Every fleet owner would love to reduce fuel consumption, improve driver safety and minimize truck repairs. There is a simple way to meet all three of these goals without adding expense to the bottom line: better driving habits.
Truck manufacturer Peterbilt Motors Co. recently introduced an in-truck messaging system that coaches drivers on efficient ways to operate their vehicles. However, you do not need to install an LCD screen on the dashboard of every truck in your fleet to start saving money through better driving.
Below are a few simple driving tips that can keep your drivers safe, lead to significant fuel savings and reduce wear-and-tear on your fleet:
- Slow Down. Speeding increases road friction and aerodynamic “drag,” both of which cause trucks to guzzle more gas. Studies have shown that reducing a truck’s highway speed from 75 to 65 miles per hour can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 25%. A lower RPM also means less strain and a longer life for the engine and tires. Of course, these benefits must be measured against the additional time it will take your loads to reach their destinations.
- Ease Up on the Pedals. Quick acceleration and sudden braking can be big fuel-burners. They are also hard on the truck. Greater use of engine retarder devices and less brake pedal usage can increase the life of the foundation brakes.
- Reduce Idling. Turning off the truck engine when it is not in use seems like a no-brainer. But fleets rack up a lot of fuel expense each year from the time trucks spend sitting in one place with their engines running.
- Anticipate the Half-Mile Ahead. Keeping an eye on potential obstacles and stoplights down the road is a smart, safe way to drive. It also saves fuel because you will not have to brake or accelerate as abruptly if you know what lies ahead.
- Roll When You Can. Anticipatory driving means you can sometimes take the foot off the gas and roll to a stop instead of braking. This can slowly add up to better fuel consumption.
- Plan Thoroughly. Organize your routes and deliveries with efficient driving and fuel savings in mind. Is there a route that requires less stop-and-start driving? Which way allows you to maximize your time in top gear? Can you pick up a load earlier in order to reduce your speed on a route?
- Stick to a Service Schedule. Regular maintenance will help your fleet operate more efficiently. A poorly tuned engine burns more fuel. Poor alignment, under-inflated tires and dirty filters also lead to more fuel consumption.
Sources: The Chicago Tribune, Peterbilt Motors Co., Overdrive, TruckingInfo.com, FindATruckingJob.com