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Automobile organizations in auto transport industry have begun to notice a significant change in driver behavior. This applies to all types of drivers, autos, trains and even airline pilots! Across the board, they are all being asked to cut their speed. “There is anecdotal evidence that people are slowing down,” said Sheila Rainger, head of campaigns at the RAC Foundation. “On the motorways there will be people on the inside lane sticking to 70 mph, while before they would be whizzing much faster.”
Edmund King, the president of the AA has noticed a similar trend. “Driving on the M3, I noticed that there are now a lot of people driving at 60 mph, rather than 80 mph,” he said. “This can save up to 12 miles per gallon.” Even the AA patrolmen have noticed that there are fewer cars on the road and those are driving slower.
“There’s definitely not as many cars around, especially in the city,” said Ray Walker, who is based in Sheffield. “People are thinking about their journeys more, and whether they really need to go out in the car.”
Steven Neath of Bristol has noticed that he is overtaking other vehicles as he rattles by in his 1963 AA minivan. “It can do 60 mph absolute maximum, and we used to joke that you’d never overtake anyone on the motorway - there were constantly cars racing past at 80 or 90 mph,” he said. “But these days I’m suddenly overtaking whole lines of cars. A lot of people are driving along slowly on the inside lane.”
Even train operators are doing their part to save energy. A spokesman for the industry stated, “We have a timetable to stick to so slowing down trains is not a practical option. However train drivers are being encouraged to ‘coast’ whenever possible. For example, when going down a hill. This entails easing off and letting the train use its own momentum where appropriate and safe to do so. At depots we encourage drivers to switch the engine off to save fuel.” Some companies are even using a regenerative braking technology, similar to what you would find on a hybrid vehicle, to further save energy and fuel.
AITA, the Aviation Industry Trade Association, has been utilizing “Green Teams” to teach airlines how to conserve fuel. Options may include lightening the plane as much as possible, better route planning and even keeping the planes clean. A clean plane reduces friction and thereby reduces fuel consumption. And of course, several airline carriers in both the United States and the U.K. have also asked their pilots to just simply slow down. “We have had reductions of two to three miles an hour on all routes,” said an airline spokesman. “It has meant significant savings in fuel costs, but with all the other air traffic and stacking delays has minimal impact on passengers.”
According to the Chamber of Shipping, even freight and some passenger ships are moving slower. “Container lines have been knocking a couple of knots off their speed to save fuel, while meeting their delivery schedules, “ said Robert Ashdown, head of the Chamber’s technical division. “Shipping companies are not completely in control of their speed, that is down to charterers. But even they are willing to slow down so they pay less for fuel. Some ferry companies and auto transport companies have also done so, while trying to stick to passenger timetables. “ These carriers include Stena who since July has added some 14 minutes to the Belfast/Stranraer crossing. Even Maersk Line has cut the speed of some of their ships back to 20 knots from 24. All in an effort to control fuel bills.