Coquitlam, Canada, August 14, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- For fleet managers involved in school bus and transit transportation, fuel represents one of the highest operational costs. Understandably, as fuel prices continue to rise, organizations are seeking ways to reduce and control fuel costs. With the help of leading experts in the field such as Bill Bishop from 4Refuel Canada*, Seon Design Inc. has compiled a list of the top ten ways to reduce fuel consumption:
1. Educate drivers. With proper training, drivers are the best way to improve a fleet’s fuel efficiency. Poor driving habits can have an enormous impact on efficiency, economy and emissions. Hard acceleration, speeding and idling are the biggest causes of fuel waste, increasing consumption as much as 35% (1). Initiate a training course for drivers, reward participation, reward efficiency, and encourage seasoned drivers to participate in regular refresher courses.
2. Decrease idling. Letting an engine idle more than three minutes can cause expensive damage that harms efficiency, shortens engine life and increases maintenance costs. It also quickly consumes fuel allocated to servicing a route. Idling a truck excessively can add 50% to fuel costs and shorten the life of engine oil by 75%, from 600 engine hours to 150 engine hours (2). Reducing idling time by one hour a day for 260 days will save 277 gallons of fuel (3). Initiate a campaign to reduce idling and reward participants.
3. Start slower. The first vehicle off the line pays more for fuel – a lot more. Countless studies by universities, highway authorities and engine manufacturers prove it. Jackrabbit starts save less than three minutes over 60 minutes of driving but end up using 40% more fuel and produce five times the toxic emissions (4).
4. Slow down. It’s not just dangerous – speeding wastes fuel. Highway speeds over 60 mph drastically impact fuel efficiency – cars traveling at 75 mph instead of 60 mph use 20% more fuel to cover the same distance (5). Trucks traveling at 75 mph instead of 60 mph use 50% more fuel – and that really adds up on the fuel bill (6). They also emit 100% more carbon monoxide, 50% more hydrocarbons and 31% more nitrogen oxides (7). So if drivers aren’t endangered enough by speeding, they are exposed to greater toxic emissions as well.
5. Reduce GVW. Carrying excess weight places unnecessary strain on a vehicle’s engine and greatly affects its fuel efficiency. Removing as little as 100 pounds from a vehicle can significantly improve gas mileage.
6. Use a fuel management system. Fuel management systems are the most powerful way to lower fuel costs and increase fleet productivity. Systems range from basic onsite refueling (which saves up to 20 minutes per day, per vehicle) to automated fuel tracking (which details every gallon pumped into every vehicle by date, time, quantity and fuel type) to telematics. Telematics measures overall fuel efficiency and vehicle performance. It tracks fuel waste due to idling, speeding and other factors, and it identifies critical areas where efficiency can improve fuel costs and reduce emissions.
7. Upgrade the company fleet. Whenever possible, invest in modern, fuel-efficient vehicles. Today’s modern diesel engines are far more fuel efficient and perform better with current diesel fuels such as ultra-low sulphur diesel and biodiesel. While the capital cost of new vehicles would only seem to raise overall costs, fleets that have upgraded to new diesel vehicles report saving thousands of dollars in maintenance, fuel and productivity per vehicle (8).
8. Tune-up vehicles regularly. Be sure to provide vehicles with frequent tune-ups. A poorly maintained vehicle can increase fuel consumption by up to 50% and harmful emissions even more (9). A well-maintained vehicle performs better on the road, decreases maintenance costs and improves fuel efficiency.
9. Pump it up. Proper tire inflation not only improves gas mileage (saving as much as two weeks worth of fuel per year) but also yields several other benefits, including increased tire life and improved vehicle and braking performance (10).
10. Implement advanced mobile asset management technology. Advanced mobile asset management technology can assist with fleet management and extract valuable information on its performance. This information includes total miles traveled, average speed and engine efficiency. This advanced technology can also help drivers and operators optimize routes with route planning and mapping software that can help eliminate thousands of unnecessary miles per week. Less time on the road ultimately translates into less wear-and-tear on vehicles, reduced fuel consumption, decreased expenditures and increased productivity.
Making fleet operations more efficient saves fuel – and that means saving money.
Information and recommendations in this article provided by 4Refuel Canada (4Refuel.com), U-Con Systems (u-con.ca) and Natural Resources Canada (oee.nrcan.gc.ca). A special thanks to Bill Bishop of 4Refuel Canada.
*4Refuel is Canada's largest Fuel Management organization specializing in onsite delivery, fuel logistics, automated fleet management and biodiesel solutions.
1. Natural Resources Canada , FleetSmart
2. Monash University: Accident Research Centre, The Relationship Between Fuel Economy & Safety Outcomes.
4. Natural Resources Canada, A Guide to Auto$mart Driving
6. Monash University: Accident Research Centre, The Relationship Between Fuel Economy & Safety Outcomes
8. Natural Resources Canada, Fuel Efficiency Benchmarking in Canada's Trucking Industry
9. Natural Resources Canada, Idling – Did you know?
10. Natural Resources Canada, Be Tire Smart