Little things make a big difference
Another key method of reducing vehicle running costs is to analyse how vehicles are used day-to-day as well as monitoring the level of upkeep.
Poorly maintained vehicles will consume more fuel, so regular servicing ensures vehicles can perform more efficiently. Clogged filters, old oil, excessive wear to components and poorly adjusted brakes all contribute to reducing fuel economy. Regular servicing will help to reduce longer term fuel costs and ensure vehicles are easier to remarket. In addition, frequent checks of tyre pressure can also have a huge impact on a vehicle’s running costs.
Vehicle weight awareness is also essential as the main role of a commercial vehicle is normally based upon load carrying - therefore excess weight has a dramatic impact on fuel consumption.
DID YOU KNOW? The Department of Transport (DFT) states that on average every 50kg carried will increase fuel consumption by 2%. This is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight, so the impact is greater on smaller vehicles. By only carrying what is required each day a business can save a great deal.
Aerodynamics should also be a consideration as drag is an issue facing many businesses. Those companies that have to carry additional equipment on a roof rack risk higher fuel costs if they are not careful with how they carry the additional loads. DFT figures show an empty roof rack can affect fuel consumption by about up to 10 per cent. When not in use it is a good idea to remove excess racks, and when in use great thought needs to be taken on how they are packed.
Above all though, driver behaviour is in fact the cheapest and most effective way to decrease fuel bills. Simply asking drivers to drive slightly slower can have a major impact on fuel consumption. DFT figures state you will use up to 9 per cent more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph, and up to 15 per cent more fuel than driving at 50mph. Travelling at 80mph can use up to 25 per cent more fuel than at 70mph.
Behaviour changes also help, for example adapting driving style to be gentler with the accelerator, softer when braking and keeping the car moving, can help produce better fuel economy. Obviously this is dependent on traffic conditions, but slowing down and having to accelerate again naturally uses more fuel.
Robert Pieczka also notes “A change in fuel buying habits is another handy tip. Businesses could be saving on average 3p* per litre at the pumps by shopping around for fuel. Most drivers tend to purchase fuel from the same fuel station out of habit or ease. However, by planning ahead and simply switching to supermarket fuel providers, businesses could be making a significant saving on their monthly fuel costs.
On average supermarket fuel prices are approximately 3p* per litre cheaper than the typical national forecourt and considerably less than the motorway fuel station.”