The cost of running a fleet can be one of the highest expenses a business can incur, with the ever-increasing cost of fuel making business trips more and more expensive. Managing fuel costs and mileage while reducing emissions are some of the greatest challenges fleet managers face.
There is no quick fix to reducing fuel costs with alternatives such as switching to electric powered vehicles requiring time and investment. With that in mind here is a range of small and simple steps that can be taken to help increase fuel efficiency.
1) Careful Driving
The greater the vehicles fuel efficiency the less fuel it is going to use and in turn the less your fleet is going to cost. Training your fleet drivers to accelerate gradually and try to maintain a steady speed in the highest possible gear will help reach the optimum MPG figure. The optimum driving speed for fuel economy will vary with every vehicle with the average being around 55/56mph. This figure often used by car manufacturers to quote fuel consumption figures.
2) Tyre Pressure
Tyres can lose air pressure at a rate up to 2 PSI every month. This affects not only the tread life of the tyre but also reduces fuel efficiency due to the reduction of rolling resistance with the road. Monthly driver tyre checks should be included within your driver handbook with a note to vary the pressure depending on vehicle load. As an example, if you have four passengers all with luggage then you will need your tyres inflated to the maximum recommended pressures.
Drivers should also remember that over-inflated tyres can affect fuel efficiency as much as underinflated ones.
3) The Price of Air Condition
Not using the air conditioning system is the last thing your drivers will want to do in the current heat wave. Although it might make a journey more comfortable it uses a great deal of fuel due to the strain it puts on the engine. Drivers should try to avoid excessive use of your air con when stuck in traffic. Engines have to work harder in stop-start traffic so using the air con will only add to this strain and use more fuel. In slow moving traffic rolling down the windows is a much better choice.
We recommend that vehicles have their air-conditioning system re-gassed every two years. Your air-conditioning refrigerant will drop due to use meaning that the system will start blowing warm air into the cabin, in turn, meaning your air-con system will have to work harder to produce cold air with no avail and increase your fuel consumption.
4) Vehicle Maintenance
Whether your vehicle contract comes fully maintained or customer maintained you are under obligation to make sure that you keep the vehicle maintenance up to date. Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your vehicle. Replacing items such as spark plugs and regular oil and filter changes all reduce the burden on your engine and help to provide improved MPG.
5) Check the Load
Studies have shown that on average every 50kg of extra weight will increase your fuel consumption by 2%. This figure is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight so it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Drivers should be advised to remove unnecessary items from the boot and seats from the back of your van which may also reduce the chance of vehicle break-ins by removing objects to target. Roof bars should also not be left on cars as these can create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel. Roof bars tend to weigh between 3kg to 5kg and an empty roof rack can reduce fuel consumption by about 10%.
It is also recommended that if you tend to use your vehicle for short trips you should consider only filling your tank up halfway each time to lighten the load.
If you have any questions about the above, or if you are looking to add a new car to your fleet, then Gofor Finance is here to help. Feel free to get in touch with us today.
Do you have any questions about the above or looking to add a new car to your fleet? Gofor Finance is here to help, get in touch today.