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Many people learn to drive about the same time that they learn to do sex. So I think that for people beyond that age, being told that you could drive differently is as bad as being told you have failed at a key rite of passage and could do better in bed.

It was therefore with some anxiety that I rocked up to take the ecodriver course this week. http://www.ecodriver.co.nz/ecodriver/welcome.html

I am delighted to reassure you that my anxieties were unfounded. Mark Whittaker the founder of ecodriver has a skill in delivering a “saver and safer driver” message with no accompanying feelings of inadequacy.

l-af-nov13-fuel-pump-1Fuel is one of the largest expense items of owning and operating a fleet. If your company is running a fleet with a $1million annual fuel bill, a 10% saving on fuel is 100k straight to the bottom line. 10k off a $100k fuel bill is not to be sniffed at either. While traditional approaches would involve shopping around, fuel is a commodity and there is only so much you can do.

“A 10% saving is possible when your fleet drivers see how small incremental changes to the way they manage their engine makes all the difference”, “saver driving is also safer driving and we find that our ecodriving graduates enjoy the intellectual challenge of renewed focus and rigour around the way they work with their vehicle’s engine” says Mark Whittaker. “Some of our women graduates have particularly liked discovering about their engine’s performance and abilities, having missed out on that traditional father-son learning growing up.”

For me personally having completed the course, the reminders of previous forgotten lessons learned while doing defensive driving, have been great. I learnt way back about looking far ahead to anticipate better and realised this week that far ahead had slipped to something closer to the bonnet than 300-500m away. The next big one for me is to coast even more and to worry less about the impatient idiot behind who wants to race to the lights and screech to a halt. The final one I am working on is gaining more constancy with the throttle because every foot tap is a tap off our environmental future.

My current car is a 10 year old 3 litre BMW and at times I drive it like I am training for Monte Carlo. I am now watching my fuel usage monitor closely and am hoping to show that a big engine does not have to mean a big fuel spend.

zenergyWhat next? Well, next week I am off to Wellington (NZ) to take part in the Z Energy Ecodriver challenge day, competing against others who have also taken the ecodriver course. All the others have been practising longer than me so, just in case I report back next week having got the booby prize, I am starting to work on my feeble but credible excuses!

If you are on a Board or a manager thinking about what else you can do to keep your people safe in their work, improve your sustainability achievements and make more profit: safer and saver driving might just be the answer.

Look out for the next blog for the tale of humiliation or victory!