Fuel efficiency is quickly becoming one of the most critical aspects of modern road transport. Fuel is still the major concern for professional drivers, even during this era of ultra-efficient engines and electric cars, especially as fuel prices continue to rise. However, unless your HGV driver training has been equipped with the most recent aerodynamic kit, your journey’s fuel efficiency will mainly depend on you as the driver. Therefore, we will be providing you with some tips this month to help you save money and maximise the use of your fuel.
Master Block Changing
Sometimes we do block changing gears without even thinking about it. However, we do not do anywhere enough of it. Basically, it is the practice of missing the gears out that are not relevant to whatever speed you are driving at. Instead of linearly working down or up the gears, you may miss some and skip directly to the gear you are needing to be in. Therefore, you might go down to third from fifth, or skip over to fourth from second. It has been shown in studies that when drivers block change gears, especially when moving up gears, save more fuel compared to drivers who change their gears linearly. That is because the engine does not have to work hard at getting through unnecessary gears. This reduces the revs and saves money on fuel. Your hands are on the wheel more than instead of gearstick as well, which is beneficial for safety purposes.
Hit Cruise Control
Cruise control capability is built-in in a majority of modern vehicles, so there is no excuse to not use it. Cruise control helps your vehicle maintain a constant speed, which reduces unnecessary braking, acceleration, and revs. Each time the accelerator is pressed, even light, a bit more fuel is used, and small fluctuations in how your feet move can cause unnecessary revs. The lack of acceleration over a long trip can save you a large amount of fuel.
Resistance is something that is encountered by every driver, and the larger your vehicle, the more you will run into. When you are carrying a heavy load over a long distance, resistances from the gradient and air, as well as rolling resistance mean you will use more fuel for propelling the HGV forward. Although it is a hard thing to combat, to reduce the impact there are a couple of changes that can be made. A good place to start is to choose routes that are less hilly since that will help to reduce the gradient resistance. To help your HGV combat this, invest in a set of low-rolling-and make sure to always keep them completely inflated. This type of specialist tyre can result in fuel savings of as much as 6%. However, every 10 psi drop will reduce this efficiency by 1%.
Do Not Stand Idle
During the winter it might be very tempting to allow your engine to ideal so that your heater continues to run while you are taking a short break, or have it running so there is something for you to listen to. However, each minute that your HGV engine spends idling is just throwing away money. Research has been conducted on an idling engine’s fuel consumption, and the results are very startling. A standard 420HP engine, for example, will consume fuel at a 2 litres per hour rate when idling and stationary.