Any haulage operator or business which relies heavily on transport will say that the fuel bill is one of their biggest headaches. Even a tiny increase in the price of diesel can have a big impact on the bottom line.
Consumers are equally affected. Fuel price rises in July pushed up inflation, further squeezing household budgets.
So it’s common sense to drive in a way that makes the most efficient use of fuel and achieves as many miles per gallon as possible. Importantly, it is also better for the health and safety of the drivers.
What is fuel efficient driving?
Fuel efficient driving is a way to use less fuel when driving and it also improves driver’s safety. Adopting a few simple techniques can reduce fuel consumption by 8-10% and reduce the number of gear changes by 35-40%, which is also believed to reduce driver stress and the number of accidents on the road.
For drivers, fuel efficient driving means:
● Reduced risk of accidents
● Reduced stress levels and enhanced satisfaction of driving
● Increased confidence in vehicle control and driving technique
● Greater job efficiency and professionalism
● Potential financial incentives with some employers
For employers, it means:
● Fewer accidents and resulting vehicle down time
● Lower fuel bills
● Increased productivity and vehicle utilisation
● Improved resale value of vehicles
● Reduced running costs (particularly maintenance and tyre costs)
● Potential reductions in insurance premiums
● Reduced environmental impact
How to drive in a fuel efficient way
This all centres on the professional approach of the driver even before entering the vehicle and turning on the engine:
- Check tyre pressure and rear axle tyre clearance – a difference of 10psi from the recommended pressures, or drag on touching tyres, can reduce fuel economy by 1%.
- Fill up only to the bottom of the fuel filler neck to prevent loss from overfilling and immediately report all fuel leaks from tanks or fuel spots found under the vehicle.
- Inspect the vehicle, as damage and curtain tears can affect its aerodynamics and increase fuel consumption by up to 15%.
- Drive defensively, using forward planning to keep the vehicle moving. Stationary pull offs increase fuel consumption and wear on vehicle components, such as the clutch.
- Use correct gear/rev ratio – refer to the rev counter and attempt to keep the engine rev range in the green zone.
- Gear block changing reduces driver fatigue and wear and tear on the clutch and gearbox.
- Use of cruise controls and engine braking controls not only reduces wear on braking components but also utilises the engine management systems of the engine to their full potential in maximising fuel economy.
- Try to stay calm in all situations; driving defensively, leaving the correct stopping distances and staying within the speed limits, really helps when dealing with the ‘nutters’ on the road and keeps your GP happy with your blood pressure.
- Ensure the vehicle is parked correctly and in the right place to prevent unnecessary yard shunting.
These are just some ideas, and you may have some of your own – we’d love to hear them. If you’re interested in a driving career, or are looking for new opportunities, please get in touch with our driving team here are 24-7 Staffing.