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Top Ten Fuel Saving Tips for Trucks!

 

Did you know that fuel accounts for around 30% of a fleet’s total operating costs?

With prices at the pumps slowly creeping back up, it makes for good business to try and minimise your fuel bills as much as you possibly can.

Haulage companies tend to look at a variety of options when it comes to curbing fuel costs — including everything from deploying hybrid-powered vehicles to implementing fleet management software. But one strategy is basically free to implement; and will have a significant impact on the fleet’s total fuel use. This fantastic fuel-saving strategy? Better driving habits!

Here are a few tips for drivers that will reduce fuel consumption and cut costs.

 

1. Staying within speed limits

Driving too fast doesn’t just burn more fuel. It places additional stress on the engine, increases accident risk and the risk of speeding fines. Research into truck fuel saving actually shows that for every 5mph driven over 65mph, there will be a 7% decrease in fuel economy. So lay off the gas!

 

2. Use your momentum

The momentum your trucks collects on the flat can be used to get over hills more economically. In some cases, momentum can be used to roll to a stop at traffic lights as well. By removing your foot from the accelerator, the engines in some modern vehicles stop using fuel at all, providing even more savings.

Using your momentum also means not wasting it through heavy braking. By being alert to upcoming traffic conditions you can eliminate unnecessary heavy braking, thus reducing the number of gear changes you need to make and avoiding any problems with a shifting load.

 

3. Avoid excessive idling

An idling truck consumes about a gallon of fuel every hour. That can quickly add up. Pause to check if you really do need your engine running. If you don’t, turn it off.

 

4. Keep your tires inflated correctly

Making sure the tires on your vehicle are kept at the correct pressure helps improve fuel economy, improves the life of the tire and reduces the chance of an accident. Make sure they’re checked regularly!

 

5. Be clever about your clutch

By this, we mean minimising the number of gear changes you make and skipping gears where possible. Remember, with every gear you change up, you improve fuel economy by almost 30% each time.

Part of using your clutch intelligently is keeping your revs down. It’s nice to know you’ve got horsepower under the hood if you need it, but too much needless revving increases fuel use and creates extra wear on the engine.

 

6. Minimise gear changes by monitoring traffic

By keeping an eye on upcoming traffic conditions, drivers can anticipate having to slow down. It is more efficient to keep the truck moving that to start from a complete stop. It also reduces the number of gear changes you need to make.

You should also be checking for any hazards ahead, both for safety reasons and to improve efficiency. Truck drivers can make use of their added height advantage to help monitor traffic and road conditions.

 

7. Avoid excessive idling

An idling truck consumes about a gallon of fuel every hour. That can quickly add up. Pause to check if you really do need your engine running. If you don’t, turn it off.

8. If you have it, employ cruise control

Cruise control can be useful on long journeys, particularly on motorways, to maintain a steady, economical and safe speed. Just remember cruise control doesn’t mean you can retire to the sleeper cab!

 

9. Always be aerodynamic

If your truck has roof-mounted air deflectors, then always adjust them to guide the air over the highest point of the trailer; ideally this should be right at the front if you have an uneven load height. While we’re talking about load height, try to keep the load as low as possible to improve the truck’s aerodynamics and thus achieve better fuel economy.

 

10. Avoid overfilling your tank

If a tank is filled to the brim it can easily overflow when the fuel is heated, either by the sun or fuel returned by the engine. This is not only dangerous to other road users, but also wasteful.

 

And as a bonus, be ready for a nice, easy departure in the morning

If you’re stopping for the night, park your truck so that you will not have to do a lot of manoeuvring in the morning with a cold engine, as this can use a lot of fuel.

If you’re a driver, why not suggest to your fleet manager rewards for economical driving by measuring fuel use across the entire team. It can actually become a fun challenge to see who the most fuel-frugal driver is. Not only does reducing fuel use boost the profitability of the firm (improving job security), but everyone can feel good that they’re doing their bit to reduce their carbon footprint and stem global warming.

 

21 Jun 2016

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