For fleet managers, there are various unavoidable costs bound up with running commercial vehicles. These include the cost of fuel, maintenance and servicing.
However, there are means of reducing these costs that don’t involve major restructuring or downsizing. Together, the Department for Transport and the Energy Trust recommend fuel efficient driving techniques to save on money and harmful emissions.
What Does Eco Driving Involve?
This is about changing the way drivers drive, highlighting methods that will save on how much fuel vehicles consume, while improving driver safety and fleet efficiency, and reducing emissions as part of the process.
The main technique for improved fuel efficiency is smoother driving. This is about drivers anticipating situations as far in advance as possible so that, by seeing ahead, they avoid unnecessary braking or sudden acceleration.
Regulating speed in this way, and maintaining an even control of pedals helps reduce engine strain and how much fuel the car requires.
Another technique is to try to reduce the instance of engine idling. Sitting in traffic feels like a waste of time, but if the engine running it is also a waste of fuel.
Many modern vehicles have a stop-start function to help with this, but if your vehicle doesn’t, then consider switching off the ignition if you’re waiting in traffic for more than a minute at a time.
Another way of reducing engine idling is through careful planning, choosing routes that avoid the worst traffic congestion. Route optimisation is available through telematics technology.
Long Term Benefits
Changes in driver behaviour can have long-term benefits, both for the drivers themselves and for the businesses employing them.
Whereas vehicle technology is helping reduce fuel consumption to a degree, but consumption still also depends on how vehicles are driven, so promoting efficient driving can help ease the pressure on fleet budgets.
Other eco driving techniques include a more moderate use of air conditioning in the vehicle; shifting up to higher gears earlier; reducing vehicle drag by not carrying unnecessary extra weight; and regular servicing.
For fleet managers, they can explore different options for encouraging and training staff to take up fuel efficient driving, such as on-the-road training and online courses.
To some extent, this may be a staff engagement issue, with fleets incorporating eco driving into their corporate values.