The Energy Saving Trust and Department for Transport recommend that business fleets adopt eco driving as a means of improving efficiency, saving money and reducing emissions.
Automotive businesses face many inherent, fixed costs, such as fuel and vehicle servicing and maintenance, constantly squeezing their margins. Therefore, any measures which can help mitigate these costs are going to have value.
“Fleets feel the squeeze, and with future emissions controls and economic uncertainties, measures taken now may help in the long-term”
Modifying Driving Styles
Eco driving involves changing the way people drive. One such change is to do with pedal control.
“How you control the vehicle can determine your fuel consumption,” Alan explains.
This means that sudden braking or rapid acceleration will use up more fuel than if driving involves a more gradual slowing down and speeding up.
“You’re reducing engine strain, so, in addition to fuel economy, you’re being gentler with the vehicle in maintenance terms,” Alan says.
Another recommended driving method is to avoid engine idling wherever possible. Allowing the engine to run for over even 10 seconds of waiting time in traffic is wasteful of fuel. For more modern vehicles, a stop-start function addresses this issue, but for older vehicles it is down to the driver.
“Again, this might seem like a relatively minor thing, but it adds up,” Alan states.
“Small things can have a significant, long-term impact on fuel economy, and if you multiply this saving by the number of vehicles in your fleet, you might appreciate the difference it can make”
Another means of reducing engine idling is to plan alternative routes to avoid traffic congestion, using vehicle telematics.
Economical Driving Styles and Staff Training
Modifying driving styles to save money, and improve driver safety, are as much training issues as they should be business-led.
“Whereas some driving techniques might seem like common sense, such as avoiding excessive speed or shifting up gears early, to become part of a company policy requires a degree of staff engagement, and possibly training,” Alan advises.
“It is worthwhile fleet managers ensuring that drivers have access to the relevant eco driving information at the very least, and that they fit the kind of in-vehicle telematics to help change driving styles”
There are various options to encourage the adoption of economical driving styles in fleets. One is on-the-road training, another is to enrol staff in online driving courses.
Whichever option you choose, will be centred on fuel-efficient driving and, ultimately, reducing your costs.