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Start Your Engines - It's Time for the Annual EcoRun!


One of my favourite movies when I was a teen was The Cannonball Run. I loved a good road trip movie - still do. Combine that with dreamy Burt Reynolds and gutsy Adrienne Barbeau in a Lamborghini Countach and you've got a hit! I still dream about driving cross-country in that Lamborghini ...

Well, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) has got the next best thing to a Canadian Cannonball Run. It’s their annual EcoRun: an event that showcases several eco-friendly vehicles, including hybrids, highly-efficient gasoline powered options, diesel-fuelled powertrains and electrics. Each year, the AJAC selects a portion of Canada to drive over the 4 day EcoRun. AJAC members rotate between the vehicles in the EcoRun, testing them in real-world road conditions and reporting on which are the most efficient. At the end of the event, the vehicles are ranked by fuel economy and an individual journalist is awarded the coveted Green Jersey for overall best eco-driving.

This year's EcoRun event occurs June 20 - 23 across New Brunswick, with stops in Moncton, Saint John, Bay of Fundy and Fredericton. This video from last year's EcoRun gives a great overview of what happens on a tour, including how the journalists test themselves and the vehicles with eco-driving techniques.

At the end of last year's EcoRun, Chris Chase - freelance journalist and winner of the Green Jersey - shared a few of his eco-driving tips:

“In city driving, one of the keys is gentle acceleration: go easy on the throttle, because in most city situations, you’re only going to have to slow down or stop again shortly, making hard acceleration one of the most wasteful things you can do. Once at speed, look well ahead and try to anticipate what other drivers and traffic signals are going to do. The idea is to spend as little time as possible stopped: idling and accelerating are the two states in which a car is least efficient, so the less you have to do either of them, the more fuel you’ll save.

In highway driving, knowing when to decelerate is key. For example, allow the car to decelerate a bit on uphill stretches. If you tend to drive at, say, 110 km/h on the highway, then — ideally, when traffic is light — let the car slow down to 95 or 100 km/h going uphill, and then regain that speed on the next downhill.”

For more from Chase, see his two-part interview on the Canadian Fuels Blog: Part 1 - How eco-driving saves on fuel and Part 2 - Drive smoothly for better fuel efficiency.

Once this year's EcoRun is complete, we'll do a follow-up post on the results! What are your thoughts? Would you participate in the EcoRun?

- Rose R.


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