Shell launches driving efficiency challenge to find Britain’s most fuel efficient cabbie - RSA

Shell launches driving efficiency challenge to find Britain’s most fuel efficient cabbie

Press release

  • Climate change
  • Social brain

Shell, in collaboration with the RSA, has launched Smarter Cab Drivers - aimed at helping British cab drivers become more fuel efficient and save money by making simple changes to the way they drive.  

The four week driving challenge aims to apply both simple driving tips, as well as specially designed ‘nudges’ to see whether drivers can adapt their behaviour in order to reduce fuel costs.

20 public hire cab drivers from ten regions will monitor their fuel efficiency performance as they travel around picking up passengers. From Monday 4 July 2011, their efforts will be tracked in real-time on the Smarter Cab Drivers online hub – and on the dedicated campaign Twitter feed, @SmarterCabbies, to enable the public to see how easy it can be to make improvements in their fuel efficiency.   

Smarter Cab Drivers will aim to show that by making quick and easy driving improvements (such as avoiding harsh braking or over-revving), drivers can deliver meaningful fuel efficiency and cost savings. Last year, Shell’s Smarter Drivers challenge focused on family driving activity and showed that the average family can save 27 percent  – equivalent to a potential annual saving of £310  – on their fuel bills by adopting smarter driving tips and techniques which reduce fuel consumption. If the cab drivers are able to improve their fuel efficiency by as little as 10 percent, this could be the equivalent to a saving of £1,000 on fuel bills based on their current fuel costs.

The challenge will investigate whether traditional learning methods such as Shell’s Smarter Driving tips can be enhanced when combined with the RSA’s own ‘steer theory’ techniques which are designed to reinforce long-term behavioural changes.  While all participants have received Shell’s Smarter Driving training and guidance, ten of the cab drivers will also co-create nudges and reminders throughout the challenge to further encourage their efforts and remind them of their training.  In a final report, to be published after the challenge end, the RSA will evaluate the nationwide awareness campaign and outline the most successful ways to get other cab drivers, and drivers more generally, thinking about fuel efficiency.

Melanie Lane, General Manager, Shell UK Retail, said:

“We know fuel prices are high right now so it’s important that we help people save fuel and money.  We have research from campaigns in different markets to show that by applying simple tips you can save up to 10 percent on your fuel bill, hopefully more. It’s not always easy to do day-to-day, which is why Shell is working with cab drivers to understand the challenges drivers face in being more fuel efficient. We hope that as a result of this campaign, cab drivers will become vocal advocates for fuel efficient driving, and we wish all of our cab drivers the very best of luck in their quest to become the most fuel efficient cabbie.”

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, said:

“We're very pleased to be working with Shell on the Smarter Cab Drivers project, which gives us a unique opportunity to test the impact of steer theory on driving behaviour for the first time. The science and politics of behaviour change represents a new terrain for business responsibility and competitiveness, and it’s encouraging to see companies like Shell looking to demonstrate not just responsibility, but thought leadership in the way that they encourage people to change their driving habits and improve their fuel efficiency.”

The challenge, which is being supported by the AA, RAC, Environmental Transport Association, the Knowledge and Institute of Advanced Motorists, amongst others, will assess the cab drivers on how fuel efficient their driving is, as well as the improvement they make during the four weeks.  All drivers have received training sessions from the AA (Automobile Association), and Shell specialists to give them the inside track on the easy efficiency improvements they can make to their vehicle and the way they drive.  During the challenge, 16 of the participants will be equipped with state of the art telemetry technology to track their driving behaviour for them, while a further 4 drivers will track their performance themselves manually, to see whether a hands-on or automatic approach delivers the greater improvement.

Edmund King, President of the AA said:

“Recent AA/Populus research shows that three quarters of drivers are cutting back on journeys or other expenditure as a result of high fuel costs.  It is now more important than ever to cut costs by changing your driving style to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.  We’re glad that we are working with Shell on the Shell Smarter Cab Drivers challenge – a project that we believe will play a key role in spreading the word about smarter driving far and wide.”

To show your support on Twitter use #smartercabdrivers and visit the Smarter Cab Drivers website.

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