It is often said that fuel can equate to up to and around 30% of the total operating costs of a commercial fleet. Therefore, finding ways to improve fuel efficiency should be high on the agenda for fleet managers looking to save their business money.
New innovations and technologies are constantly being utilised in the commercial vehicle industry to find ways to reduce fuel usage and become more sustainable. From fleet telematics to fully synthetic lubricants, more fleets are saving money through fuel efficiency measures such as these.
However, to fully optimise fuel efficiency initiatives, making your drivers aware of how they can help reduce their fuel usage is key. Drivers can make a big difference to fuel consumption through implementing small changes to their driving. Improving the fuel economy of your drivers can help reduce fuel and operating costs, vehicle emissions and contribute to greater road safety.
WP Commercial have developed 7 driver efficiency tips which can help your drivers optimise the performance and fuel economy of your trucks.
- Go easy on the brakes
Braking wastes energy, converting it into unnecessary heat. It’s a known fact that harsh braking uses more fuel, with subsequent increased acceleration and gear changes using up even more. Being fully aware, anticipating potential hazards and taking preventive measures early will reduce the number of occasions drivers need to apply heavy pressure to the brakes.
- Use momentum
On modern, electronically controlled vehicles, fuel stops entering the combustion chamber when the foot is taken off the accelerator. Using the speed gathered with acceleration can be used in several ways to save fuel, such as going over hills more economically and rolling to a stop at traffic lights. Keeping an eye on the traffic conditions up ahead will give more time to anticipate speed changes. It uses less fuel to keep vehicles slowly rolling than to start from a complete stop
- Intelligent clutch control
Keep the revs down by using the clutch to your advantage; unnecessary revving increases fuel and extra wear on the engine.
- Smart gear use
Research has shown that with every upwards gear change, you improve fuel economy. So keeping in as high a gear as possible and skipping gears, when practical, makes economic sense. It isn’t necessary to use every gear, and the quicker you can reach top gear, the less fuel is used.
- Avoid unnecessary idling
Engine idling not only wastes fuel but increases emissions. Turning off the engine when it’s not in use, or when stationary in traffic for a minute or longer, will cause less pollution and save more fuel than keeping the engine idling.
- Keep an eye on the tyres
Low pressure in the tyres can increase rolling resistance and waste fuel. Tyres at the optimal pressure and with good grip are critical to operate safely and improve fuel economy. Bottom line is, you'll use less fuel if you keep your vehicle tuned and running like it should, and that includes monitoring your tyres.
- Consistent and lawful speed
Everyone knows to abide to the speed limits of the road. However, as well as braking the law, speeding can also increase the risk of accidents, add stress to the engine and waste fuel. Managing a consistent speed on motorways and dual carriageways is more economical and is much safer for motorists.
Driver education and reinforcing best practice tips and advice among your fleet can only benefit the other fuel efficiency initiatives you put in place. Not only will this result in a reduction in fuel usage, but will improve driver safety and include all staff in the wider campaign of sustainability and fuel efficiency.
However, improving driver efficiency alone will not see the desired influence on the bottom line of your business. Be sure to explore the different initiatives your business can introduce to become more sustainable. Investing in fully synthetic engine oils can optimise performance and improve engine life, whereas implementing a fuel management plan will ensure you maintain a high fuel quality with a secure plan in place should disaster strike.
Our Commercial experts are on hand to offer tailored advice and help you assess where your business can improve fuel economy and what methods are most effective to reduce fuel costs within your commercial vehicle fleet. Please contact us on 0800 980 6172 or email .