With Nissan's ECO Pedal, Gas Prices Push Back

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

For the red-blooded enthusiast, it's the ultimate nightmare: a car that just doesn't want to be driven hard. For the under-frugal and over-cited drivers of the world, Nissan's ECO Pedal could be the mechanical conscience they need to adjust to our eco-friendly, speed-kills society. "Each time the driver steps on the accelarator (sic)," flubs Nissan's press release, "a counter push-back control mechanism is activated if the system detects excess pressure, helping to inform the driver that they could be using more fuel than required." Required for what exactly? An electronically-determined "optimal acceleration" based on transmission efficiency and fuel consumption rates. You know, like how polite people and Buick owners drive. Nissan claims that with the killjoy-graft "drivers can improve fuel efficiency by 5-10 percent, depending on driving conditions." Sadly, the intrusion is not limited to the gas-pedal recalcitrance. An "eco-driving indicator" on the dash stays green if your driving style does (get it?), but flashes and turns amber "to advise the driver of their driving behavior." Or remind the driver that they are merging onto an interstate. Luckily, you will still be able to eke whatever id-fodder is available to Nissan drivers who would consider this option by switching the nagging thing off. Nissan will "commercialize" the system in 2009, but they don't say what models it 'll be on. If it's cheap and it can be turned all the way off when the less-better angels of our natures need to have their way, it could be worth a look… if you're into that kind of thing.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
4 of 27 comments
  • JEC JEC on Aug 05, 2008

    I have a better solution: If you want better fuel economy, stop buying slushboxes, you stupid collective North American market.

  • Dhanson865 Dhanson865 on Aug 05, 2008

    @JEC My numbers are US EPA 2008 hwy only but in some cases a slushbox model gets better gas mileage than a stickshift. For example the 2008 Civic Civic auto 36 Civic manual 5sp 34 Civic manual 6sp 29 So I'm not sure why you are complaining about slushboxes. Check out www.fueleconomy.gov to see the source for my numbers.

  • Kps Kps on Aug 05, 2008

    dhanson865, take a look at www.fueleconomy.gov's page showing drivers' actual reported mileage for those cars. The manuals have better mileage than the automatics, despite the EPA ratings. (The 6-speed has a larger engine, so it's not comparable to the others.) Poke around the site a little and you'll see the same effect for many different cars. EPA's test methods seem to have a bias against manual transmissions.

  • Dhanson865 Dhanson865 on Aug 05, 2008

    The EPA tests are far from perfect but so is anecdotal data which reported mileage most certainly is. My point is vs other cars the benefit/penalty ratio is better on the Civic Auto versus the Civic manual than it is on other cars. On some cars the EPA numbers come out even between auto vs stick such as the Honda Fit. The civic is the best case scenario for automatic transmissions outside of the Prius where there isn't a manual transition to compare against. Now no matter whose numbers you go by the difference between MPG on a Toyota or Honda small/medium car auto vs stick will be small enough that your driving style and preference will outweigh the technical side of the MPG issue. Given that, I don't understand the big complaints about slushboxes.