- Consumption feedback provided to car drivers significantly increased fuel efficiency
- We find average fuel savings of 3.2% even among corporate drivers with no personal financial incentives to save fuel.
The fuel consumption of cars and the electricity use of electric vehicles do not only depend on the efficiency of the drivetrains, but also on the behavior of the drivers. Feedback on personal driving behavior can lead to savings that are on par with often costly and time consuming technological improvements. Several studies report savings among private drivers who have to pay for their fuel and who thus have a financial incentive to adopt an environmentally friendly driving style. In many countries, however, a considerable share of the fleet consists of cooperate vehicles. It is unclear if feedback is also effective in contexts where the company pays for fuel.
We tested the effects of feedback provided by a smartphone app among 50 corporate car drivers who do not pay for the fuel their vehicles consume. We ran the study as a randomized controlled trial and collected data over a period of eight weeks.
Average savings amounted to 3.2% - a remarkable effect that corresponds to the fuel reduction typically achieved from changing from one car generation to the next one. The behavioral approach, however, is much less costly to implement and can be realized in a timely manner. In private contexts where car drivers are under less time pressure and where they financially benefit from the savings, similar interventions may be even more effective. Moreover, the savings may also increase if the feedback is directly integrated in the car dashboard: The study app needed to be activated manually before each ride, which was often not done by the driver during the field trial.
Tulusan, Staake, Fleisch (2012) Providing eco-driving feedback to corporate car drivers: What impact does a smartphone application have on their fuel efficiency? UbiComp'12 - Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing.
Tulusan, Soi, Paefgen, Brogle and Staake (2011) Eco-efficient feedback technologies: Which eco-feedback types prefer drivers most? 2011 IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks, Lucca, 2011, pp. 1-8.
This project has been funded in parts by SAP.
Date: 2011 - 2012
Johannes Tulusan, Thorsten Staake, Johnnes Päfgen, Elgar Fleisch
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