Fuel efficiency is one of the most important factors in modern road transport. With the basic engine manufacturing process honed to a fine point, the amount of fuel it takes to complete our journeys is mainly down to how we drive. For car drivers, this might not seem like much, but for HGV drivers who make long haul journeys regularly, this can add up to a lot of extra money. So as a professional driver it is important to learn how to become more fuel efficient without drastically having to change the way you drive. Luckily this month we’ve brought you some of our best, long haul fuel saving tips.
Use The Cruise Control
If you looked at UK roads 10 years ago, cruise control would have been a rarity. However now it is a standard feature in many cars and HGV’s, and for a very good reason. Computers are able to calculate and control, speed and fuel consumption in a way that the human eye simply cannot, which is why it is important to utilise it. By using your on-board cruise control to maintain a steady speed throughout the majority of your journey, you are able to reduce the amount of acceleration, braking and deceleration in a single journey, making your driving more fuel efficient. If you are able to find your vehicles ‘sweet spot’ speed for optimal fuel consumption (all cars have one), you can increase the benefits even more. You can also spend more time focusing on the road than your speed, improving your safety.
Understand Resistance (And How To Avoid It)
The resistance a HGV encounters as it travels has an enormous effect on the fuel efficiency of a vehicle – so it’s important to know how to harness it. Resistance can come from the air, from the gradient of the road or even from ‘rolling resistance’, which refers to the momentum of a vehicle as it travels. While you should always try to choose the least hilly options for HGV driving, there are a few other ways to combat resistance for fuel efficiency. For example, investing in a complete set of low-rolling resistance tyres can mean gains of 6% fuel efficiency in long journeys, and making sure they are always at the correct pressure can increase efficiency by a further 2%, While this might not sound like a lot, it adds up to big fuel savings.
Stop Idling About
While it might be tempting to leave the engine running in your HGV when you’re not driving – especially during winter when it keeps you warm- it could be costing you a lot in fuel. Studies show that a typical 430ho heavy-duty HGV engine will consume fuel at a rate of around 2 litres an hour when it is stationary and idling. So for your breaks, try turning the engine off and pulling a blanket over you instead – it’ll save you a lot of money!
Learn About Block Changing
Block changing gears is something every HGV driver should know how to do and practice on every journey. Essentially, it is when you miss out gears that aren’t relevant to the spend you’re currently driving at. So instead of working up or down through the gears (as you would when you’re first taking your basic driving test), you would instead skip straight from 2nd to 4th, or from 5th to 3rd. Block changing gears, especially when changing up, has been scientifically proven to increase fuel efficiency by reducing the energy and fuel required to move the vehicle forwards. It means your engine is working less hard to move forward with fewer revs and therefore using less fuel.
Of course, there are more ways you can improve your efficiency, but most of them mean kitting out your HGV with a lot of aerodynamic gear! Though good vehicle maintenance is important, that might be best left to the designers! If you have any other tricks we’ve not mentioned, we’d love to hear them. For more tips, or to start your career as an HGV driver today, get in touch with the team HGV Training Cost – we’d love to help.