Groups Launch Drive $marter Challenge

Lead by the Alliance to Save Energy the ampaign by 18 Diverse Partners to Ease Consumers’ ‘Pain at the Pump’

Published: 21-May-2008

Washington, D.C. – Today the Alliance to Save Energy, the Wal-Mart Foundation, and 16 additional diverse public- and private-sector partners are launching the Drive $marter Challenge, a fuel-efficiency campaign to help U.S. consumers lower their gasoline costs by using less. The campaign offers effective money- and gas-saving tips in English and Spanish and extensive additional resources – all aimed at keeping more money in drivers’ pockets and reducing the number of costly trips to the pump.

“The unique Drive $marter Challenge campaign features many creative elements, including an interactive website, English and Spanish tip cards, humorous English and Spanish radio public service ads, a Spanish “Driving and Saving” jingle, and mobile marketing,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan.

“In addition, our campaign partners and other supporters will be broadly disseminating campaign tips and resources. All this information can reduce consumers’ gas costs by hundreds of dollars yearly from the whopping $3,400 that the average U.S. household is projected to spend this year to fuel its vehicles. With the summer driving season about to begin, our campaign could not be more timely in helping consumers, who are seeing their family budgets eroded by high gas prices.”

“Wal-Mart understands the impact that rising energy costs have on consumers who are struggling to stretch their dollars during these tough economic times,” said Matt Kistler, senior vice president for sustainability at Wal-Mart. “By working with the Alliance to Save Energy and the impressive list of campaign partners, we hope to help Americans across the country save money at the pump so they can live better.”

The campaign has the only interactive website (www.drivesmarterchallenge.org) with a calculator allowing drivers to enter specific data on their vehicle (make, model, year, cylinders) and find out exactly how much money they can save with up to six easy vehicle maintenance and sensible driving steps.

To highlight the campaign’s social aspect, the calculator also displays a running tally of the cumulative money, gallons, and CO2 emission savings of everyone who has “taken the Challenge” by pledging to follow through on any or all of those fuel-saving steps. The calculator thus demonstrates that even small fuel-efficiency steps by large numbers of people add up to measurable benefits.
As a reward, each visitor committing to the Challenge can download one or more money-saving coupons for vehicle maintenance products – including oxygen sensors, air filters, and spark plugs – redeemable at AutoZone, a campaign partner.

The Alliance and its campaign partners, as well as additional government offices and grassroots organizations supporting the campaign, will distribute millions of English and Spanish tip cards nationwide via outlets such as gas and service stations; vehicle repair shops and parts stores; vehicle inspection stations; biking events; child care and fitness centers; state and local social services offices; conferences and trade shows; state energy offices; Head Start sites; senior centers; and local government and community organization meetings and events such as town hall meetings.

The campaign website also features links to extensive resources ranging from where to find the cheapest local gas to information on public transportation, biking, car sharing, and carpooling.

The National Association of Counties (NACo), a campaign partner, is challenging its members to see which county in each of three population size categories can get the highest percentage of residents to take the Drive $marter Challenge. Auto Zone will give each of the three winning counties 1,000 bottles of Fuel Additive/Cleaner – products applied to the fuel system to help vehicles be more fuel-efficient.

“NACo is excited about helping counties educate their residents on fuel-saving tips and encouraging their participation in the Drive $marter Challenge,” said NACo President Eric Coleman, commissioner, Oakland County, Mich. “>From July through November, we will see which of the nation’s 3,066 counties can most effectively spread the Drive $marter message and get the most residents and employees to access www.drivesmarterchallenge.org and learn how they can save money by being more fuel efficient.”

Red Cavaney, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), said, “API and the U.S. oil and natural gas industry are committed to increased energy efficiency as a vital component of any effective national energy policy framework. To ensure we can provide consumers with the energy they need to keep our economy strong, energy efficiency must play a major role.”

“The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and its 10 member companies are pleased to be part of this important initiative,” said Alliance President and CEO Dave McCurdy. “Increasing fuel economy while at the same time enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a goal we all share.” He added, “Automakers are committed not only to increasing the fuel economy of new automobiles, but also to helping consumers maximize the fuel economy of their current vehicles.”

“EPA’s SmartWay is proud to team up with the Alliance to help inform consumers about simple and affordable strategies for reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Margo T. Oge, director, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Whether it's checking EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide before car-buying or just keeping your tires properly inflated, there’s a lot we can all do for a cleaner, healthier tomorrow.”

“Tuning our cars, inflating our tires, and taking public transportation when possible are simple things people can do to save money and cut pollution,” said Deron Lovaas, vehicles campaign director, Natural Resources Defense Council. “While we need more efficient vehicle choices, maximizing fuel savings from the cars we have is a bargain for consumers and our environment.”

Another innovative feature of the campaign is a Broadband Media website at www.DWJTV.com/DriveSmarterChallenge with all of the campaign’s downloadable elements – video in multiple formats for TV, audio, images, photos, logos, and jingle. The site also includes a multi-media news release, campaign fact sheets, and bios.

The Drive $marter Challenge campaign partners are the Alliance to Save Energy, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, American Petroleum Institute, AutoZone, Inc., Car Care Council, ExxonMobil, League of American Bicyclists, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Energy Officials, National Independent Auto Dealers Association, National Low Income Energy Consortium, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Safety-Kleen, U.S. EPA’s SmartWay®, and the Wal-Mart Foundation.

“The Alliance to Save Energy commends our 17 campaign partners for joining us in helping American families cut their vehicle fuel costs,” said Callahan. “On a broader scale, our campaign will enhance U.S. energy security by reducing our dependence on imported oil, and it will improve the global environment by reducing CO2 emissions.”

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