Driving more efficiently can help slash your fleet’s fuel bill and CO2 emissions. Additionally, it can minimise the wear and tear of parts like brake pads and tyres, helping you save money on replacements and repairs in the long run. Here, we’ve rounded up a few simple tips that can help cut the cost of maintaining your fleet, while also reducing your firm’s carbon footprint.
Conduct regular tyre checks
Maintaining optimal tyre pressure will lower the amount of fuel your fleet consumes, while also increasing driver safety. Under-inflated tyres increase resistance, leading to the engine having to compensate by using more fuel. In fact, lack of tyre pressure can cause engines to use up to 3 per cent more fuel for every 1psi your tyres are under-inflated. Make sure your fleet’s tyres are checked regularly (tyre manufacturer, Michelin, recommends monthly checks), and that they’ve all been inflated to the manufacturer’s standards (recommended guidelines can usually be found in the manufacturer’s booklet). Weather conditions also have an impact on tyre pressure; tyres lose pressure quicker in warmer climates, so ensure you conduct more frequent checks during the summer months.
Get rid of excess weight
A simple rule of thumb in vehicle weight management; the bigger the load, the more fuel it’ll consume. Ensure all vehicles are devoid of non-necessary items such as roof racks, to shave excess weight. This will, in turn, reduce the amount of fuel your fleet consumes. Air resistance is also a contributing factor; much of the fuel used at higher speeds goes towards overcoming this force. Any items that impact a vehicle’s aerodynamics should be removed when not in use.
Drive smarter (and safer)
Avoiding sudden acceleration and braking can significantly lower fuel consumption, while also improving driver safety. Urge your drivers to leave a reasonable gap between them and the vehicles in front, and to anticipate any sudden changes on the road. This will allow them to ease off the accelerator and cruise for longer, instead of braking sharply and consuming more fuel if things suddenly grind to a halt. Leaving the engine on when a vehicle is idling is another source of fuel wastage. When it is safe to do so, such as in car parks or driveways, you should encourage your drivers to switch off the ignition when the vehicle is not in use.
Spare the air-con
In extreme cases, air conditioning systems can use up to 4 litres of fuel per tank to during the summer months. Encourage your drivers to use them sparingly, and opt to use the vent setting instead. Opening windows can also help lower the temperature inside the vehicle, but only up to a point – driving at speeds of 60mph or more with a window open increases drag and, in certain cases, demands more fuel than air conditioning.