Thursday, May 16, 2013
25 Tips to save fuel.
Of all the factors affecting fuel economy, including aerodynamics and tire maintenance, more than a third are attributable to driver skills.
We have taken 27 of the tips from CCJ magazine and passed them on to you.
Fuel is the largest variable cost you have. If you can find just a couple things, it could add up to thousands of dollars a year.
1Investigate traffic problems, and plan around them. Slow traffic not only sucks hours from your on-duty time, it also requires more deceleration and acceleration, which requires more fuel. Check state U.S. Department of Transportation Websites for potential construction projects and traffic on a route.
2Isolate data and look for correlations. ECMs record any things that can affect fuel economy. Look for noticeable changes in average speed, top gear time, diesel particulate filter regenerations, shifting and idling. Compare those trends with fuel economy during the same period
3Plan fuel stops carefullySome in-cab navigation systems and smartphone apps include real-time information in their point-of interest features to help you search for the nearest fuel locations and cheapest prices on their route.
4Use route-planning software or a GPS unit. Choosing the shortest, most practical truck route can save hundreds of dollars a year in fuel. Spoken turn-by-turn directions will take you directly to street-level addresses. With navigation, savings of 10 or 15 miles a week are possible by eliminating out-of-route miles.
5Analyze fuel consumption trends. When mpg falls, try to determine why. Did you encounter more urban driving? Did your length of haul change? As a general rule, drops of more than 0.5 mpg are due to maintenance problems. ECMs can be wildly optimistic, so your actual mileage may be lower than indicated. Validate ECM readings with your own calculations based on the odometer and gallons purchased at fillup.
6Avoid revving the engine between shifts. Ease into each new gear, and don’t be in a hurry to climb through them.
7Minimize air-conditioning use. Running the A/C delivers a 2/10 to 4/10 mpg hit.
8 Run in your engine’s sweet spot. Once you reach cruis-ing speed, operating in the peak torque zone gives you optimum horsepower so that the engine runs most efficiently. It takes only about 200 horsepower to maintain 65 mph.
9 Match tires to your appli-cation. If you’re running long-haul routes and using tires designed for any other application, your fuel economy will suffer.
10Don’t punch the throttle. Gradually put your foot into it, pretending there’s an egg between the pedal and the floorboard. Use smooth, steady accelerator inputs to avoid fuel burn spikes.
11Maximize use of cruise control. That enables you to avoid wasteful throttle use to climb hills.
12 Lower your average highway speed. Every mph over 55 equals a 0.1-mpg drop in fuel economy.
13Anticipate traffic lights. If you can approach slowly and avoid a complete stop, it saves fuel and reduces equipment wear.
14Turn off the engine. You should avoid excessive warm-up times when starting the truck, even for a short time. Look for other times when you have a habit of idling.
15 Maintain an extend-ed following distance. It helps to prevent unnecessary acceleration due to frequent braking.
16Use shore power when it’s available. Many inverters and auxiliary power units come with a plug-in option that converts incoming current to DC to charge the batteries, using AC to power climate-control units and/or in-cab accessories. The truckstop electrification movement to help eliminate idling has gained steam in the last year, with plug-in options available at many more parking spaces.
17Avoid needless acceler-ation when not on cruise. Don’t hit the throttle too much when approaching the hill’s crest. Instead, lay off the throttle and let the truck’s momentum carry it over. Watch the boost gauge for an exact read of what you’re doing.
18 Keep up with oil and oil filter changes. A well maintained engine not only lasts longer, it also has a fuel efficiency edge.
19 Use low rolling resistance tires. Deeper-lug tires usually last longer, but their extended tread has slight movement – enough to decrease fuel economy. Shallower lugs decrease rolling resistance and help improve fuel economy.
20 Purchase a diesel-powered heater. Operators in northern climates may not need to shell out to $9,000 for a full-function diesel APU because a less expensive diesel-fired heater can keep the cab plenty warm while burning about a quarter of the fuel an APU uses.
21Monitor tire pressure. Each 10 psi that tires are underinflated reduces fuel economy by 1 percent. Check tire pressure during your pretrip.
22 Check wheel align-ment. Make alignment testing, both on the tractor and trailer part of your periodic maintenance. It’s essential for optimum fuel economy and maximum tire life.
23 Maintain DPFs. A plugged DPF hampers exhaust flow, which can lead to compression or combustion problems if left untreated.
24 Keep belts at proper tension. Even slight slipping creates parasitic horsepower loss. Make sure all belts are tightened properly and in good condition.
25Get oil analysis. The main value of routine analysis is identifying engine problems before they become serious, but some of those problems also can affect fuel usage.