Tips for improving fuel mileage:
As all drivers are aware the cost of fuel is the single largest variable cost in our industry. Our company is moving ahead with new equipment specs and new technologies to provide fuel savings. These changes include engines equipped with 2010 EPA emission standard engines. Early results on the engines we have using SCR (selective catalytic reduction – DEF) will achieve substantially better fuel mileage than similarly spec’d trucks with 2007 EPA emission standard engines. We have added 5 units to our fleet that are equipped with Volvo I-shift transmissions. The Volvo XE 13 power train package received the Truck Writers of North America technical achievement award:
“The Volvo XE13 powertrain package introduces the concept of ‘downspeeding,’ by combining a set of specifications – including Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission – that collectively allow the engine to run about 200 rpm slower than the average truck sold today. That translates to a fuel savings of about 3% compared to a similarly specified truck with an overdrive transmission”
We are currently evaluating the acquisition of up to 10 new units with battery powered A/C systems for bunks, combined with diesel fired bunk heaters to essentially eliminate the need for engine idling.
You will notice more trailers with aerodynamic side skirts to reduce air turbulence against the cross-members and suspension of the trailer. This technology has proven to provide substantial reductions in fuel consumption by all independent laboratories that have tested their impact on fuel consumption.
Finally the operator of the unit can still make a significant impact on fuel consumption. If we are able to reduce fuel consumption below the industry average it will be beneficial to all employees of the company.
Please check out these driving tips from Rolph Lockwood of Today’s Trucking:
Whether you’re an owner-operator trying to survive or a fleet manager trying to help drivers earn a fuel bonus and thus improve the company’s bottom line — there’s money to be made by improving efficiency at the wheel. Fact is, the worst driver will get as much as 35 percent less fuel mileage than the best one, which offers a ton of room for improvement. Figuring out fuel economy is a complex business — the variables just never stop mounting up. Depending on where and what and how he drives, one guy might be deliriously happy to be on the right side of 5 mpg while another would be considering suicide if he dropped below 9 mpg. The only real marker here is the driver’s own. So before you launch yourself or your drivers into a self-improvement program, first determine just where the individual’s average fuel mileage sits — for a given run in a given season, making sure to compare apples to apples. Then you can start adjusting and be able to see what works and what doesn’t.The following tips, compiled from many sources including Bridgestone, Cummins, Kenworth, Michelin, Volvo and others, will all help to some degree depending on the driver’s starting point.
- Slow down. If you get, say, 7 mpg at 55 mph, then it’ll be 6 mpg at 65 mph. And at 70 mph, you’ll be down to 5.5 mpg. Those are not small differences.
- Spend as much time as you can—90 percent or more—in top gear. Don’t get in the habit of cruising one gear down.
- Assuming the road isn’t slippery, spend as much time as you can in cruise control—when on flat terrain. If you use it in hilly territory, it will probably accelerate too quickly in trying to get back up to speed after cresting a grade. Remember, a good driver will beat cruise control every time in terms of fuel economy.
- Aim for the lowest number of engine revolutions per mile. With many engines, you’ll win by cruising at about 1,300 rpm, though Cummins says 1,380, and of course higher gross weights will mean you also need to be higher up the tach.
- Use the engine’s full operating range before downshifting. All modern engines are happy to pull at 1,000 rpm or so for brief periods. Stay at peak torque speeds or slightly lower if the truck is accelerating.
- Try to maintain high average speeds while spending the least time at the truck’s maximum speed. You can do that in several ways, starting with keeping a high field of vision and staying well back from the vehicle in front of you. That allows you to anticipate changes in traffic and road conditions and lets you avoid rapid deceleration or abrupt stops. You’ll waste fuel getting back up to speed.
- Try coasting to a stop gradually instead of staying on the loud pedal and then braking hard.
- Get access to the information in your engine’s black box and analyze the number of sudden decelerations and service-brake actuations you make. Use this info as a benchmark to improve against.
- Old issue, but you really should minimize the amount of time your engine idles. Every idling hour can decrease fuel efficiency by a percent. Sometimes there’s no choice, in which case choose the lowest idle speed possible, like 600 rpm or so.
- In rolling terrain a light throttle is the way, and allow momentum to carry the vehicle over short grades. Again, turn off cruise control because your foot will be — or should be — much lighter on the throttle.
- If it’s quite hilly or mountainous use the engine’s full operating range before gearing down.
- As you crest a steep grade, don’t mash the throttle to get back to your cruising speed. Use gravity instead.
- Plan your routes to maximize time on multi-lane highways.