Dealers, automakers launch fuel-saving effort

WASHINGTON -- Automakers and dealers helped launch a campaign on Monday, Aug. 18, aimed at reducing fuel use by persuading consumers to drive smarter and take better care of their vehicles.

The campaign, called EcoDriving, was unveiled in an online announcement by industry leaders and two state governors, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Democrat Bill Ritter of Colorado.

A key feature of the new campaign is an interactive Web site, The site offers consumers tips on how to drive and maintain vehicles so that they use less fuel.

In a related measure, the National Automobile Dealers Association said it is encouraging dealers to offer free vehicle checkups in September. Many dealers will link the “green” checkups with free child safety seat inspections, said NADA Chairman Annette Sykora, a Texas dealer. Sykora took part in the EcoDriving announcement.

Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said a typical motorist who follows the driving and maintenance tips offered by the campaign will improve fuel economy by about 15 percent. The alliance represents the Detroit 3, Toyota and six other automakers.

Sykora and McCurdy said they want consumers to buy new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. But until they do, they said, better driving practices and vehicle maintenance can cut fuel use, energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions for 245 million cars and trucks now on the road.

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