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How to Save Gas During the Summer?

  • By Ryan Skidmore

The struggles of those heated days are upon us. With them comes the experiential continuum of joy and frustration that make the greatest and worst of memories. Fact! Business picks up during summer. More business equals more driving. More driving means more gas spent which increases your operational costs. How does a business save on gas during the summer?

  • Don’t under-accelerate.  The slower the better, right? Wrong! Vehicles operate more efficiently in higher gears. Reaching speed in a timely fashion means less time is spent in lower gears. Granted, accelerating too quickly wastes fuel as well.
  • Use A.C. at higher speeds. Air conditioning and vehicle aerodynamics, combined, are more efficient and provide better gas mileage than just rolling down the windows, especially at consistent speeds without much decelerating or accelerating. Vehicles are engineered to be efficient in the face of the wind. Any break in that design will reduce gas mileage.
  • Coast to a stop. Stepping on the gas feels good, but letting off the gas early and letting the vehicle coast before ultimately stepping on the brake reduces the RPMs during a time when they are not necessary. Less vroom-vroom equals less gas used.
  • Make only right turns. FedEx drivers do it. I had an engineer friend tell me he does it. Idling at left turns wastes gas. The simple volume of left turns a driver encounters in a day turn seconds into hours over the course of a year.
  • Warm up the engine. Warming up a modern engine is nothing like that of yore. Letting the vehicle sit at an idle before ultimately departing or revving the engine for a few minutes. The regular operating temperature is obvious from the temperature gauge on the instrument panel and usually takes a uniform amount of time from day to day. In order to warm up a modern engine for the sake of saving gas, simply drive to the furthest destination, in a series of stops, first. The engine will remain at the operating temp for 30 minutes or more, leaving plenty of time for making short stops.
  • Dejunk the junk trunk. We all do it. Perhaps, this habit is fine in consumer grade vehicles. However, unnecessary items destroy any gas saving in fleet vehicles, undoing any gains from other, more sophisticated, measure.
  • Drive slower. Reducing top speeds on the freeway dramatically improves gas efficiency. Higher speeds over 65 mph take significant amount of energy to maintain.
  • Be aerodynamic. Vehicles are designed for the wind to flow over them in a certain fashion, in order, to deliver certain levels of power and efficiency. Equipment, such as square luggage racks mounted to the roof for an egregious example, may interfere with the efficiency. Any equipment that does not make an effort to be aerodynamic also does so.
  • Use cruise control. On trips with long stretches, cruise control will maintain a steadier speed than a foot on an accelerator. Decreases in speed lead to increases in speed which uses more gas. Staying at the same speed will use a consistent amount of fuel.
  • Don’t idle. Sage wisdom has never been truer. Turning off vehicles when they are not being driven saves so much gas over time that companies like yours truly created a feature in their GPS tracking and Fleet Management products to tell business owners when their drivers are idling. Preventing idling saves quite a bit of fuel.
  • Combinations. Combining efforts turns small gains into big ones. There is rarely a magic bullet to any conundrum, saving gas bends to this rule as well. Using two or more of any strategy on this list is recommended for best results. Of course, the first step is getting a handle on what drivers are doing in vehicles on a daily basis and the best way to accomplish that is with a Fleet Management system aided by Telematics.

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