Fiat says its eco:drive software has helped change driving habits and save fuel.

The Italian automaker claimed that, according to a test it conducted, fuel consumption dropped 6 percent on average.

Fiat evaluated 428,000 eco:drive journeys for the study, which involved 5,700 drivers from Germany, Britain, Italy, France and Spain. These drivers had to drive about 10km over a period of 150 days.

The study showed that drivers using eco:drive quickly changed their habits. Key fuel-saving improvements resulted from earlier gear shifting and anticipatory braking.

The 6 percent cut in fuel consumption translates into 1,088 kilos of CO2 during the average lifetime of a car.

Fiat said eco:driving didn’t mean journeys took longer. Drivers shaved 3.3 percent of their daily commutes to work and spent four hours a month less in their cars. Average speeds went up by 2.4 percent, because drivers halted less frequently.

The study showed that German drivers are good at shifting up quickly, but tend to accelerate too aggressively. But Germany still ends up in second place after Britain in Fiat’s ranking of most fuel-efficient drivers.

Eco:drive is built on a computer program that Fiat makes available at no cost to drivers of cars thatare equipped with its Blue&Me telematics system.

Since early this year, software made especially for fleet managers allows them to evaluate fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and costs across an entire fleet of vehicles.