This new energy bill will also lower oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels a day, saving 18 billion gallons of gasoline a year. But consumers are looking for ways to fight back against high gas prices right now. EcoDriving is opportunity to get immediate fuel savings from the more than 245 million vehicles currently on our nation's roads and highways.

We know we have a responsibility to innovate and raise fuel efficiency. But we can go farther and faster in our efforts to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gases through a comprehensive program. That includes innovative market-based approaches and collaborative partnerships with policymakers. There's a role for each one of us to play in being a part of the solution to these critical issues.

By practicing EcoDriving, consumers who are better aware of the operations of their vehicle will be rewarded by saving money at the gas pump and reducing CO2 emissions. By working together, we can substantially reduce CO2 emissions and fuel use, one EcoDriver at a time.

For more information visit www.EcoDrivingusa.com

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