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[en] Increasing energy efficiency is a cornerstone of policy initiatives to tackle climate change and increase corporate sustainability. Convincing people to drive more fuel-efficiently (“eco-driving”) is often an integral part of these approaches, especially in the transport sector. But there is a lack of studies on the long-term persistence and potential interaction of the effects of incentives and training on energy conservation behavior in general and eco-driving behavior in particular. We address this gap with a twelve months long natural field experiment in a logistics company to analyze the time-dependent and potentially interacting effects of rewards and theoretical training for eco-driving on fuel consumption in a real-world setting. We find an immediate reduction of fuel consumption following the introduction of a non-monetary reward and an attenuation of this effect over time. Theoretical eco-driving training shows no effect, neither short-term nor long-term, highlighting the often neglected necessity to include practical training elements. Contrary to common assumptions, the interaction of incentives and theoretical training does not show an additional reduction effect. Our results demonstrate the difficulty of changing engrained behavior and habits, and underline the need for a careful selection and combination of interventions. Policy implications for public and private actors are discussed. - Highlights: • Natural field experiment on training and incentives for fuel-efficient driving. • Focus on long-term and interaction effects over twelve months. • Immediate reduction effect of non-monetary reward that attenuates over time. • Theoretical eco-driving training shows no effect, neither short-term nor long-term. • Interaction of incentives and training shows no additional reduction effect.
[en] Highlights: • We conduct a natural field experiment on incentives for fuel-efficient driving. • A monetary and a tangible non-monetary reward for eco-driving are compared. • The non-monetary reward results in an average reduction of fuel consumption of 5%. • There is only a small reduction effect in the equivalent monetary reward treatment. • Emphasis of fun, emotional responses and frequency of recalling might play a role. - Abstract: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a highly prevalent goal of public policy in many countries around the world. Convincing people to drive more fuel-efficiently (“eco-driving”) can contribute substantially to this goal and is often an integral part of policy initiatives. However, there is a lack of scientific studies on the effects of individual monetary and non-monetary incentives for eco-driving, especially in organizational settings and with regards to demonstrating causality, e.g., by using controlled experiments. We address this gap with a six months long controlled natural field experiment and introduce a monetary and a non-monetary reward for eco-driving to drivers of light commercial vehicles in different branches of a logistics company. Our results show an average reduction of fuel consumption of 5% due to a tangible non-monetary reward and suggest only a small reduction of the average fuel consumption in the equivalent monetary reward treatment. We find indications that more emphasis on the fun of achieving a higher fuel efficiency, a more emotional response to non-monetary incentives, and a higher frequency of thinking and talking about non-monetary incentives might play a role in the stronger effect of the tangible non-monetary reward. Policy implications for private and public actors are discussed.