The fleet market continues to grow in popularity, quickly becoming the biggest sector within the ADI industry. Due to the enhanced safety skills, improved driving confidence and capability to handle trickier situations with ease, over recent years, there has been a considerable increase in the number of drivers opting to take the course of their choice.
Along with the spike in Advanced Driving Instructors taking additional training courses, comes an increase in the number of drivers on the road. Essentially, the higher the level of skills, education and experience, the longer drivers will spend on the road and the more in demand their service will become. While a higher level of skills is incredibly beneficial for the growth of the fleet industry, it does mean that as managers, it is imperative to consider fuel efficiency tips and how you can keep consumption at a minimum.
7 Fuel Efficiency Tips
As occupational drivers, the type of fleet training course you opt to take depends on the skills you hope to improve and whether you require extra tuition with an instructor.
E-assessments are designed to test the theoretical knowledge of the driver as opposed to practical, and all testing is completed using online software. Due to the flexibility of the online course, there are no limitations in terms of when and where you choose to take your assessment. Taking an e-assessment will help you to identify your strengths, weaknesses and knowledge on The Highway Code. The results of your assessment will determine what category you fall into; high, medium or low risk. Those who are rewarded medium or high risk, then need to consider moving onto an on-road assessment. An on-road assessment poses many similarities to the standard practical test and will involve an advanced driving instructor observing your driving skills and techniques. Just like your e-assessment, you will then be given a full report and driver report.
A fleet training course may be completed by an individual to further their career, or alternatively, carried out as requested by a fleet manager. Fleet managers, in particular, often encourage additional training to enhance the safety profile of employees and to keep the risk of a collision at a minimum. Depending on the reasoning behind the course, fleet managers may cover the cost of training in the hope that it will lower future repair and compensation fees in the event of an accident. A team of advanced drivers will also help to build a more desirable, trustworthy and reliable business, therefore, increasing profit.
Particularly in recent years, the British public are continuously encouraged to take a more environmentally friendly approach to provide their product or service. When booking an advanced training course for employees, it is important to also take into consideration how you aim to keep fuel consumption at a low. Fleet News magazine, since late 2011, have been actively promoting different tips, tricks and steps to improve fuel efficiency for fleet managers. With this in mind, we have put together seven quick tips for fleet drivers.
1. Low C02 Fuel Efficient Vehicles
As the price of fuel continues to increase year on year, many corporate organisations are choosing to swap their company cars for low emission alternatives. Not only does the cost of fuel rise when it comes to high C02 vehicles, but also the price of taxing your car.
As you drive, fuel burns and produces C02, which is then dispersed into the air from the exhaust pipe. The more fuel you burn, the higher the level of C02 your vehicle will emit; meaning you will have to fill up your car more regularly.
Nowadays, those who would like to lower their C02 emissions and opt for a more eco-friendly vehicle can have their choice between a low emission or electric car. As a fleet driver, an ideal vehicle would be those that are easy to operate and simple to teach in. Some of the most popular fuel-efficient vehicles include the Toyota Prius, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.
For more information on the most fuel-efficient vehicles, head over to Car Buyer.
2. Promote Efficient Driving
Efficient driving essentially relates to becoming a more responsible, safer and smoother driver. This can include anything from avoiding heavy braking to always abiding by the speed limit.
Constant heavy braking is known for wasting fuel, and you are putting extra pressure on your vehicle which could be avoided. In rare cases, heavy braking is required to avoid a collision; however, in others, is simply due to the lack of vigilance from the driver. Ensuring that all drivers remain fully aware of their surroundings at all times will help to anticipate potential dangers in advance and work towards avoiding heavy pressure on the brakes.
Promoting smart gear use will also work towards efficient driving. Failing to change up gears when accelerating or staying in a low gear for too long will put immense pressure on the engine. Drivers are forcing the engine to overwork to maintain the high speed, therefore, using more fuel. Changing up gears early when picking up speed will help toward more economical journeys.
