Techniques for Drivers to Conserve Fuel
Fleet drivers can conserve fuel by learning how driving behaviors affect fuel economy and by adopting techniques to save fuel and money. The amount of fuel your vehicle consumes depends heavily on how you drive. Also see FuelEconomy.gov for information about driving efficiently.
Speeding increases fuel consumption and decreases fuel economy. Energy to move a vehicle requires fuel consumption to overcome resistance from air and tire rolling. While vehicles reach optimal fuel economy at different speeds, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 miles per hour. For example, every 5 miles per hour you drive over 50 miles per hour is like paying $0.20 more per gallon of gas (based on the price of gas at $2.89 per gallon).
Vehicles require the most energy when accelerating. Gentle and well-timed acceleration and braking can improve the fuel economy of your vehicle by 33% on the highway and 5% in the city. Driving conservatively can help your fleet save fuel and money.
By combining trips, you can save your fleet time and money, and avoid unnecessary cold starts. Shorter trips can use twice as much fuel as longer, multipurpose trips covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
Reduce Your Load
The additional weight from random items left in a vehicle requires more fuel to propel. Offload unnecessary items to reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle
Maintain Your Vehicle
Maintaining vehicles properly can improve fuel economy up to 40%. Devices and additives claiming to improve fuel economy and reduce pollution are usually not legitimate.
Drivers may find it difficult to recognize opportunities to conserve fuel while driving. A study by the University of California Transportation Center found that instantaneous feedback affects driver behavior and improves fuel economy on average by 6% for city driving and 1% on the highway.
Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly providing instant driver feedback through in-vehicle displays. For example, Honda's Eco Assist feature shows how driving style affects fuel economy. Ford's SmartGauge with EcoGuide displays leaves and vines based on the efficiency of driver behavior. Aftermarket feedback devices are also available and can be added to existing vehicles.
- FuelEconomy.gov Gas Mileage Tips
U.S. Department of Energy, Transportation Energy Data Book
See Fleet Vehicles and Characteristics (Chapter 7) and Household Vehicles and Characteristics (Chapter 8).
- University of California Riverside's ECO-ITS Research Program