How to improve fleet fuel efficiency and lower costs

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel remains one of the key costs for every fleet manager, often consuming more that 30% of fleet expenditure. It is necessary to run your fleet, but there is little you can do to manage the fluctuating fuel prices at the pumps. You can however follow these top tips to help improve your fleet’s fuel efficiency and in turn lower your costs.

A vehicle’s fuel efficiency can be impacted by poor driving behaviours such as aggressive driving behaviour and idling.

Instilling safe driving practices and fuel efficient driving techniques within your organisation can reduce vehicle wear and tear, and improve fuel efficiency.

Fuel Efficient Driving Techniques:

Drive smoothly

Anticipate situations and other road users as far ahead as possible
to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration.
Maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front so that you
can regulate your speed when necessary without using the brakes.

Step off the accelerator

When slowing down or driving downhill, remain in gear but take
your foot off the accelerator as early as possible. In most situations
and for most vehicles this will activate the fuel cut-off switch,
reducing fuel flow to virtually zero.

Shift up early

When accelerating shift to higher gear early, usually by around
2,000-2,500 revs per minute (RPM).

Skip gears e.g. 3rd to 5th or 4th to 6th when appropriate.

Avoid excessive speed

High speeds greatly increase fuel consumption.

It’s important to keep your fleet vehicles well maintained and serviced- a daily vehicle check is one way many organisations adopt to keep on top of this, particularly if a fleet manager does not have visibility of the vehicles on a regular basis.

One of the most common factor of poor fuel efficiency is improperly inflated tyres, which can both adversely affect a car’s mileage and lead to uneven and/or premature tread wear. Checking tyre pressure often, using a simple tyre gauge, is important as the PSI can quickly vary just with a change in the temperature. Tyres should be properly inflated according to the PSI recommended by the automaker (it’s usually noted on a sticker that’s affixed to the driver’s-side door frame).

One of the best ways to save fuel is to simply turn off a car’s engine while waiting for more than 30 second, many of today’s vehicles come with stop/start systems that accomplish this task automatically.

Read the road by anticipating the movement of traffic and using the brakes as little as possible to keep things smooth. Be gentle and change gear early. Accelerate and brake gently.

 

Sticking to the speed limits can save you fuel. It is believed that doing 80mph uses up to 25% more fuel than doing 70mph!

Have you checked your fuel cap recently?  Research suggests that many vehicles have broken or missing fuel caps, and this reduces fuel mileage and allows harmful fumes to escape that contribute to smog.

The heavier the vehicle, the higher the fuel consumption. Reducing a vehicle’s weight is one of the easiest way to boost its fuel economy.

Try and encourage drivers and sales reps to reduce the number of unnecessary or personal items in vehicles. And, ensure when planning delivery routes that you are going to the closest deliveries first so you’re reducing driving time with full loads – lightening the vehicle as you go.

Unless it’s really cold or hot in the car, leave the air-con turned off- using it can put a strain on the engine and burns more fuel, especially at low speeds. This is also the same for heated windscreens, demisters and other electrical appliances.

It may seem simple, but efficiently route planning is the first step to minimising fuel wastage. Ensure your drivers are taking the most efficient and safest routes, not the most scenic routes!

For fleet managers running a fleet of delivery vehicles, efficient route planning will save time, mileage and fuel.

Are multiple staff members attending the same site in multiple cars? Encouraging car sharing or introducing pool cars are ways of reducing fleet fuel wastage.

 

Each of these solutions can be employed independently, however each of these work best when used in conjunction with each other.

As well as helping cut fleet operation costs, improving fuel efficiency can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your business.