Protecting the environment whilst making sure your fleet is running efficiently, is arguably one of the biggest challenges that fleet owners face today. In a competitive market, it is crucial to take environmental responsibility seriously. The best trucking companies are embracing sustainability by developing initiatives that lessen the impact on the environment. One of the most efficient ways to achieve this is to promote greener transportation through reducing fuel consumption.
Research has shown that fleet owners can improve fuel economy by training drivers to operate their vehicles more efficiently. Drivers play a key role in obtaining the best possible fuel economy from their trucks, since they control performance factors such as idling times, brake use and speed. Training drivers to implement safe driving techniques makes for substantial savings, can lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions, and promotes a positive corporate image.
In this article we will give you some practical tips on how you can become more sustainable through applying safe driving practices.
- Anticipating events
Harsh braking, harsh acceleration, and other performance factors can all cause fuel costs to rise. For example, when a driver approaches a red traffic light and attempts to come to a rolling stop, it may lead to harsh braking at the last minute. Proper driver training, as well as sophisticated fleet management systems (https://www.ctrack.com/za/fleet-management/), can help to improve driver behaviour.
- Selecting the right gear
Driving in a gear lower than you need – and letting the engine labour in top gear over hills and around corners – wastes fuel. Change up through the gears and into top gear as soon as possible, without accelerating harder than necessary. Use cruise control where appropriate, as maintaining a consistent speed is energy efficient.
- Maintaining a consistent speed
The speed at which drivers travel is a key factor in improving fuel efficiency. While every vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed, fuel economy typically decreases rapidly at speeds above 80 km/h. Maintaining a moderate speed of 80 km/h will contribute significantly to fuel savings (even if lower speeds may increase travel times).
- Removing unnecessary weight
Statistics have shown that an extra 50 kg of unnecessary cargo weight can increase fuel consumption by as much as 2%. The smaller the engine of the truck, the greater the effect. Even if your operation is not payload-critical, removing unnecessary weight from the truck will save fuel.
- Using your air conditioner efficiently
Using a vehicle’s air conditioner on a hot summer day can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10% when driving in the city. If it’s cool enough, turn off the air conditioner and open the window. If possible, use the air conditioner only during longer journeys.
- Reducing idling times
When idling, an internal combustion engine consumes approximately 1 litre of fuel per hour. Switch off the engine when you know the truck will be standing still for more than one minute.
- Maintaining the correct tyre pressure
Low tyre pressure and the resulting increase in rolling resistance leads directly to higher fuel consumption. When choosing your tyre, consider low rolling resistance tyres. These types of tyres minimise wasted energy as the tyre rolls, thereby decreasing the required rolling effort.