Friday, March 14, 2008

Ease Up!

DENVER – Drivers in the Mile High City will be the first to help gauge how punching the accelerator or slamming the brakes affects greenhouse gas emissions.

A pilot program called “Driving Change” will have 400 vehicles to test by May, including the car of Mayor John Hickenlooper, who agreed to have the city be the test site.

The cars – 200 belonging to the city and the rest privately owned – will be equipped with an electronic device smaller than a deck of cards underneath the dashboard. The device will track how such driving patterns as speeding, idling and fast stopping affect fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Drivers will be able to view the results online.

“What was so appealing is it had the logic of a brilliant idea, the notion that by modest changes to people's driving (they) could dramatically lower their fuel consumption,” Hickenlooper said.
The Democratic National Convention Committee, which will be held in Denver in August, launched a program Tuesday aimed at helping drivers be more conscientious about their cars' carbon footprint. On the committee's Web site, convention visitors can use a “carbon calculator” to measure their trip's effect.

The California-based Enviance Inc. developed the technology to track the correlation between driving maneuvers and greenhouse gas emissions. Cartasite Inc. of Denver manufactured the device that will go in the vehicles.

“Vehicles represent about 30 percent of the greenhouse footprint in (Denver),” said Larry Goldenhersh, president and CEO of Enviance. Goldenhersh said the goal of the program is to see whether people can be persuaded to change their driving behavior.

Source: AP

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