With the ever-increasing energy and business operations costs, businesses must ensure that saving fuel is at the top of their list of priorities. High monthly fuel costs have a direct impact on a business’s operational costs and can easily eat away at hard-earned profits.
Implementing a range of fuel savings techniques can help employees and fleet managers – no matter the size of the enterprise – cut down on fuel expenses, saving money and reducing the impact on the environment.
Continue reading to learn more about which driving techniques can save fuel and what advantages implementing fuel-efficient driving practices holds for your fleet’s vehicles and business operations.
What Do We Mean By Fuel-Efficient Driving Practices?
Fuel-efficient driving practices are a range of handy tricks and techniques that businesses can implement to encourage better driving behaviour and improve fuel economy.
These practices aim to save fuel, improve driver behaviour and better vehicle performance and road safety.
By implementing these fuel-saving techniques, vehicle owners and business fleets – regardless of their size – can reduce their monthly fuel expenditure and overall environmental impact.
Benefits Of Fuel-Efficient Driving
Embracing fuel-efficient driving techniques holds immense benefits for businesses, including:
This is one of the most important reasons why many fleet managers aim to reduce their fleet’s fuel consumption. Every litre of fuel saved directly translates into improved fuel economy and a reduction in operational expenses. In the short, medium and long term, this can contribute to a business’s profitability.
An improvement in your driving technique and a reduction in fuel consumption also benefits the environment. The less fuel a fleet uses, the less exhaust gases and carbon emissions end up in the environment. By implementing these driving techniques, businesses can minimise their overall carbon footprint and help counter climate change.
Overall improved road safety
By being more aware of your driving behaviour, you can also contribute to safer roads. Being more aware of how often you accelerate or brake and sticking to the speed limit leads to safer roads and better driving conditions.
Lower maintenance costs
Adhering to the tried and trusted fuel-efficient driving techniques also holds a wealth of benefits for your fleet’s vehicles. Gently accelerating or braking ensures reduced wear and tear on vehicle tyres and brakes, helping to reduce maintenance costs and saving you money.
Key Fuel-Efficient Driving Techniques
There are several, proven techniques fleet owners and drivers can use to help better their fleet’s fuel economy, reduce vehicle wear and tear, curb monthly business operating costs and make roads safer:
Gentle acceleration and braking
Not only does this driving technique make roads safer, but it also helps save fuel.
Employees should adapt their driving technique to anticipate road conditions to allow for enough time to brake when needed. Harsh braking also increases wear and tear on a vehicle’s brake pads. Gentle braking, when reducing speed or bringing a vehicle to a stop, helps extend the lifetime of brake pads and tyres. In turn, this can save money on maintenance needs.
When pulling away from a traffic light, do so at a normal, gradual speed to reduce fuel consumption.
Maintaining a steady and consistent speed
Maintaining a steady and consistent speed also helps save fuel and contributes to road safety. Always stick to the speed limit. Not only does this ensure that you can brake in time – when needed – but it also helps you avoid speeding fines.
Be aware of what’s going on in traffic. This will ensure that you can react when needed. Use your vehicle’s cruise control to drive at a consistent speed (and within the speed limit) to use your fuel more economically. However, remember to switch off your cruise control when driving uphill.
Also, use your vehicle tracking systems to plan routes ahead of time. This can help you to choose routes that have straight roads, allowing you to maintain a more consistent speed throughout the journey. Long, winding roads require you to break more often – which increases fuel consumption and wear and tear.
Warm the engine up before driving
Before starting your journey, ensure that your car’s engine is properly warmed up. A cold engine will lead to your vehicle using more fuel. While driving, switch off your air conditioning as it causes the vehicle to use more fuel.
Reducing idling time
Many fleet owners agree that leaving a vehicle idling is like leaving the tap open when washing your face or brushing your teeth – it wastes a lot of fuel. Instead of leaving your vehicle idling – when taking a quick break, stuck at the traffic lights or even having your lunch – switch off the vehicle to save fuel.
Estimates show that 10 seconds of idling uses much more fuel than restarting. Some heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) can use up to 5 litres of diesel while idling, while a panel van left idling for 30 minutes a day consumes a tank of fuel every month.
Avoiding aggressive driving
Aggressive driving only causes you to waste fuel and increases the risk of an accident. Refrain from speeding, tailgating or rapidly changing lanes. Encourage your employees to adopt a culture of defensive driving to promote road safety and save fuel.
Vehicle tracking systems offer driver behaviour analysis, allowing fleet managers to gain valuable insights into the performance of their drivers. Detailed reports can help to identify any incidents of dangerous driving and areas of improvement for specific drivers.
Training Drivers And Tracking Behaviour
Monitoring driver behaviour is a very important step in improving driver performance.
Implementing education and awareness programmes will make employees aware of where their driving lacks and where it can be improved.
Crystal Ball’s Driver Behaviour solution – installed in your company car, truck, van, motorbike or trailer – is a great tool for this purpose. Fleet managers can use this handy tool to calculate driver scores (calculated using individual driving habits, such as speeding, braking, acceleration and cornering) to identify their best-performing drivers and their high-risk drivers.
Driver scores are used to identify which drivers should improve their driving and which drivers should receive additional driver training. Though driving styles and habits can’t immediately be drastically improved, fleet managers can – using driver scores – expect to observe gradual changes in a driver’s behaviour.
All in all, improving driving scores is a great way for businesses to increase fuel efficiency, reduce fuel costs and insurance premiums, and promote road safety.
Fuel-efficient driving techniques hold a range of benefits for many business fleets. If properly implemented and practised, these techniques can improve road safety, lower fleet maintenance costs and reduce fuel usage.
Using Crystal Ball’s Driver Behaviour and vehicle tracking solutions, fleet managers can monitor and improve their drivers’ behaviour with greater ease. It also creates opportunities for targeted training and employee incentives.