In conjunction with the 2014 Bangkok Motor Show, the Thai Automotive Industry Association conducted a symposium, “Eco-Driving and Energy Efficiency” in April 2014. More than a hundred participants attended including Thai government authorities, members of the local automotive industry, media and many others.

Mr. Eishi Ohno, Chairman of Transport Policy Working Group, Subcommittee of Climate Change in JAMA, gave a speech on Eco-Driving in Japan. Together with him were Mr. Pramoul Chanpong,
 
 
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Promoting Energy Efficiency in
Thailand through Eco-Driving

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Director General of the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE), who shared the “Policy and Energy Conservation Plan in Transport Sector”. Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) expert, Mr. Pathom Chaiyapruksaton, Assist Senior Official, also introduced the “Reduction of Greenhouse Gas in the Automotive and Transport Sector”.

The Symposium aims to provide a better understanding of government energy policies and conservation plans. They include activities that promote greenhouse gas reduction in the transportation sector through eco-driving.

According to Director General, Mr. Pramoul Chanpong, “67% of electricity in Thailand is generated from thermal power generators that use natural gas, 57% of which is from Thailand and 38%, from Myanmar. However, the government is concerned about the country’s natural gas reserve which is expected to run out in 7 years. Moreover, high reliance on overseas supply may bring a risk to the country’s future development.” Sensing the urgency, the Thai government has introduced alternate sources of energy, such as E85 (85% ethanol fuel and 15% gasoline), B7 (a mix of 93% diesel and 7% FAME) among others. Harnessing the power of these alternative, environment-friendly energies will not only reduce the country’s reliance on fast-draining resources but also lessen pollutants and greenhouse gases that cause global warming and climate changes.

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997 and enforced in 2005, prompted the Japanese government to formulate its own Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 6% below the 1990 level from 2008 to 2012. In the transport sector, JAMA has been working closely with other parties to achieve its yearly target through an Integrated Approach that enables:
  1. Increased vehicle fuel efficiency
  2. Diversified fuel supply
  3. Improved traffic flow (i.e. reduced congestion)
  4. More efficient use of motor vehicles
These measures involve the cooperative efforts of vehicle manufacturers, fuel/energy providers, governments and vehicle users. Eco-driving is one of these effective measures.
According to Mr. Ohno, “Drivers can increase fuel efficiency and thus help reduce CO2 emissions by improving their driving habits. In 2011, the CO2 emission from the industry sector was about 36% of the total amount, 21% from the work sector, 20% from transportation sector and 16% from the household sector. In the transportation sector, around 90% of emission is from automobiles. If all drivers practice eco-driving in Japan, we can expect another 2% reduction on the CO2 emissions.”
Energy Source CO2 Emission in Japan
For its part, JAMA is conducting an ongoing public-awareness campaign, in collaboration with the government and industry partners, to promote sound, fuel-conserving eco-driving practices, urging drivers to adopt the 10 smart tips listed in the graph below.

Mr. Ohno also shared some unheard of points on eco-driving that fascinated the participants. For example:

Q1: Should the driver perform an idling stop manually while waiting at an intersection?
A: “No, it is dangerous to perform an idling stop at an intersection. The airbag will not function and the brakes may become less effective. When done frequently, it shortens the part’s life span.”

Q2: Is it necessary to practice eco-driving even with an eco-car that’s already superior in fuel economy?
A: “Yes, the fuel economy is improved if we practice eco-driving even with an eco-car.”

Mr. Ohno also revealed that, “Eco-driving is the smart way to save fuel and reach your destination swiftly and—more importantly—safely.” According to Tokyo Trucking Association’s data from 2006 to 2009, the practice of eco-driving has significantly reduced the accident rate by 41.4%. Moreover, an in-depth test on passenger cars also confirmed that eco-driving can reduce traffic accidents.

Nevertheless, the proper way of eco-driving is not as simple as following the 10 tips listed in the graph. To achieve greater results, JAMA recommends that drivers should attend eco-driving trainings. In Japan, various governmental and private organizations, including JAMA, are conducting public awareness activities to promote eco-driving in the country. JAMA also hopes that a practical training can be deployed in Thailand in the near future.

After the symposium, JAMA also conducted a separate Information Exchange meeting with the local Thai media. The media expressed that Thailand should create its own version of 10 tips for eco-driving that best suits the local environment.

With eco-driving being a highly recommended means of reducing CO2 emission, fuel expenses and accidents at almost no cost, JAMA hopes that other countries can adopt it widely. In order to promote eco-driving, JAMA recommends both top-down and bottom-up efforts.

A top-down example: The government can improve people’s awareness of eco-driving through official policies. For bottom-up activities, it is important to establish a correct eco-drive education system. New drivers should gain the required knowledge prior to acquiring their licenses. JAMA will spare no efforts to provide assistance if required by related authorities to promote Fuel-Conserving Eco-Driving.


 

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