If you think you spend a lot of money on gas, imagine how much trucking companies and companies with large fleets spend annually. Companies like FedEx and Walmart have been able to reduce their fuel costs and increase efficiencies in the past 5 years. FedEx improved its fuel efficiency by 22 percent, exceeding its initial goal of 20 percent. Walmart improved its fuel efficiency by 15 percent to save between $35 million and $50 million per year.
With rising fuel costs, improving fuel efficiency for your car can save you money too. Sure, you might not save $50 million dollars, but every dollar and every gallon of gas you save counts. How can you save on fuel just like the big companies? Check out these 5 fuel management tricks the transportation uses that can help you save too.
1. Don’t let your car idle. A truck that idles for more than 3 minutes can increase fuel costs by 50 percent and shorten the life of engine oil by 75 percent. Though this habit isn’t as harmful for a sedan or SUV, leaving your car to idle still wastes gas and harms the environment by releasing unnecessary carbon emissions. The old myth that starting your car requires more gas than letting it idle is not true for today’s vehicles. If your car will idle for more than 10 seconds, it’s wiser to turn off the engine.
2. Take your car in for regularly scheduled maintenance. Poorly maintained trucks burn more fuel, put more strain on the engine and emit more toxins. The same is true for your car. Don’t skip out on your car’s scheduled maintenance checks. Doing so can make your engine work harder, use more gas and put your car on the line for more expensive fixes later.
3. Eliminate excess weight and make sure your tires are properly inflated. Trucks that can eliminate 100 pounds of unnecessary weight from their loads can significantly improve their miles per gallon. You probably don’t have an extra 100 pounds in your car, but if you tend to haul a lot of extra items, you’re using more gas than necessary. Lighten your load by getting rid of extra tools, equipment or anything else you tend to keep in the trunk of your car. If it’s not absolutely necessary, removing it can improve your miles per gallon. You can also improve your miles per gallon by checking to be sure that your tires are properly inflated. Trucks with poorly inflated tires can add up to as much as 2 weeks’ worth of fuel per year.
4. Avoid sudden starts and speeding. If you like to race away from stoplights and do 80 miles per hour on the freeway, you’re using a lot of unnecessary fuel. Abrupt starts and speeding away from stoplights can use significantly more fuel when compared to drivers who gently ease into the gas pedal. In trucks, abrupt starts burn 40 percent more fuel. When you drive over 60 miles per hour on the freeway, you increase your fuel use. Driving fast and pressing down on the gas pedal requires more gas. Use cruise control as much as possible to avoid unnecessary gas use as a result of frequently speeding up. Truck drivers who avoid speeding can save up to 50 more fuel.
5. Be smart about your driving routes. Trucking companies use fleet management for planning routes, keeping track of average speeds, fuel management and more. Though you don’t need fleet management, you can still plan your routes to be smarter about fuel management. Think of all the tasks you have to complete for the day, week or month and group them together by location. Complete tasks all at once based on location to avoid making extra trips and burning more fuel.
Using these common trucking tips to save fuel can help you cut costs and do your part to reduce your carbon footprint. Be proactive about taking these steps to save fuel and you’ll see returns in your gas tank and eventually in your wallet.