1 Apr 22

10 tips for fleet drivers to save fuel

With oil prices on a rollercoaster and our energy industry in a geopolitical crisis of unprecedented size, now is the time for Fleet managers to squeeze every pinch of fuel from their cars they can. The best way? Turn the drivers into eco runners. This is how.

Tips for economical driving aren’t just helpful in times of oil shortages. With fuel being the biggest operational component of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), mounting up to 20%, the tricks below will come in handy at any given point in time. Most certainly, if one realizes that the gap between an efficient and a reckless driver can be as comprehensive as 30%!

1. Look ahead and activate cruise control

Driving up to a crossing at increased speed, applying the brakes late, and then accelerating again is the worst you can do for your consumption. Anticipating by looking forward to obstacles or traffic situations ahead is the best way to keep your travel up to tempo. This way, no excess energy is needed to recuperate the lost speed. For the same reason, cruise controls are an excellent tool for eco-driving. Neither remedy affects average speed.

2. Don’t idle

It’s a common misconception that starting an engine consumes more than letting it idle. Already after ten seconds, it is advisable to turn the engine off. Fleets can save thousands of euros per month if their drivers avoid idling, which consumes around 3,5 liters of petrol per 100 kilometres. 

3. Use Eco mode

Most modern cars have different driving modes, with an Eco or Efficiency function. It cuts off some of the power, puts more resistance in the accelerator and activates some specific aero if present. Persuade your drivers to push this button because it can help save up to half a litre per 100 kilometres.

4. Get rid of accessories

Aerodynamics and weight are crucial for consumption. Don’t run about with skiing boxes and bicycle racks unnecessarily. They disrupt the airflow, significantly boosting energy waste. Check the boot. Don’t let luggage and redundant equipment lie around for too long.

5. Charge your battery

Research and data harvesting has revealed repeatedly that plug-in hybrids aren’t being charged or not regularly enough. In particular, for drivers who live within a perimeter of 40 kilometres from work, a charged battery can make a tremendous difference in running costs. So see to it that they can also charge at work.

6. Time for telemetry?

To measure is to know. This might be the right time to put your fleet under the surveillance of a data box. These can register aforementioned spillages like idling, uncharged driving with PHEVs, unadapted driving, and so on to make sure that fleet managers can react beyond suspicion but with undeniable facts. A return on investment should be guaranteed.

7. Put the counter on the range

Why not make it a challenge? Why not reward someone who has improved vastly? It is sometimes wiser to put the counter on the range than the average consumption to keep motivation levels up. Because simple measures can quickly lead to the benefit of several kilometres visualized, the former figure is often more encouraging.

8. Monitor tyre pressure

Did you know that you can save up to one fuel tank per vehicle per year with the proper tyre pressure? That is a significant amount of money for medium-sized to large fleets in the wake of the current pump prices. Check tyre pressures monthly. Drivers can easily perform the task themselves as the appropriate psi numbers are printed on the door post or the fuel cap.

9. Brake on the gearbox or use regen

Applying the brakes is less frugal than using the engine brake. So, selecting a lower gear to slow down is more economical. As for electrified cars, it is advisable to use regenerative braking as much as possible since it recharges the battery for more range.

10. Book an eco-driving training

Eco-driving is a habit and, therefore, best trained. It can be a valuable solution for the long term. Analysis has revealed that the effect of training yields an average of 9% in fuel savings. Usually, the instructions don’t affect the average speed, keep the vehicles longer in shape and help to enhance safer driving. So, it’s multiple wins. 

Image Source: Mercedes

Authored by: Piet Andries