Even though this is the era of hyper-efficient engines and electric cars, fuel still remains one of the more important concerns for the professional drivers, especially since the fuel prices continue to increase. Unless your HGV is installed with a state-of-the-art aerodynamic kit, fuel efficiency along each journey is mainly associated with you, the driver. Below are a few easy tips to assist you in gaining the most from your fuel as well as a way to save on your fuel costs.
Changing the gears on the block is often a thing we do without much thought but unfortunately most of us do not do it enough. It, essentially, is the act of missing the gears which are not matched up to the speeds that you travel at. This means that instead of operating the gears down or up in sequence, you miss a few out and go for the gear that is compatible to the speed you are travelling at. You may skip straight from the 2nd to the fourth gear or from the 5th to the 3rd gear.
HGV drivers who block change their gears, especially when you move up in gears save on fuel when compared to the drivers that change their gears linearly, studies have shown. The reason for this is that the engine is not forced to work as hard to go through the unnecessary gears, which translates into a decrease in revs which results in a saving on the fuel you use. It will also mean that your hand is more on the steering wheel as opposed to on the gear stick which is another safety advantage.
Many of the modern vehicles of today feature cruise-control capabilities which mean you should be using this feature. Cruise control assists in keeping the vehicle at constant speeds which decreases unnecessary revs, braking and acceleration. Each time you use the accelerator even with the slightest touche means it uses more and more fuel. Over longer journeys, the lack in acceleration is able to save you on a significant amount in fuel.
Resistance is a factor that each driver will come across and the larger the vehicle the chances of resistance increases. When you carry heavy loads over longer distances, resistance from rolling-resistance and air-gradient will mean that you will use up more fuel in order to keep your HGV travelling forward. While this may be a difficult factor to deal with, just a couple of changes can assist in reducing this impact.
This can mean selecting routes that are less hilly as this will help to decrease gradient resistance. Another way to reduce resistance would be to invest in tyres recognised as low-rolling resistance and make sure they are always fully inflated. These particular tyres can result in overall fuel savings of around 6% but each drop in the 10 psi can decrease their efficiency by 1%.
It may seem tempting to leave the engine idling in the winter months to ensure the heater remains on or when you want to listen to your radio. However, each minute that you allow your HGV engine to idle, translates to a waste in fuel. Research associated with the consumption rates of fuel on idling engines is quite surprising. An example of this is a 420HP standard engine will use fuel at around 2 litres an hour when idling or stationary.
When it comes to HGV drivers, there are various things that can be done in order to improve fuel efficiency. However, many of them are time consuming and expensive to implement. The above are easy to use tips that can assist you in saving cash on the fuel you use over long journeys and a few changes to your personal driving style.