- National Transport Insurance
Six Ways to Save On Spiralling Diesel Prices
For the road transport industry, it has never been more expensive to fuel a truck. The cost of diesel has soared, tax credits have changed and as of writing, operators are staring down well over $2.30 per litre at the bowser in capital cities. That’s nearly 50 per cent more per litre than it was 18 months ago.
With fuel such a major expense for transport operators, even small savings – either through buying cheaper fuel or using less fuel - can have a major impact on profitability.
With this in mind, here’s six simple tips to cut fuel expenditure and boost your bottom-line.
- Fuel Cards
- Maintenance & Lubricants
- Premium Diesels
- Vehicle Aerodynamics
- Fuel Efficient Driving
1. Fuel Cards
A fuel card is a popular tool for transport operators to help maintain spending and keep track of what’s going on away from the depot.
Through a fuel card arrangement, businesses can receive the convenience of major retail fuelling stations while also receiving potential discounts on fuel.
A fuel card also streamlines your business’s fuel administration. With online access to your account, you can manage your cards, set up reporting systems, download statements and check transactions whenever you want.
And at tax time you can access a single tax invoice and statement itemising the GST payable for all your fuel purchases.
2. Maintenance & Lubricants
Having a good maintenance program to keep your vehicle running at its best is not only good for your rig but can help reduce fuel consumption.
The latest data from energy.gov.au suggests the potential for fuel savings and emissions abatement with proper maintenance may be as high as 10 per cent.
Advances in lubricant and oil technology have also been shown to improve fuel efficiency. Low-viscosity oils and lubricants (that still meet the manufacturer’s requirements) can help fuel economy by up to three per cent compared to standard offerings. Lowering the viscosity in engine oils reduces friction and is a key enabler to deliver fuel efficiency gains, as well as protecting your engine.
* It is recommended you use the correct lubricants as recommended by the engine manufacturer or equipment manufacturer.
Basic tyre maintenance can also produce significant savings in fuel consumption.
By driving with under-inflated tyres, your vehicle’s drag is increased which ultimately drives up fuel consumption.
Truck tyres inflated 10 psi below recommended air pressure levels can lower truck fuel efficiency by around 5 per cent.
* Under-inflated tyres are also more prone to irregular tread wear.
4. Premium Diesels
Some premium diesel products have additives in them that are designed to maintain fuel systems. These additives in particular help stop the build-up of carbon as well as reduce residual water in fuel tanks.
The efficiency claims differ from brand to brand, however, the intention of these products is to help keep the engine running at its peak performance, therefore reducing fuel consumption.
5. Vehicle Aerodynamics
Volvo Trucks says heavy vehicles overcoming air resistance can contribute to around 10 per cent of its fuel consumption, so investing in aerodynamic aids for your rig can be worth the investment.
Aerodynamic features such as air deflectors, chassis fairings and new vision systems that replace mirrors have all been found to help reduce the drag on your vehicle, therefore helping with fuel savings.
Bad news for drivers who like bling; external accessories like extra lights, bull bars, air horns and ornaments will increase fuel consumption by an average of one per cent per accessory.
6. Fuel Efficient Driving
The way you drive the truck is one of the biggest influences on fuel consumption and is said to impact your fuel economy figures by up 30 per cent.
Driving smoothly while also having a good understanding of your truck and driving techniques and how driving styles can affect fuel consumption can help you save on fuel and maintenance.
Other tips include minimising braking by observing the conditions ahead; changing gears as little as possible; and keeping the truck moving and maintaining momentum wherever possible.
Speed can also positively change your fuel efficiency. By simply reducing your highway speed from 100 to 90km/h, you can reduce fuel use by nearly 10 per cent.
Vehicle idling is another common activity that can negatively impact your fuel consumption. Some statistics suggest that truck engines can spend up to half the time of operation idling, effectively burning fuel without any benefit.
Remind drivers to switch off when they make arrive at destinations and stop for short periods. Technology such as speed-limiters and engine cut-off devices can also be beneficial.