Fuel ranks as one of the more significant expenses for motor carriers. For small owner-operators, fuel ranks as the top expense.
Even when the cost of diesel fuel is lower (according to the Energy Information Administration the cost of diesel is 10.5 cents per gallon lower than about a year ago) the amount carriers spend on fuel is significant. Drivers and maintenance technicians must know the importance of taking steps to conserve fuel when necessary.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not require training on fuel conservation, nor does it have any regulations linked to saving fuel. Still, in-house training on saving your company some money at the pump can be a wise business decision.
What drivers can do
Make sure your drivers are aware of the importance of saving fuel through their daily actions. The driver techniques and practices that have the biggest impact on fuel mileage are:
The most important thing a driver can do when it comes to inspecting and caring for the vehicle to save fuel is to regularly check tire pressure. Checking it before every trip is essential, as under-inflated tires can reduce fuel mileage by 2 to 5 percent.
Drivers should also check for:
What maintenance can do
Maintenance departments need to work together with drivers to keep trucks running at top-level efficiency. When a driver complains of an operating issue, maintenance technicians should immediately investigate.
A checklist of priorities during inspections for the maintenance crew during should include:
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