The same car or truck being operated by a different driver (or in a different driving style) can have almost a 10 – 15% difference in fuel consumption. Driving smarter means spending less on fuel. “The largest impact on fuel economy is driver behavior. These include speed, road management and driving style,” said Bob Halfyard, director of safety and compliance at Challenger Motor Freight. Fleet management is realizing the value in actively training their drivers to reinforce awareness about fuel-efficient driving techniques.
Fleet management should make sure drivers are aware of their gas mileage. Rewarding drivers for good driving behavior is a good way to encourage good driving habits. Using technology such as the best GPS Fleet Tracking system to monitor driver behavior, gas mileage, and engine diagnostics is very helpful.
One of the most important things is preparing the right fleet vehicle for the job it will be performing. This is crucial to avoiding some excessive fuel costs. Finding ways to improve operating efficiencies to reduce waiting times is also important for fleets. Fleets must make sure drivers are trained on the new technologies on the fleet vehicle so they can utilize them to their full potential.
“We promote idle control and work with the drivers to reduce unnecessary idle time through awareness. We do train drivers on progressive shifting. Even with automated manual transmissions they can go easy or ‘feather’ the fuel pedal to encourage lower RPM shifts. Speed control and road management is critical. Not just top speed but how fast do they accelerate, do they look well ahead and plan their traffic stops so they can be smooth and gradual, or are they charging from one light to another?” noted Halfyard.
Control of the space around the driver’s vehicle, and avoiding hard braking or panic stops by looking well ahead, then slowing down just a few miles per hour and running steady instead of jockeying for position in traffic and having to speed up and slow down is also key, he said. Adding aerodynamic and idle-reduction technologies reduces the wear and tear on engines and can save from 0.5 to 1 mpg, all inclusive, said Halfyard, who uses a modified Freightliner cab driver simulator at Challenger’s Cambridge, Ont. facility.
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