Invest in driver training
Driver behaviour is the biggest factor affecting fuel consumption. Investing in driver training will therefore quickly pay off and cut costs. A full training department will ensure training is in-depth and on-going – so that drivers continue to drive in a fuel efficient way.
Work with equipment manufacturers
A key aspect of driver training will often be working with the vehicle manufacturers, who can offer advice on how to get the most from their vehicles. This relationship should be extended across all equipment manufacturers. Tire, trailer, and aerodynamics suppliers can advise you on how best to use their equipment and can provide on-going maintenance to ensure fuel consumption stays as low as possible.
Make fuel efficiency a key consideration for vehicle procurement
Truck manufacturers are increasingly offering vehicles with improved fuel efficiency. The up-front cost of investing in these vehicles will be more than outweighed by the future savings from reduced fuel consumption.
Invest in cost-effective tires
The cheapest tires are not always the most cost-effective. Tires should be selected on the basis of what offers best value – this means selecting a tire that offers optimal safety, longevity and fuel efficiency, even if it may be more expensive up-front. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) can also help maximise the cost-effectiveness of tires on the long-term.
Investing in aerodynamic improvements to vehicles can pay big dividends. Aerodynamic drag is a major factor in fuel consumption and retro-fitted improvements such as side skirts can offer a quick return on investment.
Perform regular and thorough maintenance
There is little point in spending money on fuel-efficient trucks, tires, and aerodynamic improvements if this equipment is not well maintained. It is necessary to keep all of this equipment in good condition if it is to deliver the desired savings in fuel consumption.
Improve your logistics
Better route planning and journey organisation can cut journey times, avoid congestion, and reduce empty running, saving fuel.
Work with your customers
Fleets’ customers are increasingly asking for more environmental freight services. Co-operating with them can help reduce fuel consumption by making deliveries easier and journeys shorter. Customers can be encouraged to place depots out of urban centres to avoid congestion, to re-organise deliveries to reduce empty running, and to organise distribution to ensure trucks run on full, rather than half loads, improving fuel efficiency.
Use telematics to track fuel consumption
Using telematics software can allow fleets to track their fuel consumption. It can be used to identify drivers who are wasting fuel and routes plagued by congestion, allowing fleets to act on these issues.
All of the above
Improving fuel efficiency requires a holistic approach – improving in only one area is not enough, and the investment may not be recouped if other areas are neglected. Fleets need to identify a reduction target, devise a fuel management plan that covers all areas, and then measure how successful it is. This kind of thorough plan may be more expensive, but it will also save much more money in the long run.