With gas prices always on the rise, companies need to watch their gas dollars carefully. Over the life of the fleet’s vehicles, poor fuel efficiency can lead to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in added expense. Properly maintaining vehicles and educating drivers on the most efficient way to drive are two of the best ways to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce long term expenses.
Here are six tips to maximize fuel performance:
1. Check the tire pressure
According to the US Department of Energy, the average driver could boost fuel efficiency by 3 percent just by keeping their tires properly inflated. Tires that are under inflated by just 1 psi cause fuel costs to increase per mile. Uneven wear can decrease fuel economy as well. Make sure tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. The correct tire pressure also provides a safer ride and helps reduce tire wear. An easy-to-use tire gauge can help keep tire pressure accurate.
2. Change the air filter
A clogged air filter can damage internal engine parts and rob up to 10 percent of the engine’s efficiency. According to the federal government, a vehicle’s gas mileage could improve by as much as 10 percent with a clean air filter. In addition to the fuel and monetary savings, replacing the air filter every 12,000 miles will help protect the engine.
3. Clean the fuel system
Even the smallest deposits, such as carbon and resin, can lead to poor engine performance and excessive fuel consumption. Flush out the fuel system, including the fuel injector, intake valve and combustion chamber by using a cleaner such as 3M™ Intake System Cleaner Kit. Easily perform this cleaning in your own facility using the 3M Aerosol Adapter Kit. For quick clean-up and maintenance of the injectors, use 3M Injector Cleaner Tank Additive I at every 3,000 mile oil change.
4. Relax and slow down
Reduce stress while driving and use less gas. Driving relaxed, with smooth acceleration and deceleration, can improve fuel economy as does driving while your vehicle is warm. The EPA estimates that accelerating rapidly and braking hard can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 5 percent.
5. Take off the weight
Believe it or not, an extra 100 pounds in or on the vehicle can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 2 percent. The smaller the vehicle, the more extra weight makes the engine work harder. Empty the trunk and remove any unnecessary tools and equipment. In the winter, don’t just clean the windshield, scrape the entire vehicle – snow and ice add weight. Finally, lose the roof rack. It creates wind resistance, the enemy of fuel efficiency.
6. Plan your routes
Consolidate trips to destinations to avoid retracing the route. Not only will this reduce miles driven, but also save wear-and-tear on the vehicle.
Finally, there is conflicting data regarding the use of the air conditioner and fuel efficiency. While some say it can rob an engine of up to 5 percent of its fuel economy, many newer vehicles are able to compensate for the energy used by an air conditioner.
In addition, opening windows at highway speeds can increase drag on the vehicle, decreasing fuel efficiency. However, if using an air conditioner will keep you cool, thus reducing stress while driving, it’s better to use the air conditioner that will cost you only half a mile a gallon, as opposed to driving like a maniac, which only will get you closer to the next fill-up.
For more information, visit www.grainger.com.