The rising cost of fuel and the need to save the environment has forced many truckers to look for ways to cut down on fuel costs. With more and more electric cars and high-performance energy-efficient engines being produced, most drivers, especially professional drivers, are apprehensive about the high cost of fuel. Sadly, not many HGVs are designed to be aerodynamic, at least not as they should. Unless your company has chosen to invest in the best aerodynamic kit, it all boils down to you (the driver) when it comes to fuel efficiency. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to improve your HGV’s fuel efficiency and save money in the long run.
Master The Art of Block Gear Change
Block gear change is the practice of skipping gears that aren’t relevant while still rev-matching your vehicle. This practice is quite common when accelerating on a flat road or down the street, or if/when going uphill. Instead of working linearly up or down, you can choose to skip some of the gears to go to the next best one for that specific situation or terrain. A common practice is skipping the second gear for the third or fourth or down from fifth to third. Doing so eliminates unnecessary engine strain while keeping the engine revs relatively low. The lower the engine rev is, the less fuel it will demand/consume in the long run. As an added advantage, block-changing gears also mean you can keep your hands on the wheel for longer and only take them off when shifting gears.
Take Advantage of the Cruise Control Feature
Many modern vehicles today, including HGVs, come equipped with a cruise-control feature. This feature is specially designed to help the driver maintain a constant speed without touching the accelerator or brakes. Cruise control also keeps your vehicle at the optimal rev possible to maintain the speed and brake where necessary (e.g., down a hill). Simply pressing the cruise control button can thus save you from unwittingly increasing the revs, saving you lots of fuel throughout the journey.
Rolling resistance, air resistance, and gradient are some of the factors an HGV driver training driver has to deal with, with every trip. This means the vehicle has to work a lot harder to overcome such resistance, which again translates to higher fuel consumption. Planning your route well can, however, help overcome and reduce some of these. One of the best ways is to invest in low-rolling-resistance tyres and choose less-hilly routes. You also want to keep your HGV tyres fully inflated to reduce resistance even further. Having the right tyres fully inflated, and choosing flatter routes could thus see you save up to 6% of your total fuel costs per trip.
Idling your engine could see you lose at least 2 litres of fuel every hour. While many of us prefer to leave the engine idling when on break or out to take a cup of coffee, experts recommend turning off the engine altogether. You also don’t want to leave the engine idling in winter either. Unless you will only be out for 5 minutes, consider turning the engine off, especially if taking a 30-minute break or longer. According to research, the standard 420HP engine will gobble up more than 2 litres of gasoline every hour it is left idling. This is quite a lot considering the current fuel prices.