Fuel-Saving 101: Practical Tips for Every Driver

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#Fuel Efficiency
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Ensuring fleets are fuel-efficient is crucial for businesses, as it can directly impact their bottom line. Although fuel prices have steadied over the last few months, petrol prices are rising again due to conflict in the Middle East. By adopting fuel-efficient techniques, businesses can save money at the pump, even during periods of volatility. 

Businesses can also limit their greenhouse gas emissions by reducing fuel consumption, helping to protect the environment. Demonstrating this commitment to fuel efficiency will resonate with eco-conscious customers and can therefore enhance your business reputation.

What does fuel efficiency mean?

Fuel efficiency relates to the capacity of an engine to obtain energy from fuel. Having higher fuel efficiency means that less fuel is required to achieve the same level of performance. This results in lower fuel consumption and operating costs.

Environmental sustainability is directly impacted by fuel efficiency. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, helping to minimise air pollution. This ensures businesses are aligned with regulatory requirements and meet societal expectations for corporate responsibility.  

What is most likely to waste fuel?

Inefficient usage of fuel can lead to unnecessary costs and negative environmental impacts. Understanding the factors that contribute to fuel wastage is crucial for businesses to optimise their operations and improve fuel efficiency. Some of the key factors that contribute to wasted fuel are:

  1. Poorly maintained vehicles – regular maintenance is essential for optimal fuel efficiency. Neglecting vehicle maintenance can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and higher fuel consumption.

  2. Excessive idling - leaving engines running whilst stopped for extended periods of time consumes fuel unnecessarily.

  3. Driver behaviour - rapid acceleration, hard braking, and speeding can significantly reduce fuel efficiency.

  4. Overloading – the heavier the vehicle, the higher the fuel consumption so unnecessary cargo should be removed to limit fuel wastage.  

  5. Vehicle selection – different vehicles have varying levels of fuel efficiency. Fuel consumption is impacted by many factors, including age, size, engine, and transmission. 

  6. Air conditioning – excessive use of air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%. 

Businesses aiming to minimise fuel wastage should consider these factors when selecting vehicles for their fleet and implement strategies to promote fuel-efficient driving habits.

If you want to learn more about how to improve fuel efficiency for fleets, our blog delves into this and more.

Which driving techniques can save fuel?

Hypermiling is one of the most popular driving techniques for saving fuel. It’s the practice of driving a vehicle in the most fuel-efficient way possible and hypermiling has been proven to save drivers money on fuel. Adjusting driver style and eliminating bad habits will help your fleet maximise their fuel economy. Some top tips to save fuel and money include:

  • Maintaining a steady speed

  • Avoiding rapid acceleration and braking

  • Using cruise control on motorways

  • Driving defensively by anticipating events before they occur

What does fuel-efficient driving achieve?

The key goal of fuel-efficient driving is the cost savings. By driving more efficiently, you’ll waste less fuel, saving you money at the pumps. If you want to learn more about money-saving strategies like this, our blog delves into multiple ways to save money when managing a fleet.

In addition, the impact your vehicles have on the environment will be lessened as greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. 

EV drivers can also benefit from efficient driving techniques as they can help to extend range and lengthen the lifespan of your EV battery.

How can you avoid wasting fuel: practical tips

Adopting strategies to prevent fuel wastage can lead to significant cost savings and environmental benefits. This is particularly important for businesses on a budget where every penny counts. Drivers should therefore follow these practical tips to improve fuel efficiency:

Maintain proper tyre pressure

Underinflated tyres increase fuel consumption as the engine has to exert more power to move the wheels. Properly inflated tyres will improve fuel efficiency and provide better handling, keeping you and others safe on the road. 

You should check the condition of your tyres regularly, using your vehicle’s handbook to see the recommended tyre pressures. Michelin recommends that you check your tyres at least once a month

Drive smoothly 

Avoid rapid acceleration, hard braking, and sudden manoeuvres, as these driving behaviours can significantly increase fuel consumption. Instead, you should accelerate gradually and maintain a steady speed to conserve fuel.

Accelerating and decelerating frequently can increase fuel usage by up to 20%, so by driving smoothly and utilising the cruise control function on your vehicle, you can improve fuel efficiency. 

Plan efficient routes

Planning routes in advance can help to improve fuel economy by up to 15%. Where possible, you should choose routes with less traffic congestion, fewer stops, and smoother road conditions. Google Maps has launched fuel-efficient routing to help make planning journeys even easier for drivers.

Keep your vehicle well-maintained

Regular maintenance and servicing will improve the efficiency of your vehicle and save you money on fuel. It’s recommended that you service your vehicle once a year, or every 10,000 miles, and your vehicle must pass an annual MOT. This ensures your vehicle is roadworthy and leads to better fuel economy.

If you want tips on how to pass your MOT the first time, Right Fuel Card has got you covered!

Avoid excessive speed

Driving at higher speeds increases aerodynamic drag and fuel consumption. To achieve high mpg, you should drive in the highest gear possible whilst keeping within the speed limits.

For EVs, the increase in energy consumption is even greater at high speeds, so it’s important to maintain a steady pace as this will save you money on charging. 

Consider alternative fuels

Alternative fuels are generally cheaper to run than their ICE counterparts, making them an ideal choice for businesses looking to reduce costs. As EVs use regenerative braking, they can restore energy and put it back into the battery which prevents wastage and improves efficiency. 

Decarbonising your fleet will also significantly benefit the environment as EVs have no tailpipe emissions. This gives you free entry to clean air zones and improves brand reputation, so there’s never been a better time for businesses to switch to electric vehicles. 

Fuel management for fleets

By implementing simple yet effective practices, you can minimise fuel consumption and maximise efficiency in your fleets. Installing telematics systems can help, as you can monitor individual driver behaviour. This allows you to easily identify areas that need improvement and educate drivers on how to improve their fuel economy, saving your business money.

Businesses should also consider the fuels of the future to save costs and reduce emissions. This will demonstrate your commitment to decarbonisation and prepare your business for the 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles.  

Fuel cards for businesses

Our range of fuel cards is designed to help businesses with their fuel expenditure. We offer fixed weekly prices at a competitive rate, or drivers can choose one of our pump-price fuel cards. All transactions are clearly displayed on one invoice, so you can easily keep track of your fuel costs. 

For those looking to electrify their fleets, we offer two EV charge cards. Both the BP Fuel and Charge and the Shell Fuel and EV cards are a simple payment solution for businesses and can be used at thousands of chargers and petrol stations across the UK. 

Contact our team or request a callback to discuss your options.

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Karl Gurney
Head of Sales

Karl has over 14 years of experience in the fuel card industry and has a wealth of knowledge around the servicing and maintenance of fleet vehicles. Outside of work, Karl coaches a junior football team and enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 sons.