Distribution: Factors affecting fuel economy
- Vehicle maintenance. Make sure vehicles are being well maintained. Regular and proper maintenance is essential to keeping vehicles running efficiently. The better vehicles are maintained, the more miles per gallon they will achieve.
- Tires. As discussed last month, there needs to be a tire management program and policy in place, and adhered to. Poor tire condition and improper inflation are major contributors to reduced fuel economy and also adversely affect vehicle handling, traction and braking.
- Vehicle inspections. Be certain drivers are diligent in doing their pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections and are reporting any deficiencies or problems. Additionally, be sure service personnel are correcting these issues. Have them pay particular attention to any reported performance problems that may be decreasing fuel mileage.
- Driving techniques. No matter how well maintained any vehicle is, it will not achieve good fuel economy or life if it is driven “irresponsibly.” It is critical to educate your drivers on how to drive your trucks to get the best fuel economy, and why this matters. Drivers are the biggest factor in fuel economy â€” good or bad.
- Idling. Eliminate unnecessary idle time as it wastes fuel and costs money. Have your drivers shut off the engine whenever possible. For example, if they anticipate a lengthy wait or delivery, or are stuck in a traffic jam.
- Information. The only way to accurately gauge fuel savings is to track such measures as fuel consumed, fuel mileage, average vehicle speed, idle time and so forth. Tracking such information can help you identify drivers who are getting poor fuel mileage, giving you an opportunity to help them improve. What’s more, by keeping fuel mileage records, you can create incentive programs and bonus opportunities to reward drivers for achieving specific fuel economy targets. This has been shown to be an effective way to increase fleet fuel economy.
- Routing. Check your routes to ensure they are optimized for fuel mileage. It doesn’t make sense to save a few miles from one stop to another if a truck will burn more fuel traveling between the stops. A wide variety of routing optimization software programs are available. Make your drivers aware of such things as sporting events, road closures, road construction and route conditions. This can help them avoid traffic congestion, which produces high-idle time situations and wasted time.
- Equipment specification. When spec’ing new vehicles, be sure to include a balance of fuel economy and performance as a key consideration, along with durability, dependability, serviceability and driver retention.