31 August 2012

Running a fuel efficient fleet can be achieved by not only choosing more fuel efficient vehicles but by driving your fleet economically. The way you drive your fleet and the way your vehicles are maintained will have an impact on your fuel costs. For example, a saving of just one litre of fuel per 100kms will save $360 per year per vehicle (based on average annual kms of 30,000 and a fuel cost of $1.20/L). On a fleet of just 30 vehicles that is a saving of over $10,000 pa, whereby a discount of 3 cent per litre off pump price delivers a saving of less than $100 per annum. This demonstrates that it is the way a fleet is driven and maintained that is the most important factor when creating a cost effective fleet, not the pump price.

So whether your fleet comprises of predominately small sedans or two tonne trucks, these fuel saving tips can help you improve your vehicle's fuel economy and take some of the sting out of high fuel prices. And while most of these tips will give you a very slight increase in your mileage per litre, if used together then the improvements will really add up.

1. Look after the tyres
Ensure that your wheels are always properly aligned and keep your tyres inflated at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer as under-inflated tires have more rolling resistance, which means you need to burn more petrol to keep your car moving. Also, new wheels may look cool, and they can certainly improve handling, but if they are wider than the stock tires, chances are they'll create more rolling resistance and decrease fuel economy. sgfleet’s leases include a tyre replacement program that means your fleet will always be running on first-class tyres.

2. How is your fleet driving?

  • Drive in the correct gear
    Driving in a gear lower than you need uses more fuel. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum. Manual drivers should shift early to keep the revs down. Avoid engaging power options which drop the vehicle into a lower gear and consume more fuel.
  • Drive smoothly
    Stop/start driving is much less efficient and more polluting than driving at a constant speed. Take it easy on the accelerator - more revs equals more petrol use. Jack-rabbit starts are an obvious fuel-waster - but that doesn't mean that everyone should crawl away from every light. Keep an eye well down the road for potential slowdowns. If you accelerate to speed then have to brake right away, that's wasted fuel. A constant speed keeps shifting to a minimum but it also aids economy, as it takes much more fuel to get a vehicle moving than it does to keep it moving. 
  • Slow down
    One of the best ways to save petrol is to simply reduce your speed. As speed increases, fuel economy decreases exponentially. Many people are one of the "ten-over on the freeway" set. But if they tried driving the speed limit for a few days they would save a lot of fuel and the journey wouldn't take much longer. 


3. Keep your fleet fully maintained
The time and effort you put into keeping up with scheduled maintenance can save you big money in the long run. Your vehicle manufacturer came up with a maintenance schedule and service intervals that are specific to your car or truck, and it’s important that they are followed. sgfleet’s fully underwritten maintenance program not only removes the risk of maintenance cost blow outs, it ensures that all scheduled services and repairs are carried out. This means that your fleet will always be in top condition.

4. Use air conditioning sparingly

Air conditioners consume up to 10 per cent extra fuel. Interestingly, at speeds over 80 km/h using an air conditioner is better for fuel consumption than an open window as this creates aerodynamic drag. If your vehicle is hot when you start your trip, drive with the windows down for a few minutes to cool your vehicle before starting the air conditioning.

5. Check the air filter
A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into the engine, which harms performance and economy. Air filters are easy to check and change; remove the filter and hold it up to the sun. If you can't see light coming through it, you need a new one.

6. Clean out the cars
If some of your staff are the type who takes a leisurely attitude towards car cleanliness, then have them periodically go through the car and see what can be tossed out or brought into the office. It doesn't take much to acquire an extra 20kgs of stuff, and the more weight your car has to lug around, the more fuel it burns.

7. Remove Roof Racks

Roof Racks make it easy to carry loads efficiently and safely and the modern designs are strong, light with improved aerodynamics. But the roof rack's crossbars create resistance, increasing aerodynamic drag and wind noise particularly at highway speeds. Try to carry everything inside the vehicle rather than using a roof rack as they create wind resistance that reduces fuel economy.


8. Downsize
When deciding on a new car for your fleet, it could be time to re-evaluate how much car you really need. Smaller cars are inherently more fuel-efficient, and today's small cars are roomier than ever. In addition, automakers are designing their small cars to survive crashes with bigger vehicles, and safety features like side-curtain airbags and electronic stability control are becoming commonplace in smaller cars.

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There are many other ways to improve fuel consumption and reduce fleet expenses. Whatever your fleet size, sgfleet can tailor a solution that will increase your fleets efficiency and save costs while contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gases. Contact sgfleet.