How to reduce fuel consumption in trucks

As fuel prices continue to trend upward, how can drivers and fleet managers reduce fuel consumption in their trucks?

According to Budget Direct (2020), the average rigid truck consumes 28.6 litres of fuel every 100km, and the average articulated truck consumes almost double. With fuel prices currently averaging about $1.50/litre, a 100km trip for an articulated truck works out to be at least $80.

Although there’s not much to be done about fuel prices, changing driving behaviours can help reduce fleet costs and improve fleet fuel efficiency.

1. Reduce idle time 

Remaining idle for an extended period of time chews up a lot more fuel than you might think. It’s a common misconception that idling is more fuel-efficient than restarting the engine. In fact, idling a truck for just 10 seconds requires more fuel than starting the engine.

Not only does reducing idling time reduce fuel costs, but it also saves unnecessary carbon dioxide emissions.


2. Correct aggressive driving behaviours

Aggressive driving causes more significant wear and tear, consumes more fuel and increases the likelihood of collisions.

This is because when a driver is following the vehicle in front at an unsafe distance, they brake and accelerate excessively to avoid tailgating and collisions. Changing speeds regularly causes the engine to switch gears inefficiently, resulting in a spike in RPM and a surge in fuel consumption.

As a fleet manager, it’s important to educate your fleet on the benefits of defensive driving and ensure your drivers stick to the speed limit.

New age technology, like our signature Lytx DriveCam vehicle tracking device and event recorder, identifies speeding and aggressive driving behaviours, helping fleet managers manage and correct fleet risky driving behaviours and excessive fuel consumption.


3. Encourage smart shifting

The higher a vehicle’s RPM, the more fuel it consumes. Smart shifting is a driving method that helps to reduce fuel costs by lessening a vehicle’s revolutions per minute.

By changing gears sooner and driving in higher gears, drivers can keep their RPM low and improve fuel efficiency.


4. Stay on top of maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring the longevity of your fleet. By staying on top of scheduled maintenance, potentially problematic issues can be resolved before they progress into more significant and problems.

Vehicle features like engine fans, battery cables, and tyre pressure can impact fuel efficiency. For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a 10% reduction in recommended tyre pressure can reduce fuel efficiency by 2%.

Make it a priority to maintain the recommended tyre pressure to improve your fleet fuel efficiency.


5. Use the most efficient routes

It goes without saying but ensuring you’re taking the most efficient routes is essential to improving the average fuel economy of your fleet.


Small changes make a big difference

If reducing fuel consumption in your trucks is a goal for your company, providing constructive feedback and ongoing coaching will help you achieve favourable results.

Fleet management telematics solutions can help you not only save money on fuel, insurance premiums, maintenance and repairs, but optimise productivity in your fleet, provide total clarity on your driver data, and minimise on-road risks so your drivers can return home safely.

Reducing fuel costs is just one of the many benefits Optix solutions provide. Find out more about how Optix can improve your fleet’s operations and safety.

If you liked this article, you might also like to explore encouraging a safe following distance when driving.

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