How to save gas while driving commercial vehicles

How to save gas while driving commercial vehicles

Fuel consumption accounts for up to 60% of operating costs in a company’s total fleet budget. By reducing your fuel consumption, you can improve your bottom line.

Companies are now using fleet management systems and fleet fuel tax apps to improve fuel efficiency. Fleet management systems help track, optimize, and manage the fleet’s fuel usage, while fleet fuel tax apps are perfect for monitoring fuel purchase data and fuel tax submissions.

Continue reading to learn more fuel-saving tips for drivers and fleet owners.

How to save fuel as a driver

Below are several ways commercial drivers can cut fuel consumption and save on fuel costs.

Monitor tire pressure

Ensuring your tires aren’t over or underinflated can help you save on fuel costs and other expenses.

For openers, it’s a good practice to maintain proper tire inflation based on the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and perform routine maintenance checks to ensure safety and better fuel economy.

However, you must be careful to avoid overinflating tires as excess air pressure can distort your tire’s shape, leading to lower traction and increasing the wear and tear down the tire’s center. Overinflation can also cause tires to wear out more quickly, adding to repair and maintenance costs.

Underinflated tires can increase the vehicle’s drag. By working harder, the vehicle consumes more fuel and increases the likelihood of tread separation and tire blowouts, which can cause accidents.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can improve gas mileage from 0.6% to up to 3% by keeping your vehicle’s tires properly inflated.

Drive steadily

Avoid fuel-wasting driving practices, such as varying your speed between 75 and 85 km per hour every 18 seconds. This increases your fuel usage by 20%.

Use cruise control when driving on highways. However, slight speed variations can be beneficial when going downhill since gravity can do most of the work. You can also drop your speed during uphill travels, then regain time when going downhill.

Ensure your vehicle is aerodynamic

Ensuring good aerodynamics for your vehicle can reduce drag and help improve your fuel efficiency, particularly at high speeds.

Closing your windows and moonroof or sunroof (if you drive SUVs, limousines, etc.) on the freeway and even keeping your vehicle’s exterior clean can reduce drag and make a difference in your fuel efficiency.

Additionally, keeping your vehicle aerodynamically sound is also helpful when specifying your vehicle for fuel mileage and improving fuel efficiency.

Check traffic conditions

Look up the traffic conditions along your route before taking off to avoid heavy traffic that can lengthen your vehicle’s idling time and increase your fuel consumption.

Follow these tips to save fuel:

  • Map out your route, especially for long trips.
  • Avoid roads that cut through known congestion sites. These are usually dotted with intersections, pedestrians, and stoplights and/or busy during rush hours.
  • Listen to traffic reports and avoid locations where accidents have taken place or there’s road construction.

Also, look ahead while driving and keep a proper distance between your vehicle and those in front. Knowing what other cars and pedestrians are doing allows you to anticipate their next move. This helps you keep your speed steady and use less fuel.

Checking and actively watching traffic conditions can also improve your safety while driving.

How to conserve gas when running low

It’s challenging to keep your vehicle running when you’re running on an almost empty tank. However, there are fuel-saving tips you can follow to conserve gas and keep your vehicle running until you reach the next gas station.

Turn off the AC

Switching off your air conditioner (or heater) can help reduce your fuel consumption by 25%. While this can be challenging to do during summer or winter, you’re better off sweating or feeling cold for a few minutes until you get to a gas station than running out of fuel and getting stuck in the same conditions for hours.

Reduce your speed

While it can be tempting to speed up to get to the closest gas station quickly, the faster you go, the more fuel your vehicle uses.

Close the windows

Save gas by closing your vehicle’s windows. When traveling at high speeds, wind resistance is improved when the windows are rolled up. An open window can reduce your vehicle’s aerodynamics, creating air resistance that leads to more fuel consumption.

How to save fuel as a fleet manager

Fleet managers play a crucial role in optimizing fuel consumption and increasing fuel efficiency.

Below are tips that fleet managers can use to save fuel.

Optimize routes

Electronic logging devices or ELDs include GPS tracking features you can use to help decrease fuel consumption and increase route management efficiency.

Efficient route management ensures your drivers are taking the shortest or most efficient route to their destination which positively impacts the amount of fuel they consume. Fleet managers can use GPS tracking to identify the shortest and least congested routes.

Additionally, proper fleet management allows you to consolidate trips and ensure drivers aren’t making unnecessary trips that consume more fuel than necessary.

Real-time tracking and vehicle monitoring can also help curtail unsanctioned route deviations.

Reduce idling

Vehicle idling is when a vehicle is left running while stopped. Even a still vehicle can increase fuel consumption.

Trucks that consume $70,000 of fuel per year are estimated to spend an average of $5,600 on idling.

If you’re managing 100 commercial vehicles, you’d be wasting a total of $560,000 every year due to vehicle idling. That’s more than half a million dollars you can easily save by monitoring vehicles and ensuring commercial drivers cut down on idling.

The KeepTruckin fleet management solution has an idle-time tracking feature that lets fleet managers identify and train drivers who are consistently guilty of excessive idling.

You can also use truck tracking to reduce fuel costs. This allows you to identify drivers who idle for too long or too frequently, including comparing drivers’ performances across different terminals.

Invest in fuel efficiency solutions

A robust fuel efficiency solution can give you a consolidated view of your fleet’s fuel consumption and help you easily identify which drivers and driving behaviors lead to high fuel consumption, and understand which vehicles are fuel guzzlers.

You can easily benchmark the information and manage and optimize your fuel usage for better efficiency through driver training and maintaining or retiring vehicles that consume a large amount of fuel.

Some fuel maintenance solutions even possess artificial intelligence (AI) features that can automatically detect vehicles and driver behaviors that cause unnecessary fuel usage and waste.

How KeepTruckin can help improve fuel efficiency

The KeepTruckin fleet management solution is packed with features such as idle-time tracking, vehicle diagnostics, and GPS tracking. All these features play crucial roles in minimizing fuel-related expenditures.

Request a free demo of the KeepTruckin fleet management solution and see how it can help you bring down your fuel costs every month. Call 844-325-9230 if you have any questions.

All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, and does not constitute financial, business, or legal advice. Although KeepTruckin strives to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, business and financial, or tax-related decisions. Some of the links contained within this site will let you leave the KeepTruckin website. The linked sites are not under the control of KeepTruckin, nor is KeepTruckin responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. These links are provided to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the site or affiliation.



Jimmy Rodela writes about transportation industry challenges, insights, and compliance news. He specializes in digital media and blogging.

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