Fuel-saving for trucks - part 1

The recent fuel price increases and rumours about the upcoming price increase being between R2 and R3 per litre, not only has motorists frustrated but panicked about whether it will even be possible to fill their tanks next month. The fuel price crisis also has a major impact on the trucking industry that many motorists may not realise affects them as well: the cost of consumer goods is soaring.

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says the trucking industry is the backbone of society. “Most industries rely on trucks to receive their stock and when the price jumps as drastically as what it has recently, a portion of this is inevitably passed down to the consumer. Trucking operators also need to absorb some of the cost, placing even more pressure on operations.”

“As prices continue to rise and uncertainty remains about the future, fleet operators must find ways to reduce their fuel costs as much as possible. Fuel use represents up to 39% of a fleet's cost-per-mile (imperial system stats) according to the American Transportation Research Institute. MasterDrive compiled a list of tips in a two-part series to assist with this that includes both changes to driving behaviour and technology that can assist.”

Driver behaviour:

  • Be proactive: Ideally, it’s too late to react to rising fuel costs after it happens. Understand how your fleet operates so you already know which fuel-saving strategies work best for your organisation.
  • Good drivers: Drivers are responsible for 30% of your fuel consumption and teaching your drivers fuel-efficient driving techniques can have a major impact. Hiring, educating and incentivising drivers to achieve the best fuel-efficiency is one of the most effective ways to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Plan your routes: Plenty of petrol is wasted by not making your route as efficient as possible.  
  • Stay on route: Educate drivers on the importance of reducing out-of-route trips and use telematics to ensure drivers avoid this.
  • Idling: Avoid idling for longer than 30 seconds.
  • Slow down: By decreasing your speed by just 20km/h you can improve your fuel consumption by up to 20%.
  • Tyre management: Get drivers to regularly check tyre pressure and be aware when tyres need general maintenance. It can make a huge difference to fuel consumption.
  • Lighten the load: Encourage drivers to remove any unnecessary items from their vehicles after a trip. As a rule of thumb, thus it could be much more or less, each unnecessary item increases consumption by 1%.

If your organisation implemented these driving techniques, there is more you can do that could substantially reduce your fuel-spend. “This involves technology that you can instal into your vehicles to assist in reducing some of the largest consumers of fuel which we will reveal in the next part of this series,” says Herbert.