The average long distance HGV driver does around 125,000 miles a year which equates to 2,500 miles a week. Driving a HGV can be financially challenging with small margins, so anything that can be done to save fuel can make a big difference to the profitability of the business.
Improving your fuel efficiency by just 1 mile per gallon can result in a considerable annual saving. Here is our list of ten simple ways to help improve fuel efficiency:
Use cruise control
When able, use cruise control. Cruise control can limit unnecessary acceleration and deceleration and can save you up to 6% in fuel consumption on the road.
Bumpy roads will cause the right foot to move slightly on the accelerator which can use tiny amounts of extra fuel. Cruise control works very well on flatter terrain to stop this happening and only uses acceleration when needed to maintain the cruising speed.
Minimise cruising speed
This may seem obvious but going faster means burning more fuel. Every 1mph increase in speed results in a 0.14mpg decrease in fuel economy.
Drive in a higher gear
Driving in the highest gear possible is a good way to help maximise fuel efficiency. Travelling faster in low gears can consume 45% more fuel than is needed.
Only idle your truck when absolutely necessary. One hour of idling burns about a gallon of fuel.
Monitor tyre pressures
Underinflated tyres reduce fuel economy. If tyres are under-inflated, it takes the engine more effort to turn them. A 10% reduction in tyre pressure will increase fuel consumption by approximately 1%.
Checking air pressures on a large number of tyres can be time-consuming, although ensuring tyres are at their optimum pressure will reduce the rolling resistance and extend their life.
Check wheel and tyre alignment
Another important factor in getting the best possible fuel efficiency is to make sure your tyres are pointed straight down the road. A tyre that is even ¼ degree from perfectly straight will try to travel 10-15 feet sideways for every mile travelled.
Use air conditioning sparingly
Every time air conditioning is used, fuel consumption increases by 0.2 - 0.4 miles per gallon. Sometimes this can be unavoidable, but if possible and when you can, just open a window. Opening a window is better for fuel economy than air conditioning, especially at slow speeds where aerodynamics is not so important.
Invest in aerodynamics
Reduce the resistance from the air and the road. Around 20% of fuel consumption is overcoming aerodynamic losses, and around 13% is overcoming rolling resistance (the effort it takes to turn the wheels).
There are many add-ons that can be purchased for your truck to improve aerodynamics, which will lead to improved fuel efficiency, such as wind deflectors.
Avoid unnecessary items
The more weight that is in the truck and trailer, the more work it must do to travel down the road. The truck carries thousands of kilos do not make it carry any more weight than it has to.
Keep fuel efficiency in mind
Lastly, one of the best ways to improve fuel efficiency is to make it a priority. Keep this list in mind and think about these things while on the road. Fuel efficiency will soon be improved without even realising it.