Collectively, America's 230 million drivers have a great impact on the planet and themselves: The amount of CO2 emitted by vehicles into the atmosphere that impacts our climate. How much fossil fuel energy is consumed, from extraction to emissions. The air quality and health impact of tailpipe toxins. How much money we spend in fuel use and maintenance. And how safe we are as drivers.
THE PROBLEM: Most of us are not aware of it, but here's a few inefficient, highly impactful driving scenarios played out millions of times:
• continuing to accelerate after a traffic light ahead turns red, ending in a hard stop, hoping to be the first in line, only to have a car the next lane over gently coasting to a stop but not stopping because the light has turned green
• sitting in a mall parking lot, idling continuously with the engine on, browsing on a smartphone
• speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic
• driving a gas guzzling, polluting vehicle
HOW A DIFFERENCE CAN BE MADE: With our Green Driving from the Start© project, presentations will show up to 2,000 or more student drivers and new drivers—in one school year—the benefits of how they drive (green driving practices) and what they drive (low- to zero-emission vehicles), plus touching on alternatives to driving.
• reducing CO2 emissions
• reducing fossil fuel energy consumption
• improving air quality
• saving money in fuel use and maintenance costs
• how driving a cleaner vehicle will extend these benefits
• how being a green driver equates to being a safer driver
• the lowering of stress
GREEN DRIVING FROM THE START© PRESENTATION DETAILS: One-hundred to 120 guest-lecturing presentations will be given in driver education1 classes having a required set number of hours of live classroom instruction2, along with some high school environmental education classes for the 2021-22 school year. The presentations will be offered mainly New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont), and Pacific Coast states (California2, Oregon and Washington), though exceptions can be made for other states.
This is a funded project; presentations are at no cost to participating schools/educators.
These presentations will be conducted exclusively via video conferencing regardless of whether schools are open for in-person classroom instruction3 or distance/remote/virtual learning (due to Covid-19 or other limitations). A video conferencing app such as Zoom will be utilized. Presentations will be given by trained college level interns4 (paid) and are scheduled to be 45 minutes. They will include a shared screen animated PowerPoint and three to four short videos. Q & A can fill any remaining time. A three-page pdf handout covering presentation content will be included. Optionally, if five to ten minutes additional time is available, a "quick quiz" covering presentation details can be given, with answers provided in a slide.
Note that the PowerPoint will be customized for each state, showing a state's particular anti-idling laws, EV charging station locations, and available EV incentives/rebates/credits. It will also vary slightly for drivers education classes vs environmental education classes, for instance, placing more emphasis on alternatives to driving for the latter.
An ongoing timeline of presentations given will be listed on this webpage.
OUR EXPERIENCE IN THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY: Green Driving America Inc. evolved from an organization that specialized in conducting educational projects in the school community. Most of this work was in Vermont. The organization, then called Idle-Free VT, was awarded grants to implement these projects starting in 2013. They were split into two efforts:
1. measured idle-free schools campaigns at 14 schools (12 in Vermont; two in California)
2. the work we are continuing to go forward with in a number of states: green driving guest-lecturing presentations in more than 120 Vermont drivers education and science/math educator classes: VERMONT TEACHER ACCOLADES AND PRESENTATIONS TIMELINE
Green Driving from the Start© POWERPOINT & VIDEOS
FOR INTERESTED EDUCATORS: Below are still images of the full, animated Green Driving from the Start PowerPoint slide presentation for driver education classes (in its current developed form) that will be given, along with four videos. For high school environmental education classes, the PowerPoint will be slightly different, including placing more emphasis on alternatives to driving.
NOTE: The full, animated PowerPoint that will be shown is the property of Green Driving America Inc. and may not be used or recorded without permission. The videos are open source and may be freely used.
Another video will be offered mostly for high school environmental education presentations: Gasoline, Gasoline, the World's Aflame.
FUEL REDUCTION & MONEY SAVINGS FIGURES: The Driving More Efficiently page of fueleconomy.gov, the official U.S. source for fuel economy information, shows the average fuel reduction percentages and amounts of money saved by practicing green driving with gasoline vehicles (does not include EV benefits). Driving sensibly and observing speed limits clearly yield the biggest results.
WHAT WILL THE DIFFERENCE BE?: Our educational sessions, while not measurable in a strict sense, will make a difference. Reasonably, a percentage of students will grasp and apply the compelling information shown. They (and by extension, some of the adults around them) will learn to be more efficient and environmentally responsible drivers as well as being shown the path to EVs. As the existing fleet of internal combustion engine vehicles continue to predominate for the next 15-20 years, the Driving More Efficiently figures at fueleconomy.gov show that each of these green drivers will avoid the consumption of many hundreds to thousands of gallons of fuel, resulting in reductions of many thousands of pounds to conceivably many tons of CO2 emissions.
HOW GREEN DRIVERS ARE SAFER DRIVERS: Green drivers avoid jackrabbit starts. They are better defensive drivers: more aware of and attentive to the flow of traffic around and ahead of them, and avoiding tailgating - all of which allows more reaction time to perform evasive maneuvers. It is also safer to comply with speed limits and conduct smooth acceleration/deceleration.
1Wayne Michaud is a member of the ADTSEA (American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association)
2Many states currently require this type of driver education instruction. However in some states, including California, the classroom driver education instruction portion is mostly limited to a self-taught Internet training program; this is not conducive to our presentations
3For video conferencing in classrooms, schools will need to be set up with the proper network connection and equipment: GUIDE
4Prior to the start of the project, college interns hired to give presentations will be listed on this webpage with a short bio including name, college attended, major, and academic standing