When you’re a professional HGV driver, vehicle maintenance suddenly becomes much more important than in any other job. It also means you end up paying much more attention to things like fuel prices, which are constantly creeping up despite the fluctuating oil prices. Regardless of whether your fuel is paid for by your employer or out of your own pocket, it is important to understand how you can reduce your fuel bills in little ways – like changing the way you drive. This month we bring you 4 little tips that can make a big difference to your fuel economy – particularly on long haul journeys in your old faithful HGV.
Use Your Cruise Control
While using your cruise control might sometimes feel like that episode of The Simpsons where the truckers don’t actually drive the trucks (the computers do), it is one of your most valuable tools in the fight for fuel economy. Cruise control allows you to keep your HGV moving at a constant speed, reducing the need for acceleration and braking and decrease the amount of fuel you use. If you know what your engines ‘sweet spot’ is for fuel efficiency (every vehicle has one), then you can set cruise control to match it and double your money. On long journeys spent mainly on motorways and A roads, this adds up to some serious fuel savings.
Understanding Resistance (And How To Use It)
If you’ve ever studies aerodynamics (or just watched the Formula 1), you will know that resistance has a lot to do with speed and fuel usage in cars. With a vehicle as big and bulky as an HGV, achieving aerodynamic perfection can feel impossible –so it’s all about the little battles. In your journeys, resistance can come from the air, the gradient, or from rolling resistance on your tyres (to find out what that is, watch this video). To make the most of it, invest in a complete set of low-rolling resistance tyres, which can give fuel efficiency gains of up to 6% on long haul HGV journeys. Making sure your tyres are always at the correct pressure can bring that up to 7%.
Start Block Changing
Block changing gears is essentially the practice of missing out gears that aren’t relevant to the speed you’re currently driving at. So instead of working up or down through the gears as you would when you first pass your driving test, block changing means you would go from 1st to 4th, or 5th to 2nd in one change. By learning how to block change gears, you can significantly reduce the amount of fuel you’re using and lower your rev count as well. Particularly when moving up the gears, this has been proven to improve fuel efficiency and lower consumption. It also means you can spend more time with your hands on the wheel instead of on the gears, making your driving safer.
While it might be tempting to leave your engine on and running the heater during your breaks in Winter, this could actually be costing you a lot in fuel. Studies into the fuel consumption of HGV’s have shown that a 420HP heavy duty engine will consumer fuel at a rate of 2 litres an hour when stationary and idling. It might not sound like much, but over time it really adds up!
Of course, there are more ways you can improve your efficiency, but most of them men kitting out your HGV with a lot of that expensive aerodynamic gear. If you own your own HGV you might want to consider this as an option for long term savings, it’s not always practical. If you have any tips for saving fuel that we haven’t mentioned here, we would love to hear them! Leave a comment below of get in touch with one of our team today.
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