7 Fuel-Saving Tips Every Fleet Manager Should Embrace
The see-sawing price of oil is going to be a factor well into 2017, but no matter how much fuel costs smart fleet managers know fuel savings is a never-ending task. You can be sure your competitors are looking at their fuel costs. Your fleet’s gas purchases represent one of its most significant ongoing expenses – on average about 30 percent annually. Even the smallest improvement you make can add up smartly by the end of the year.
Most Important: Pay More for Better Drivers
Below are 7 important tips for good fuel savings, but there’s one tip that transcends them all: hire good drivers, and provide ample opportunities for them to learn the last about fuel savings. The drivers of American fleets are aging, and there’s a national shortage of drivers, especially good drivers. So chances are, you’re going to have to work on educating your new hires.
Drivers must realize they can make a big difference. Drivers must learn that using less fuel improves both job security and makes the environment safer through reduced emissions. Good drivers are more conscious of how they drive and how it affects fuel consumption . Experienced drivers understand the safety benefits of driving more responsibly
The Magnificent 7: Tips to Save Gas, Improve Fuel Economy
- Plan Your Route: Good drivers plan ahead, of course, but they’re planning in real time. Today’s technology lets you know of road construction issues as well as highway accidents in real time. That’s a given, but there are other details you should think about: how many right vs. left turns are you making on your route. Studies have found that factoring in right turns on a route can reduce idling time while waiting for left turns in cities, especially, burns fuel. Distance is one factor, of course, but a good driver knows that the best distance between two lines involves the least idling.
- Watch Your Speed: In city traffic, and especially rolling through small towns, resist the urge to use power take-offs and hard braking to “get there faster.” You don’t gain time, and you do waste gas. Speeding sets you up for tickets and potential accidents. Your reaction time is that much less, and just a few tickets or an accident can damage a good driver’s reputation. If you have cruise control, use it, especially on longer trips.
- Inspect Your Rig: Sweat the details every day before you set off.
- Check Your Air Filter: Once your air filter gets clogged, your engine can’t breathe. If it has to work harder, it will use more fuel.
- Check your tires: You’re looking for uneven wear. Check and correct the inflation pressure frequently. Second only to the diesel pump is the air pump. Just 1 psi under-inflation can cost you money at the pump. Improperly inflated tires make driving more difficult and increase your risk of accidents.
- Check your parking position: Parking overnight? Position your truck for a straight-forward exit in the morning, because maneuvering around when your engine is cold wastes fuel.
- Embrace Fuel Saving Technologies: Most of the today’s newer trucks come with integrated real-time telematics from GPS to preventive maintenance monitoring. More importantly, a new generation of devices that can work on old and new diesel engines has demonstrated substantial fuel savings. Fleet management software, meanwhile, allows you to have a comprehensive, automated system to gather valuable data about your fleet’s activities and performance so you can see where opportunities lie to improve mileage, routing, etc.
- Watch Your Weight: Smaller, medium-duty trucks often wind up hauling around more tools and equipment than necessary. That added weight can be a huge drag on mileage per gallon so check what you’re carrying first and foremost. On large rigs what you’re carrying is well documented, but the key here is how you’re carrying it. Efficient loading is key – use your space to capacity whenever possible and make sure loads are evenly distributed.
- Only Break When You Have To: This one comes courtesy of Benjamin Jones at Popular Mechanics. Good drivers know this, especially on long hauls. “When everyone started taking off, I gave myself a 10- or 15-second buffer before hitting the gas and accelerating. By accelerating slowly and leaving space ahead, I could see the brake lights ahead before I expended a significant amount of gas, coasting right back up to the car in front of me.”
- Don’t top your tank: It sounds silly, but gas expands as it warms up. This is certainly something to keep in mind in the summer or in areas with warm weather. Gas in underground tanks will be cooler than the air as the ground insulates it from the heat. As the fuel in your tank gets warmer it expands. As the fuel expands it has to have more room. If you overfill your rig, there is no room for the fuel to expand. As the gas expands it has to go somewhere. It could easily find its way into the vapor collection system of your own truck. This may foul the vapor system causing it to malfunction.