Fuel Efficiency seems to be the new buzzword.
Renewed Govt interest has sparked the industry into action and now it seems that everyone has a way to help you to cut down on your fuel spend. The real question is: How do you know which solution is right for you?
Bolting things to your truck
Will this reduce your fuel consumption? Yes absolutely, but this gear comes at a price and will only be worth it to you in certain operations. You need to get the right kit for your job.
Pouring things into the fuel or meddling with the engine.
Exercise caution here. Manufacturer’s warranty can be a much needed pre – paid insurance policy. You could be giving that away for a too good to be true experiment -proceed with caution and a lot of research.
Again – tyres are not a one size fits all solution. Not only that, but measuring improvements in tyre wear can be a challenging business. By the time you have had a couple of punctures and rotated the tyres between axles, can you reliably point to a unit and know if your costs have reduced? Having said that, managing your existing tyres better (checking tyre pressures and condition regularly etc) can give you a measurable improvement in your fuel consumption.
OK, so even though I rant on every month about not driving too quickly and what surer way to drop your speeds, and therefore your fuel than to prevent your drivers getting up there in the first place? Be wary though – if you don’t get your drivers on side with this, your fuel consumption could go the wrong way. There are a few “cheats” to get around the speed limiter in some trucks, but not only that, you try telling a driver he can’t do something he wants to do without giving him a good reason and watch him try to get up to speed more aggressively, drinking more fuel as he does so. A speed limiter should be a reminder to the driver of an existing policy, not your opening move.
We all know that nothing useful gets changed unless you can persuade your drivers that it is a good idea. So the real answer is obvious – you need to train your drivers. But have you ever noticed that after a few weeks that the training has worn off and everything is back to normal? Bugger – that didn’t work either…
The magic ingredients
All of the above will work in your favour, with two important ingredients: communication and follow up.
The only guaranteed way to reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption is to take advice from people you trust and respect. People who take the time to understand your fleet and operating environment and who will create a solution that reflects your needs. Even the best suppliers don’t know everything about your operation, and can only work with what you tell them about it. You need to communicate with them to make sure the approach you are going to take combines the best of your combined knowledge.
The next stage is to communicate with your drivers – they need to be convinced of the need to change – tell them what you want them to do and WHY. Don’t be surprised if you have to tell them more than once, you are asking them to change something they have been doing for years and it won’t happen overnight.
One last thing…. if you want to know how much fuel you are saving, you need to measure it, and make sure the right card is being used to put fuel into the right truck. Because it would be really annoying to go to all the trouble of convincing your drivers to slow down, adding covers to your bin trucks and deflectors to your linehaul trucks, negotiating a service deal with your tyre supplier and bringing in a driver trainer, to find that any savings were being drunk up by a private car being refuelled with a company card.
Good luck, it’s worth it when you can save around $6,000 per truck per year.