Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Research Helps Drivers Cut Fuel Use

Study by researchers at UC Riverside's College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology shows real-time eco-driving can cut fuel consumption up to 6 percent

Ever wonder how much fuel you can save by avoiding stop-and-go traffic, closing your window, not using air conditioning or coasting toward stops?

Research at the University of California, Riverside’s College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) can give you the answers.

The research field is called eco-driving, which refers to providing drivers with advice and feedback to minimize fuel consumption when driving.

Eco-driving, which has been practiced for years in Europe and is part of the driver education curricula there, is now receiving a lot of attention in the United States because of calls to increase fuel economy standards and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“This is a really big deal,” said Matthew Barth, the director of CE-CERT and the Yeager Families Professor of Electrical Engineering. “Automobile manufacturers are doing anything possible to make cars more fuel efficient.”

Much of the eco-driving research at UC Riverside and other University of California campuses, including UC Berkeley, focuses on using an on-board eco-driving device, similar to a GPS unit, which provides instantaneous fuel economy feedback under real-world driving conditions.

In a study last year, 20 drivers in the Riverside area used the eco-driving device, known as Eco-Way, for their daily commute for two weeks. Researchers found it improved fuel economy by 6 percent on city streets and 1 percent on highways.

Eco-driving studies in Europe, most of them conducted in pre-planned driving courses, have found fuel economy improvements between 5 and 15 percent.

A survey provided to the Riverside area drivers found that most are willing to adopt eco-driving practices in the near future. On a one to 10 scale, with 10 being the most likely to adopt, the average score from drivers was 7.4. The survey also found 95 percent of drivers would adopt eco-driving strategies if gasoline reaches $4.40 per gallon.

The study was performed by Kanok Boriboonsomin, an assistant research engineer at CE-CERT; Alexander Vu, a junior development engineer at CE-CERT; and Barth.

Those same engineers are now working with researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Davis on a follow-up study in the Bay area, which is funded by the University of California’s Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) Multi-Campus Research Program and Initiative on Sustainable Transportation and ITS Davis’ Honda Endowment for New Mobility Studies.

During the study, participants will use 10 eco-driving devices for two months at a time, said Susan Shaheen, the principal director of the study and co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley.

Subjects will take a pre-survey at the beginning of their participation and a post-survey at the end. The study will last eight months and collect data on about 30 participants.

Meanwhile, UC researchers are hoping to obtain funding from federal agencies to conduct a larger-scale eco-driving study, which would likely involve hundreds of vehicles, Barth said.

The study in the Bay area is a public-private partnership that includes UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC Davis and Earthrise Technology, a division of Digisec Group. Earthrise, based in Redwood City, specializes in hardware and software components of eco-driving technology; it subsidized the cost of the devices for the study and programmed them according to the needs of the project.

Earthrise also worked with researchers at CE-CERT at UC Riverside on the study completed last year.

On the suggestion UC Berkeley researchers, in Dec. 2009, Earthrise President Jim Disanto approached the researchers at CE-CERT. Disanto, who had studied about a dozen eco-driving and eco-routing systems developed throughout the world, was impressed by what he saw at UC Riverside.

“They were the only ones with a comprehensive and robust system that actually worked,” Disanto said. “They captured all the relative inputs and developed a robust algorithm which effectively modeled and predicted vehicle fuel consumption and emissions across a wide range of operating conditions.”

The partnership between Earthrise and the University of California employs the most up-to-date technology to advise motorists on how specific driving behaviors impact fuel consumption and emissions. In addition, it interprets the more than 3,000 trouble codes in modern vehicles to provide specific and relevant information to drivers on the health of their vehicle, including, for example, low tire pressure, which can reduce gas mileage.

Disanto said this will help drivers understand today’s complex vehicles in ways that promote eco-driving. He noted that eco-driving technology is already in vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. But, unlike those products, his device isn’t tied to the years-long automobile manufacturing cycle because it is a mobile, after-market unit that can be reprogrammed remotely and adjusted to the latest technological developments.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 20,500 students. The campus will open a medical school in 2012 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Sean Nealon | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>