As every transportation pro knows, saving fuel is a great way to reduce operating costs. That’s true all year long. However, during the busy holiday season when many companies see their shipping volumes soar and have large numbers of semi trailers on the road, implementing or revisiting some proven tips for reducing fuel consumption can be especially beneficial.
7 Tips for Reducing Fuel Consumption With Your Semis and Semi Trailers
Using any of the tactics below can help you reduce fuel consumption and save money. Practice all seven of them and you may find the savings to be impressive.
- Encourage conservative driving. For drivers eager to complete their route or reach their final destination, rapid acceleration and deceleration can become a habit. Not only is that behavior unlikely to change arrival times by much, it wastes a significant amount of fuel. Encourage drivers to go easy on the gas pedal and brakes. You should also arrange their schedules in a way that eliminates the need to hurry.
- Set tires to the correct pressure. It takes just a few minutes to set the proper pressure on your tractors and semi trailers, but doing so can make a big difference in how smoothly they run. And that difference translates to lower fuel costs. Plus, as an added bonus, proper inflation improves tread wear and also improves safety. So, getting drivers into the habit of doing regular tire pressure checks is great for your company.
- Use semi trailers with GPS tracking. It goes without saying that the more miles you drive, the more fuel you use. Using a system like Spireon GPS on your semi trailers to track the routes drivers are taking gives you the data you need to find better ways to get from place to place. More efficient routes mean less wasted fuel.
- Minimize idling. It’s common for drivers to warm up their engines before heading out on the road, and a small amount of idling may be a good thing. But extended idling wastes fuel. In fact, it’s been estimated that many trucks idle for up to eight hours in a day and that can cost operators anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 in additional fuel costs each year. Plus, idling is known to be much harder on engines than driving at normal speeds. It can add the equivalent of tens of thousands of driven miles per year in terms of wear and tear. Have your drivers turn off their engines whenever the rig will be stationary for more than a few minutes.
- Use cruise control. Setting a truck’s cruise control for the optimal speed setting on a given roadway can eliminate the small accelerations and decelerations that are natural for even the most experienced drivers as they try to hold the rig at a constant speed. This helps decrease fuel use.
- Have drivers fill their tanks at the slow setting. Using a slower setting when fueling up results in less vapor in the tank, which can improve engine operation.
- Implement an incentive program. Whether the payoff is cash or other gifts, or simply bragging rights, starting a program that assesses fuel economy by driver and posts results encourages them to think about how their driving habits are affecting fuel costs.
The money you save by lowering your fuel costs can go right to your bottom line. Or, you can reinvest it in things like more fuel-efficient tractors that produce even more savings. Ultimately what starts simply as “trying to save a few bucks here and there” on fuel expenditures can snowball into something much bigger for your company.
Give Your Drivers a Holiday Bonus
The great thing about actions that your company and your drivers take to improve fuel consumption is that the results are immediate. If a driver decides to, say, monitor his tire pressure and reduce his idling to the bare minimum on this week’s trip around the region or across the country, the fuel cost for that rig will surely be lower.
Even if it takes some time for improved driving behaviors to become second nature, any improvement at all pays dividends, especially during the busy holiday season. If you want to start your fuel reduction initiative with a bang, you might consider putting the money saved on fuel toward holiday bonuses for your team!
Have questions about our inventory of trailers for rent, lease or sale, or our company in general? Please contact us at your convenience. Or if you are in the vicinity of our Colorado or Arizona location, stop by and see us. We look forward to talking with you about your semi trailer requirements around the holidays and throughout the year. And with our proven three-step process, you can get the trailers you need without all the hassles and red tape, and get on the road quickly and efficiently.