Fuel prices are constantly rising, and that trend is likely to continue. Companies that operate fleets of vehicles may consider downsizing to reduce costs. But should you sacrifice efficiency and versatility? Is there a way to keep your fleet and manage the cost of maintaining those vehicles? Absolutely. Here are three ways fleets can cash in on fuel efficiency savings, which will increase productivity and cut costs at the same time.
Make Your Vehicles More Aerodynamic
“Aerodynamics” refers to guiding the airflow around a vehicle so that it can cut through the air easier. This can increase fuel efficiency substantially. An aerodynamic upfit could include.
- Installing various equipment such as undercarriage systems, wheel covers, side skirts, mud flaps, and shields.
- Making sure all new additions work with each other and the vehicle.
- Tightening gaps between the vehicle and any trailer it might be towing.
Get Drivers Involved
Driver cooperation is essential to improving fuel economy. You can have the most up-to-date, aerodynamic, fuel efficient vehicle on the market, but if your drivers don’t know how to operate it correctly or have bad driving behaviors, none of it will matter. If you install upfits or aerodynamic equipment, inform drivers about how they improve the vehicle and how to operate and maintain them properly. Telematics can help you identify and correct driving behaviors, including:
- Idle times. Engine idling is a big time-waster and gas-guzzler. A heavy-duty truck burns through 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour when it idles. By identifying drivers that idle frequently and correcting their mistake, you can save up to $6,000 per vehicle annually.
- Sudden acceleration and braking. Suddenly speeding up or slamming on the brakes doesn’t just waste fuel, it also wears down tires and brakes. Keeping a constant speed and slowing down to a gentle stop can save money on fuel and extend the life of the vehicle.
- Frequent, sudden lane changes. Lane changes should be smooth and easy, not sudden and jerky. This will extend the life of the tires and brakes, which will also increase fuel efficiency.
- Speeds. Speed should always be consistent. Even when climbing hills, drivers should keep their speed consistent. Every vehicle has a speed range for optimal fuel efficiency that drivers should aim for.
Cracked tires often transfer their problems to excessive brake pulling. This may cause the brakes on the car to wear out too leading to ABS failure which can overall lead to a greater problem of a serious injury.
It’s advised to change the wheels of your car the first chance you get because they gradually start affecting other system parts. One of these parts is the steering wheel causing it to pull and pulsate with every vibration.
Tires may experience dry rotting when they aren't maintained properly causing the rubber to crack. If this happens, they may separate from the steel belt thus causing damage to the outer body of the car.
Plan Every Route
Every route should be planned carefully and meticulously. Avoid high-traffic areas and be aware of construction projects that might be going on. Try to include as many stops as possible on a single route to avoid back-and-forth trips. Periodically review these routes and revise where necessary.
These tips can help companies save big on fuel costs for their fleet of commercial vans. By making vehicles more aerodynamic, correcting poor driving habits, and planning efficient routes, operating a fleet can become more profitable.