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How to Improve Fuel Economy in 5 Simple Steps

Fuel cost remains one of the leading expenses for trucking companies so it’s unsurprising that fleets are always looking for ways to save on fuel. As costs fluctuate, fleets need to focus on factors they can control to keep costs down. The driver influences almost all elements of fuel consumption so it’s important for fleet managers to educate their team on how to improve their fuel economy. Some of the simplest ways drivers can reduce fuel consumption include:

  1. Reducing speed. Getting to their final destination faster can influence truckers to drive at the maximum allowable speed, but this adds up quickly at the pump. By reducing their top speed to 65 mph from 75 mph, drivers would use 27% less fuel.
  2. Limiting idling. Drivers can’t always avoid idling such as when they’re stuck in traffic. However, idling to provide power to the cab for electronics during rest periods is 100% at their discretion.
  3. Curbing accessory use. In-cab accessories have their uses, but they also leech power. This energy loss adds up to greater fuel expense over time and can even become a hazardous distraction. For example, charging cellphones while driving is convenient, but it can also tempt drivers to text and drive.
  4. Cruising and coasting. Utilizing cruise control and coasting the truck whenever possible reduce fuel consumption. On long stretches of highway, cruise control maintains a steady speed, which cuts down on costs associated with revving to get back up to speed. However, cruise control ceases to be effective in hilly areas. Instead, drivers should coast down hills to reduce fuel costs. One caveat: coasting in neutral is illegal in many states so always stay in gear.
  5. Smart braking and accelerating. Hard braking doesn’t just consume excess fuel, it’s also a sign of dangerous driving. Sometimes, hard braking is unavoidable such as when a motorist cuts off the truck. However, other types of hard braking imply the driver isn’t allowing enough following distance and can result in accidents. Rapid acceleration also consumes a lot of fuel so drivers should aim for smooth accelerations instead.

Holding regular meetings or training events can help drivers remember and implement the above to save on fuel costs. Creating incentive programs can further help this initiative such as offering bonuses or rewards to the driver who reduces his or her fuel consumption the most each month.

For more information on how to reduce trucking expenses, contact the experts at Encompass Risk Solutions.

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Ken Lacey

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