Great fuel efficiency is the goal of every truck driver and fleet manager. While there are some things beyond your control, there are certainly a lot of things that you can do to ensure that you get the most out of every tank of gas, which translates to cost savings. There are factors that can impact the fuel efficiency of trucks that are within your control. We’ve listed three things that can influence about 70 percent of your total fuel efficiency:
1. Driver Behavior
Perhaps the most important factor impacting fuel economy is the behavior of your drivers. Since fuel is often one of the largest costs for fleet managers, understanding how drivers can improve fuel efficiency, and training them properly, can make a big difference in your bottom line. Good driving habits include:
- Keeping RPMs at a minimal level
- Anticipating and avoiding traffic
- Maintaining a more constant speed and reducing stops
- Driving the speed limit (this is good for safety as well)
- Reducing idling time
- Staying in the top gear whenever possible
When good driver behavior isn’t quite enough for fuel cost reduction due to road conditions or other uncontrollable factors, having the right technology and the right trucks can bridge the gap and help you realize cost savings. For example, with a Detroit engine, you can even get some of the same benefits of high-speed driving—such as reduced friction and wear and tear on the engine—when driving at lower speeds.
Vehicle maintenance is also an important factor in improving the fuel efficiency of your fleet. To keep your fuel efficiency high:
- Check tire inflation regularly. Tires that are underinflated by even 10psi have been shown to reduce fuel efficiency by 1 percent. Multiplied across thousands of miles, this can add up to significant fuel costs.
- Align your axles. Any type of axle that gets out of alignment can reduce fuel economy and can also cause irregular wear on the tires.
- Check your lubricants. Synthetic lubricants help provide your engine with what it needs to run efficiently and keep the engine at a stable temperature no matter the climate.
- Inspect the air conditioning. For maximum fuel efficiency, you need an air conditioner that is working properly. Check the AC components, such as the compressor, to make sure it’s running efficiently and not requiring your engine to work harder and burn more fuel.
3. Vehicle Aerodynamics
Another place where fleet managers can realize cost savings is in the design of their trucks. More aerodynamic designs can reduce wind resistance—known as drag—on the vehicle. Trucks traveling at high speeds for prolonged periods of time can experience much higher levels of drag, and therefore will benefit the most from aerodynamic designs such as bumper closures, streamlined airflow around the windshield, mirror shapes, rear wheel covers, side extenders, and more.
Find out more about the technology available today that can improve the fuel efficiency of your fleet and boost your bottom line.