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6 Ways Fleet Drivers Can Achieve Greater Fuel Economy

There is no perfect formula to reduce fuel spending, but driver efficiency is a good place to start. Although purchasing vehicles with the highest fuel economy is an option, one of the most cost-effective and overlooked strategies is simply to encourage your drivers to make some small changes to their driving habits.

Reduce Aggressive Driving

Rapid acceleration and braking too quickly wastes fuel and are common symptoms of inefficient driving. These habits can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% on city streets, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It should take approximately 5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 15 MPH, and the brakes should always be applied gradually, preferably after allowing the vehicle to decelerate first. 

Being aware and looking ahead to what's coming down the road can help with all of this. By keeping an eye on upcoming traffic conditions drivers can anticipate having to slow down, speed up or stop. It is always more efficient to keep the vehicle moving than to start from a complete stop. This not only cuts costs, it extends the lifespan of the vehicle and leads to safer driving overall.

Observe the Speed Limit


Cut Down on Idling TimeEvery vehicle has an optimal speed to achieve good fuel economy, but gas mileage tends to decrease rapidly over 50 mph. Even though speeding might shave a few minutes off your travel time, it is actually more cost effective to keep to the speed limit. It's safe to assume that every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is the same as paying an additional $0.21 per gallon for gas. And of course, keeping to the speed limit is also much safer than speeding.

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Air Pollution Control Program, an idling engine will waste one gallon of fuel per hour. Drivers should never leave the engine running just so they can let on board equipment like the radio run. In the winter months they should avoid spending too long allowing the engine to warm up. Finally, they should turn off the engine when in park even if they stop and start often to make deliveries throughout the day. Restarting an engine only takes a few seconds worth of fuel. A good rule of thumb: if you're stopping for longer than a minute, shut the engine off.

Use your Cruise Control

If you spend a lot of time driving on the freeway, you should definitely be using cruise control. Cruise control helps a driver maintain a steady, economic and safe speed. Though many drivers assume they do a good job of this themselves, they often overestimate how consistent and economic their speed actually is. Cruise control is a great way to change that, just remember to remain alert at the wheel.

Reduce Your Vehicle’s Weight

Carrying around a bunch of unnecessary items increases your vehicle’s weight and brings down your fuel efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your MPG by up to 2%. This reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight, so it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Keep Tires Properly Inflated


Keeping your tires properly inflated can can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3%.  For every 1 psi drop in pressure under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3%. Remember, properly inflated tires are safer, last longer and are less prone to popping.Technically this isn't a technique to improve driving fuel efficiency, but if your drivers don't adopt these strategies they aren't doing you any good. So what are some ways to get your drivers on board?

    ●   Driver Education

Let your drivers know that their driving styles can increase their fuel economy and impact the business. Set up an online training class that goes over best practices for efficient driving and inform your drivers about the environmental impact that efficient driving has. Simply educating your drivers can have a big impact on fuel spending.

    ●   Driver Incentives

Make a game out of fuel spending, the less the better, and provide rewards for top performers. Explain to drivers how efficient driving impacts them: they're more valuable assets when they are less expensive   drivers.

The bottom line is fuel costs account for 30% of most fleets' budgets. Efficient driving is a cheap and easy way to cut that cost. Why not implement it in your fleet? 

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