Simple Strategies for HGV Fuel Saving

Simple Strategies for HGV Fuel Saving
May 10 12:44 2017 Print This Article

In the road transport business, fuel efficiency is a constant concern and rightly so. Though technology is doing a great deal to reduce overall fuel consumption, professional drivers concerned with the always-rising price of fuel need to make efficient consumption a top concern. Barring a little corporate assistance in the form of a cutting-edge aerodynamic kit for your HGV, the best way to keep fuel efficiency high when you’re driving is to regulate your own activity on the road. Here are some simple tips to get more performance out of the precious money you invest in fuel.

Learn to Block Change

Block changing gears is something you may well have done by accident but there’s actually a very compelling reason to master it as a deliberate skill. All you’re doing with a block change is skipping over gears that aren’t currently needed at your road speed. There’s no reason to plough through every last gear in order if you’re familiar with your vehicle and know where you need to be. Going straight from second to fourth or skipping down from fifth to third saves you more than just time. Studies have verified that habitually block changing will save you fuel (the effect is most pronounced when you’re shifting up). Eliminating time spent in unneeded gears reduces the amount of work your engine needs to do; that translates directly into lower rev counts and less fuel consumed. As a safety benefit, block changing also keeps your hands on the wheel with less time spent manipulating the gear stick.

Cruise Control is Your Friend

Cruise control has gone from a high-tech luxury to a nigh-universal feature on both private and commercial vehicles. As long as your vehicle is equipped with it, you should be using it. Keeping your vehicle at a constant speed eliminates revs, braking and acceleration in situations where they aren’t really needed. When you’re on a long-distance trip, the amount of fuel saved by avoiding unneeded acceleration can be significant.

Minimise Resistance

Every driver encounters resistance but the overall impact it has depends on the size and weight of your vehicle. Taking a heavy load on a long journey pits you against a lot of resistance – from the air, the road and the gradients you encounter along the way. That all translates into more fuel consumed to get your HGV to its destination. Although it’s impossible to get rid of resistance completely, you can take steps to minimise its impact. Plan routes that avoid hilly terrain wherever possible in order to reduce gradient resistance. Rolling resistance can be cut down by investing in good HGV tyres and maintaining them properly. Tyres designed specifically to minimise rolling resistance can cut your fuel consumption by up to six percent. Bear in mind that you lose one percent of that savings for every 10 PSI of tyre pressure you lose.

Avoid Idling

When you’re on the road in the winter, it’s quite tempting to idle your engine during shorter breaks so that your heater stays on. Similar principles apply in summer with your air conditioner. You must remind yourself that idling time costs you money in the form of fuel that gets burned without moving your load toward its destination. The research on the topic is quite clear and the fuel losses can be startling. A standard 420 HP engine, for example, consumes 2 litres of fuel for every hour of stationary idling.

HGV drivers have a lot of different choices they can make to increase their fuel efficiency but a lot of them are too expensive and time-intensive to make use of on a whim. The suggestions presented here will allow you to shave a little off your fuel expenses without making huge investments in aerodynamic bodies or other drastic measures.

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