Much of the advice surrounding driving behaviours which improve fuel efficiency is basic. You can find tips from a host of driving resources online and you will find similarities and, not surprisingly, it’s not rocket science.
Whilst you may feel like you’re telling your experienced fleet drivers information they already know, we all also know it’s too easy for drivers to fall into bad driving habits which consume more fuel.
We looked at the guidance from the Energy Saving Trust which will result in savings at the fuel pump. In addition, much of the advice also improves safety:
- Drive smoothly
By remaining focused on what’s going on around you and maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front, drivers can more easily anticipate situations and actions from other road users avoiding the need for harsh braking as much as possible.
- Step off the accelerator
Most modern vehicles are fitted with technology which automatically switches off an idling engine whilst hybrid vehicles will swap to electric mode in lower speeds thereby saving fuel.
- Shift up early
Avoiding over acceleration saves fuel so move up through gears earlier, with 2,000-2,500 revs per minute (RPM) recommended and skipping gears to reach a higher gear quicker will also have an effect.
- Avoid excessive speed
As obvious as it sounds, remember the higher the speed the faster the fuel consumption. Maintaining a constant speed will save fuel and means drivers are less likely to have to brake and accelerate.
The Energy Saving Trust also recommends a number of other fuel saving tips which are not directly linked to driving behaviour itself.
- Use air conditioning sparingly
Using your air conditioning unit leads to higher levels of fuel consumption so using it sparingly will be beneficial. Up to 30mph, it is more fuel efficient to open your window rather than use the air con but at high speeds the reverse is true.
- Turn off/avoid idling
If your engine does not do this automatically, turn off your engine if you are stationary for any length of time – beyond a minute is the recommended time.
- Reduce drag
Accessories such as racks, roof boxes and bike carriers affect drag which in turn increases fuel consumption so if they are not in use, remove them.
- Avoid unnecessary weight
Carrying additional weight means your vehicle needs to consume more fuel to keep moving so keeping loads at a minimum helps reduce fuel bills.
Keeping your vehicle in the best condition for the road means it will operate at its optimum. Servicing your vehicle according to manufacturers’ recommendations will ensure engines are working as efficiently as possible whilst checking tyre pressure, particularly prior to a long journey, as underinflated tyres create more rolling resistance which uses more fuel.
The Trust recommends undertaking driver training and implementing incentive schemes to reward the best drivers. Company vehicle drivers who have use of a fuel card but are charged for their private mileage are more likely to adopt fuel efficient driving behaviours than if a fixed ‘pence per mile’ system is in place.
To find out how our telematics can help improve driver behaviour click here.