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How to reduce fuel consumption in trucks?

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Telematics can help improve fuel efficiency and reduce related expenses, by using technology to shorten routes taken, improve driver behaviour and decrease engine idling time. Telematics can identify driver behaviours that consume excess fuel, such as excessive acceleration, and help fleet managers recognise when engine performance is affecting fuel economy.

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There is good news! Telematics provides the insight into how a business can improve their daily routes to bring down fuel costs. Better fuel efficiency, more direct routes, less idling and unauthorised usage. The average fuel consumption is reduced by up to 30% (based on a recent Teletrac Navman customer survey).

But there’s more to making this happen than simply instructing drivers to ease up on that heavy right foot. The most successful way to achieve a modification in driving habits is with the help of technology and education.

Telematics can provide a fleet manager several different ways to decrease fuel consumption and operating costs, through this single resource.

Accurate off-road tracking for maximum refunds

Across New Zealand industries such as transport, logging, construction and agriculture are facing stringent compliance regulations which can drive up margin pressure. Manually completing Road User Charges (RUC) licences is timely and can often be inaccurate. Using a GPS tracking system, fleet managers benefits from electronic recordings of off-road RUC entitlements when claiming or for auditing purposes. While it reduces the risk of fines around compliance, it maximises off-road RUC refunds! Highly accurate GPS tracking and sophisticated off-road mapping for the entire New Zealand road network in an NZTA-approved solution, it provides fleet managers with full transparency. 

Read more about what RUC Management is »

Improved routing

With GPS location tracking, fleet managers gain a real-time view on vehicle locations, both past and present. Managers and dispatchers are able to calculate more efficient routes for each vehicle to avoid adverse conditions, reduce delays that increase idle times, save fuel and shorten drive time. When the fleet has a number of vehicles on the road, dispatch can match a delivery destination to the nearest vehicle, further cutting down on kilometres travelled.

Better driving

High speeds consume more fuel. Increasing speed from 90km/h to 105km/h can raise fuel consumption by as much as 15%.1 Consumption increases rapidly after 105km/h, and that adds up at the end of a trip, or a day.

Telematics can monitor driver behaviour to detect unsafe or aggressive driving practices, such as excessive speed, acceleration and idle times. This technology can send your drivers an immediate alert to reduce speed, which contribute to better fuel management. 

Less engine idling

Traffic congestion, delays or less-than-optimal routing on a job will add to engine idle time. Light commercial vehicle engines can use 2–3 L of fuel per hour idling, while prime movers use up to 4 L/h. 2 If a vehicle is left idling, up to half the time the engine is running, it’s burning fuel with no benefit. Telematics provides actionable data that can help in reducing or avoiding the conditions that lead to excess engine idling. Savings as high as 8% can be achieved across fleets.2

Tyres

Tyre sensors and the data they provide can alert a fleet manager when tyre pressure is low. Under inflation can exert a serious impact on fuel consumption; soft tyres may reduce efficiency by as much as 10 percent and can throw out the alignment of the vehicle. Up to 1/3 of light trucks on the roads are found to be travelling with under-inflated tyres!The same study found that an estimated 4.5 billion litres of petrol is squandered each year due to the increased rolling resistance of under-inflated tyres – nearly 1% of fuel used in cars and light trucks.

Maintenance

A well-maintained truck operates at maximum efficiency. This includes getting the most out of every drop of petrol burned. Telematics solutions that offer maintenance monitoring can provide an automated service schedule so that owner-operators and fleet managers will stay on top of required care. As an added benefit, this will prevent excessive wear and prolong the life of a fleet’s most costly assets—equipment that is far more expensive to repair or replace than the price of a tank of fuel.

Sources:
1 “Fuel Efficient Driving”, Earth Easy.
 “Technology Study: Engine Idle Management”, Roads & Maritime Services.
 “Under-inflated tyres take toll on lives and fuel, Daily Scientist.