In today’s money focused world, fuel efficiency is at the forefront of every professional driver’s mind. Despite many accepting it as a cost of doing business (which to a large extent it is), drivers do still have a level of control over the fuel bills. A few simple changes to your driving style – nothing too major – and you could see your fuel bills creeping down instead of up.
In a time when it feels like computers are taking over the world (especially since driverless lorries made their debut), it’s understandable to want to stick with manual driving all the way. But cruise control doesn’t only helps you regulate your speed. It also takes away all of those little fluctuations in engine effort caused by the twitching of your foot on the accelerator or brake, evening out engine work and reducing the fuel needed to keep it going.
Resistance is an annoying, immovable force that drivers just learn to deal with – it comes as a part of moving a huge vehicle at speed. HGV drivers will come across resistance form 3 angles – air, gradient and rolling. There is nothing you as a driver can do about air resistance – only the vehicle owner could affect that with aerodynamic modifications. You can reduce gradient resistance by choosing less hilly routes to drive on. To combat rolling resistance, you can invest in ( or insist on) a complete set of rolling-resistance tyres, which have been proven to improve fuel efficiency by up to 6%. But stay on top of them – because each 10 psi they drop will reduce that effectiveness by 1%.
For this one we don’t mean the times you work in – we’re talking about gears. Block changing gears is something many more experiences drivers will do automatically, but it is something you need to train yourself into if you drive professionally. The idea is simple – instead of working through all the gears to get higher or lower, simply skip the gears that aren’t appropriate to your speed and go straight to the one that is. So you might skip from second to fourth, or from fifth to third. This reduces strain on the engine, cuts out extra revs and reduced the amount of fuel used to change gears, particular when changing up.
We’ve spoken to many drivers who like to leave their engine idling to keep them warm on breaks in winter, or to power devices and keep the radio on in the summer. But these seemingly harmless idling periods could be costing you serious money. Studies on HGV engines have shown that a standard 420HP engine will consume fuel at a rate of 2 litres per hour when stationary and idling. Multiply that by a week, or even a year, and that’s a lot of wasted fuel!
At the LGV Training Company, we are all about understanding how to make the most of your HGV career. For those drivers who pursue self-employment or freelance driving work, being able to keep a handle on the spending at every level goes a long way to creating success. But you don’t have to invest in an aerodynamic HGV to do it. If you have any more fuel saving tips that we haven’t mentioned, we’d love to hear then! Leave us a comment or get in touch with our team today.