Are you looking to make savings with your fleet management strategy? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Recent statistics, released by the Society of the Irish Motoring Industry (SIMI) suggest that many in the Irish motoring industry are tightening their belts. Light commercial vehicles (LCV) in particular, seem to be hit hard with sales falling by 28% in February, compared to the same period last year. SIMI director Alan Nolan notes that while February figures were expected to be low, because of factors like Brexit’s continued impact on vehicle imports, these figures are still “somewhat poorer than we had hoped.”
So, if you’re looking to reduce your fleet management costs fuel may be a good place to start. After all it’s estimated that fuel accounts for approximately 30% of the total operational costs of commercial vehicles. So even increasing the miles per gallon (MPG) of your vehicles by a couple of miles can save you thousands of euro each year.
To help you do this, we’ve compiled a list of the top 7 tips to reduce your commercial vehicle’s fuel consumption. The list covers everything from smart use of gears, to tyre pressure. So, if you want to improve the fuel efficiency of your commercial vehicles, take a look at our helpful guide below.
1. No idling
Your drivers’ driving style can make a big difference when it comes to fuel consumption. Therefore, training your drivers to be more efficient will not only reduce operating expenses, but promote road safety as well.
One such way to do this, is to cut out any unnecessary idling, as it wastes fuel. Turning off the engine when it’s not in use or when you’re stationary in heavy traffic will save fuel and reduce air pollution. Did you know that you can use up to a quarter a gallon of petrol for every 15 minutes you idle? A handy rule of thumb is that, any idling over 10 seconds, uses more fuel that shutting off and restarting your vehicle.
2. Driving Consistently
Another good way to preserve fuel is to drive smoothly, at a consistent speed. Obviously, it’s important to instruct your drivers to stay within the designated speed limit. However, if minimising your fuel costs is important to your business, maintaining a consistent speed is both safer and more fuel efficient that harsh braking and fast accelerating.
3. Utilise Your Vehicles Movement
With most modern vehicles, fuel won’t enter the combustion chamber once you remove your foot from the accelerator. Using speed gathered through acceleration, can allow you to step off the accelerator and save fuel. This can happen if you are going down a hill or rolling towards a stop light. Watch out for traffic conditions ahead so you can anticipate changes in speed. It’s more fuel efficient to keep vehicles rolling slowly, than to accelerate from a complete stop.
4. Smart Use of Gears
With each upward change of gear, you can reduce fuel consumption. Therefore, keeping your gear as high as is feasibly possible is a good way to limit the amount of fuel you use. A higher gear is more efficient on level ground, because there is almost no load on the engine. Inform your drivers that the sooner they reach the top gear, the less fuel they will use.
5. Clutch Control
Another handy fleet management technique to reduce fuel consumption is to minimise revs. Unnecessary revving increases fuel consumption and puts extra strain on the engine. By using the clutch of your commercial vehicle intelligently you can minimise fuel waste and reduce wear on the engine.
Earlier we talked about driving at a consistent speed, well avoiding excessive braking follows the same principle. Harsh braking increases fuel consumption due to the increased levels of acceleration and number of gear changes. Drivers can limit the frequency of harsh braking by being alert on the road, anticipating potential road hazards and taking preventative measures.
Regularly checking the tyre pressure of your commercial vehicles is one of the easiest fleet management solutions to improve the fuel efficiency of your fleet. Under-inflated tyres can waste fuel by 0.3% for every 1.0 psi drop in pressure. So, making sure your tyres are of optimal pressure and with good grip will help reduce fuel consumption.
Keep these tips in mind when training your drivers. Small changes can go a long way to improving the fuel efficiency of your vehicles. By incorporating these tips into your commercial fleet management strategy you’ll save on fuel expenses and encourage safer driving.
If your fleet of commercial vehicles is in need of a service, our experienced team are here to help. Our extensive facilitates can accommodate both light and heavy commercial vehicles and provide an array of fleet management solutions including commercial vehicle servicing and Bluefleet rentals. So, don’t delay. Get in touch with us today.