Visitors to the mother city can now choose a green alternative to traditional taxis. Instead of viewing the sights in carbon dioxide producing petrol and diesel vehicles, they can use an eco-driven cab, which is far more cost-effective, more responsible, more considerate, safer and, of course, less harmful to the environment.
On 11 March 2010, 20 newly certified eco-drivers hit the streets of Cape Town, looking for an opportunity to put their newly acquired driving skills into practice.
This driver education programme was funded by the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) as part of Green Goal 2010, the official 2010 FIFA World Cup™ greening programme, in conjunction with the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. Green Goal 2010 aims to make the event as environmentally friendly as possible.
Speaking at the launch of the eco-driving training programme in Cape Town, Gottlieb Arendse (DEADP Director: Waste Management) explained that the Green Goal team had spent some time considering the definition of a ‘green’, or ‘eco’, taxi – an attribute, of course, that many outfits wish to claim.”We realised that it all came down to fuel consumption and driver behaviour,” he said.
It might seem odd that that the oil industry would pay to teach drivers how to use less of its product, but Anton Molden, environmental advisor to SAPIA, gave an explanation lauded by MEC Robin Carlislse as an example of “enlightened self-interest.” “SAPIA is in discussions with government and other stakeholders for a long-term road map for the introduction of cleaner fuel in South Africa,’ said Molden. “But at the moment only 11% of the vehicles on our roads would be able to use these modern fuels.
“We therefore need a holistic, integrated approach to fuel security and savings in South Africa, in addition, of course, to the other benefits that eco-driving brings”
Eco-driving not only saves money but dramatically improves urban air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions (the gases that cause climate change). “This will also reduce demand on the product – fuel – which will lead to improved fuel security,” noted Molden. One consequence is that the refineries will not have to work as hard, which is also important for mitigating climate change.
”Metered taxis have a crucial role to play in Cape Town’s future,” said MEC Robin Carlisle, also speaking at the launch. “These offer the flexibility in-between the scheduled buses and trains.
”Good public transport is just one of our goals. Metered taxis offer insider knowledge of a city and a high level of personal service to visitors and locals. This is the role you have to assume,” he suggested to the 20 drivers, all of whom had sacrificed three days of earnings in order to attend the workshop.
The metered taxi industry was selected by Green Goal 2010 for the pilot training programme because it is part of the South African Host Programme 2010, and because in Cape Town its industry is a highly organised one. Drivers invited to participate in the pilot were requested to monitor their fuel consumption against current baseline fuel consumption, so that the success of the programme could be measured.
The pilot programme is part of a global United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) fuel-saving programme, which SAPIA hopes to expand nationally later this year.
Ten eco-driving tips:
- Plan your route - use a map book, GPS or ask for directions. This way you won’t waste fuel getting lost.
- Service your vehicle regularly. Correctly maintained cars operate more efficiently and help reduce CO2 emissions
- Check your tyre pressure monthly. Under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by up to 40%
- Remove unnecessary weight from your vehicle. The heavier the car, the harder the engine has to work and the more fuel it consumes
- Close your windows at higher speeds and remove empty roof racks. This will reduce wind resistance and can lower your fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10%
- Use air conditioning sparingly. Unnecessary use increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 5%
- Reduce idling. If you are going to stop for more than 60 seconds, turn off your vehicle’s engine
- Avoid speeding and drive smoothly. Increasing your speed from 100 km/h to 120 km/h can increase your fuel consumption by 20%
- When accelerating, change gears as early as possible. Higher gear ratios consume less fuel
- Try to anticipate traffic flow. Look at the traffic as far ahead as possible in order to avoid unnecessary stopping and starting within the flow of traffic.