When you drive for a living, in any capacity, you start to look at the world a little differently. Road are your speciality and you almost never need a map to find your way around. You also keep a closer eye on the costs of vehicle maintenance and fuel, which seem to be constantly creeping up despite the fluctuating price of oil. Naturally, this means you are more aware of your fuel consumption, and always looking for ways to cut down on your fuel bill. Luckily, we have 4 easy tips to help you save fuel on long hauls journeys that won’t break the bank.
Stop Idling The Engine
While it might be tempting to keep the heater running on your breaks in the winter months, or to avoid turning off the radio so you can listen to your favourite tunes, it could be costing you a small fortune in fuel. Studies have been done into the fuel consumption of idling engines, and this has yielded some startling results, particularly in the world of HGV’s. As it turns out, a standard 420HP HGV engine will consume fuel at a rate of 2 litres per hour when it is left on and idling. So to cut down on the fuel bill, cut down on the idling!
Resistance can be an absolute nightmare for HGV drivers, in more ways than one. It’s not just that it slows down your vehicle (that’s more of a problem for Formula 1 cars) but it also means you use much more fuel than you would if you encountered no resistance. For HGV’s, resistance can come from the air, the gradient you’re driving at and even the rolling resistance on the tyres, all of which can contribute to higher fuel bills. But making a few small tweaks can help reduce this. For example, invest in (or insist on) a set of low-rolling resistance tyres and making sure they are fully inflated to the correct psi at all times. These specialist tyres can produce fuel gains of up to 6%, but a fall of just 10psi can drop that by 2%, so it’s important to keep an eye on them.
Block Change Your Gears
Block changing gears is essentially the process of missing out gears when switching up or down when they aren’t relevant to your current speed. So instead of working your way up the gears through 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, you could block change from 2nd to 4th in one clean movement. Research has shown that the block changing technique, particularly when used moving up the gears, can significantly reduce the fuel used in changing gears. This is because the block change stops your engine revving through the gears that are too low for your speed, which eats up more fuel and costs you more money. It also means you can spend more time with both hands on the wheel and not distracted.
Press Cruise Control
No, we don’t mean some magical box that will drive your HGV for you. No, we mean the basic, cruise control mechanism that controls your speed. Most modern vehicles will come with cruise control now, and you should be using it at every possible opportunity. Not only does it help you regulate your speed, but it also regulated the amount of fuel your engine needs to use. Cruise control stops unnecessary revving of the engine, minor fluctuations of speed and unnecessary acceleration or braking, all of which adds up to better fuel efficiency.
Overall, it’s the little things that can add up to big savings when it comes to fuel efficiency. Because you are unlikely to be driving a HGV kitted out with the best, most cutting edge aerodynamic extras (leave that to the formula 1 cars), it’s all down to the decisions you make as a driver that will make the difference. If you have any fuel saving tricks we’ve not talked about here, we’d love to hear about them. Just leave us a comment or get in touch with our team today.