Make us your home page

The lessons of an 'eco-driver'

LOS ANGELES — Paul Scott thinks there's a way to improve traffic without putting a dime into roadwork: Teach people to become "eco-drivers." Scott is an electric-vehicle advocate with Plug In America, a Leaf salesman at Santa Monica Nissan and a self-described serious eco-driver. Among some of his techniques: drafting behind trucks to save gas or energy. Driving practices like those help Scott get 100-plus miles out of one battery charge in a Leaf, and even more out of the first version of Toyota's electric RAV4. That's 20 percent to 25 percent better than most drivers. Here are some of his tips for getting the most out of the gas or electricity in your car.

. If a car has an eco-mode setting, use it. It forces drivers to accelerate more smoothly and saves energy.

. Always drive gently off the line; never accelerate hard from a stop.

. Anticipate stops. If you see a red light, stop sign or heavy traffic ahead of you, let off the accelerator and coast.

. Keep your top speed at about 60 mph.

. Make sure your engine is properly tuned.

. Keep your tires fully inflated to their recommended maximum pressure.

. Don't haul stuff in your car that you don't need. Take the golf clubs out of the trunk when you get home from playing.

. Don't tailgate on the freeway. Allow five or six car lengths so that if the car in front brakes, you don't have to hit your brakes. Coast and allow the gap to close somewhat. Generally the car in front will accelerate again before you get close enough to have to use your brakes.

The lessons of an 'eco-driver' 10/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Los Angeles Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Appointments at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and the Straz Center highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell its new chief executive officer, effective Oct. 16. Selected by the Y's CEO Search Committee following a five-month search, Mitchell will succeed Tom Looby, who is retiring. Looby has served the Y Movement for 37 years, the past 10 …

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell as its new Chief Executive Officer. [Handout photo]
  2. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  3. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  4. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  5. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba


    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]