3 Tips for a Fuel Efficient Fleet

Aug 27, 2013

Over the past few months, we have given fleet managers fuel saving tips for efficient engine function and fuel saving practices for drivers. This week,  Fleet Cards USA is going to cover more fuel saving tips so that every business dollar for fuel is justifiably spent.

Upgrade fleet vehicles for enhanced fuel economy

As a fleet manager, it is pertinent to ensure that your fleet drivers are practicing fuel efficient tactics when behind the wheel. However, there are vehicle enhancements that can allow these fuel efficient driving practices to realize their savings to a greater extent.

Oil Grade Impacts Fuel Economy

Motor oil might originate from the same fossil beds, but the way an engine responds to the various grades differs greatly. Oil grades are generally classified based on two metrics: viscosity at cold temperatures, and viscosity at heat. For example, 5W-30 oil has a viscosity rating of 5 at 0° F and a rating of 30 at 212° F. What this means is when the engine is cold the oil will be thinner, and thus be able to lubricate the engine components faster than a thicker fluid. However, as the engine heats up, the oil thickens, allowing greater protection against the shearing forces of an engine.  It is important to utilize the recommended oil grade for each fleet vehicle because the varying properties of distinct engines will require a more or less viscous lubricant.  Improper oil selection can lead to aggressive wear on startup and increased friction – the enemy of efficiency – during operation.

Synthetic Lubricants are more Efficient than Organic

Synthetic lubricants have long been recommended for high performance vehicles, because of their ability to protect and even enhance the output of an engine. The vehicles in your fleet are some of the most valuable assets to your business, so treat them like the race cars they dream to be while also increasing fuel efficiency.  Synthetic fluids have proven to reduce friction and increase efficiency when compared to the organic counterparts for crankcase, differential, and transmission lubricants. While these are upgrades and have a steeper up-front cost, the fuel savings offset the expense before the fleet's next fluid change.

Wide-Base Single tires Reduce Weight and Rolling Resistance

Dual tire setups have been a strong-hold in the trucking industry for decades because of the increased weight distribution from both the trailer to the tire and the tire to the road; enabling a greater payload to be carried. Unfortunately, duals are heavy and have a higher rolling resistance than their wide-base counterparts because of the number of sidewalls that meet the road. Wide-base single tires (interchangeably referred to as super wides) provide a lighter weight more efficient alternative to a dual setup.

With less materials required in the manufacturing process, replacing your fleet's dual tires with super wides allows for a lighter Curb Weight.  This lighter weight provides increased fuel economy when operating the fleet at less than the Gross Combined Weight Rating, while also enabling more cargo to be carried within the limits of the transportation infrastructure. In addition to the weight management these tires provide, fuel efficiency is boosted considerably. With the most resistant point of contact for a tire being the sidewall, a 50% reduction of sidewalls greatly decreases the fleet vehicle's rolling resistance. In the most extreme examples, created by 62 wheel road trains, replacing fleet tires with wide-base singles will show a reduction in sidewalls by a count of 60.

Save your Business Money by upgrading the Fleet

From following a manufacturer's recommendations, to utilizing performance enhancing, synthetic lubricants, and exchanging high resistant duals for weight reducing super wides, increasing fuel economy is an imperative process to any financially conscious fleet manager. A few dollars initially spent to upgrade components of your fleet vehicle, can save your business thousands of dollars in the long run.