3. Avoid Engine Idling
Fleet drivers are on the road for the largest percentage of their day, which means that there will be a time where the fuel will be wasted on engine idling. Engine idling relates to any parts of the journey where your engine is running when stationary and the vehicle is not in motion. The most common moments for engine idling is when parked or waiting at traffic lights.
Encourage drivers, when they are parked outside the workplace or a residence, to turn off their engine while they wait. It can be easy to turn on the engine, then continue to carry out extra jobs such as setting up navigation. During this time, not only are you wasting fuel, but also polluting the surrounding air.
Many modern vehicles have an eco-friendly mode, which programmes the engine to turn off when stationary for an allocated period of time. This proves particularly beneficial when waiting at traffic lights when the vehicle is in one position with the handbrake on. The engine will immediately turn back on when the clutch pedal is used.
4. Encourage Tyre Maintenance
Encourage fleet drivers to spend time carrying out regular tyre maintenance on their vehicle. It is thought that low tyre pressure alone can increase fuel consumption by 3%. Regular tyre maintenance will not only help towards promoting efficiency but also help the vehicle to remain in good condition, avoiding future repairs.
Tyres that are not adequately inflated are incapable of rolling smoothly, which means that they will push for more fuel to help them to keep moving and will also lack friction against the road surface. Particularly for those who are constantly on the roads, tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month using a tyre pressure gauge. For a full tutorial on how to check tyre pressure, take a look at Ford.
5. Plan Trips Wisely
Trips that are planned and optimised correctly can quickly begin to contribute towards a decrease in fuel consumption and mileage. Spend time analysing routes and daily journeys of fleet drivers. Consider whether there are any alternative routes that could avoid extra time, traffic and perhaps whether multiple journeys can be combined into one longer trip.
As a fleet manager, it may be tricky to allocate time to sit down and thoroughly analyse the regular journeys of each driver, so we suggest utilising fleet tracking solutions. Fleet tracking solutions implement GPS tools into each vehicle, allowing you to have a full view of your team’s daily operations. Not only is this beneficial in helping to optimise trips, but also ensure that all fleet drivers are remaining productive and you are not paying unnecessary costs.
When working towards planning trips more efficiently, try to avoid short trips as it does not allow the engine enough time to heat up and reach its optimum temperature. During the heating process, fuel is used for both operating and heating the engine, therefore using more. The higher the temperature of your engine, the less fuel it will be using.
6. Keep A Constant Speed
Depending on the area in which your fleet drivers are based, it may prove a little trickier to regulate your speed. Nevertheless, on high-speed roads, it is important to maintain a steady speed, while ensuring that you are following the speed limit.
Many fleet drivers spend a large percentage of their day on the motorway and dual carriageways, which means that it is important not to keep accelerating and then braking. The more you can keep a constant speed, the less strain you will put in the inner components of your vehicle meaning an improvement in fuel efficiency.
Improving speed consistency will also help to reduce wear and tear on aspects such as the tires and breaks, ultimately, reducing maintenance costs and the need for repairs.
7. Remove Old Vehicles
If possible keep your fleet up to date, developments in the automotive industry come thick and fast, and there is always a benefit in performance to be gained. The more modernised your vehicle is the more environmentally friendly technology that will be included such as eco mode which automatically turns off your engine when stationary. Newer vehicles also tend to have a lower tax as there is less C02 emission harming the environment.
Improve Your Fuel Efficiency Today!
As a fleet manager, ensuring that your business strives to be as environmentally friendly as possible is imperative. Vehicles are one of the main contributors to harming the environment, leading to global warming. The car emitted particles can also begin to affect the health of the population as components such as soot and metal will irritate the skin, eyes and lungs. Keeping in mind the six main fuel efficiency tips mentioned above and guaranteed to begin the road to a fuel-efficient fleet business.