Industry Insights

How to Save on Fuel Costs

Fuel is one of the biggest ongoing expenses of any fleet. Wasting it costs your business unnecessary dollars that could be better used elsewhere.

Here are four ways to improve your fuel usage.

  1. Driver efficiency

The difference in fuel consumption between an efficient driver and an inefficient one can be as high as 35 per cent.

No one likes to be told how to drive. But implementing a driver incentives program could encourage the use of efficient driving techniques that will save fuel. These techniques include the following:

  • Anticipating traffic light changes to limit braking and accelerating.
  • Maintaining a constant speed by using cruise control when appropriate.
  • Driving in the appropriate gear, as a gear too high or low chews through fuel.
  • Limit idle time by turning off the engine when stopping for deliveries or pickups.

Installing a telematics unit in your truck can identify inefficient driving. It observes driving patterns that waste fuel, such as the following:

  • Over-revving
  • Excessive braking
  • Idle time

  1. Maintenance

The most dread-inducing word in the trucking industry. It can be annoying, time-consuming and costly, even if it’s important.

A poorly maintained fleet of trucks can cost your business. An old fuel filter contaminates fuel, resulting in fuel that doesn’t burn easily and thus increases your fuel consumption. Also, regular checks can help identify a money-consuming problem before it is one, reducing downtime.

Here are some ways to better maintain your trucks:

  • Be predictive in your truck maintenance. Regular servicing means that you can spot minor issues before they become a major expense.
  • A casual weekly once-over to identify problems. Drivers should check exhaust connections, oil levels and the condition and pressure of the tyres. A poorly inflated and maintained tyre can negatively affect the fuel consumption. You should also look out for leaks underneath the vehicle; cracked or damaged wiring harnesses; and signs of wear on filters, separators, hoses and belts.
  1. Efficient route planning

You may think it’s the best route, but is it really the most efficient? If your vehicle is doing 50,000 kilometres a year and just 10 per cent of those kilometres are unnecessary, you could be blowing over $1,500 in fuel each year.

Make sure your drivers are taking the most efficient routes, which can be planned by:

  • Avoiding congested areas
  • Avoiding hilly areas
  • Ensuring your drivers take the most direct route

To ensure you are taking the most efficient route, consider installing a telematics system that includes route scheduling as part of the package. This will ensure that you are doing the job using the least amount of fuel as possible.

  1. Air con usage

It’s expected that on a blistering, 40-degree day, your truckies might use the air conditioning to stay cool. However, overusing the air con when it’s not hot could be costing you in fuel.

When there’s good weather, consider opening a window instead of using the air con. Many tend to think that opening a window and creating that aerodynamic drag uses more fuel than the air con, however, this is isn’t true. It has been found that using the air con will use more fuel than driving with the window down.

Regular maintenance can help keep your truck running smoothly and (fuel-wise) efficiently, and especially so in winter. Check out our simple winter maintenance tips for your truck.