14 Ways to Conserve Fuel

14 Ways to Conserve Fuel

February 28, 2022
How your drivers behave on the road is the biggest factor under your control when it comes to fuel savings. There are many cost effective ways to enable this change.

This post identifies ways to crunch data, involve drivers, use technology, and adapt policies and culture to spur change.
Maintain Correct Tire Pressure
When a tire is underinflated by 4 to 5 psi below the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, vehicle fuel consumption increases by 10% and, over the long haul, will cause a 15% reduction in tire tread life.
Eliminate Unnecessary Weight
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says fuel economy increases by 1% to 2% for every 100 lbs. taken out of a vehicle. Encourage your drivers to remove all unnecessary items from their vehicles. 
Don't Buy Premium Fuel
Some still think premium fuel improves fuel economy — it does not. Higher-octane fuel found in premium gas is not designed to help engines run cleaner or increase horsepower.
Use Cruise Control on the Highway
Changes in a vehicle’s momentum make the engine work harder and therefore waste fuel. 

Gamify Fuel Savings
Foster healthy competition between drivers by using telematics data. Driver behaviors such as speeding, idling, seat belts, or harsh braking are captured and quantified as scores in driver profiles. The highest scores are eligible for prizes.
Summit Telematics data can enable your gamification strategy
Use Vehicle AC Sparingly
Running the air conditioner is the biggest drain of any auxiliary feature in a passenger vehicle. Using it can increase fuel consumption by 5% to 20%, depending on the type of vehicle and the way it is driven. To circulate air, use the vent setting.
A wide-open window — especially at highway speeds — increases aerodynamic drag, which could result in a 10% decrease in fuel economy. But open windows are still better than using AC. If you want fresh air, use "outside air" and "vent" and crack the window.

For pickups, lowering the tailgate doesn’t improve drag, it creates turbulence, particularly at highway speeds. By leaving the tailgate up, a smooth bubble of air is created in the bed. Soft tonneau covers will help aerodynamics. Replacing the tailgate with an aftermarket net won’t.
Get the Summit Fleet Card

Fleet Cards control fuel expense in many ways, they

  • Limit the grade of fuel purchased and other non-fuel-related items
  • Provide data about fuel purchases
  • Allow you to set parameters to prevent unauthorized spending

Fleet Card Reporting can help to

  • Identify purchases of more litres/gallons of fuel than the capacity of the fuel tank, which may indicate that a driver is fueling another vehicle or storing fuel in gas canisters for personal use
  • Monitor multiple and too-frequent refuelings that don’t correspond with a vehicle’s fuel consumption 

Subscribe to Summit Telematics
Telematics is an enabler of many of the strategies discussed in this post.

Minimize Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving can lower fuel economy by 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic, according to the EPA.

Optimize Routes
Using telematics, plan routes by choosing the straightest paths, avoiding traffic lights, anticipating traffic conditions, and minimizing left hand turns (which create idling).

Reduce Idling
Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and emits more CO2 than restarting an engine.

Minimize Driving Over 80 KPH
MPG generally decreases rapidly when traveling above 50 mph (80 kph)

Use an App to Find Cheap Fuel
Apps such as GasBuddy and Google Maps have functionality to search for gas stations nearby or along your route and compare pump prices.
Switch to EV or More Fuel Efficient Vehicle
Successive model years generally produce more efficient and better performing vehicles. This is especially true for pickup and van fleets. When replacing vehicles, re-evaluate your specs based on newer models’ performance, payload, and capacity improvements. 

Tighten up Preventative Maintenance
Improper maintenance will decrease vehicle performance and thus fuel economy.
Motivate Drivers to be Energy Conscious
Make fuel consumption a regular part of your communication with drivers and continually reinforce the message.

Assign Driver and Exec Stakeholders
Just like many fleets do for safety, identify a senior, trusted driver to help implement your fuel conservation efforts on the ground.
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