Vehicle Parts and Equipment to Conserve Fuel
Vehicle fleet managers and drivers can conserve fuel and maximize their operational efficiency by outfitting their vehicles with parts and equipment that save fuel. Implementing fuel-efficient strategies, systems, and programs for some or all vehicles can help fleets monitor and manage their vehicles better.
Low Rolling Resistance Tires
Passenger vehicles use about 5%-15% of light-duty fuel consumption to overcome tire rolling resistance. For heavy trucks, this consumption can be 15%-30%. Installing low rolling resistance tires improves vehicle fuel economy. In light-duty vehicles, a 5%-7% reduction in rolling resistance increases fuel efficiency by 1%.
Replacing traditional dual tires with one super-single (also called wide-base or single-wide) tire saves fuel by reducing the weight and rolling resistance, which means the engine doesn't need to work as hard. A super-single tire is not quite as wide as the sum of the two tires, so there is a slight aerodynamic benefit as well.
Aerodynamic Equipment and Vehicle Design
By reducing the drag, or resistance, aerodynamic equipment eases the load on the engine and improves the fuel economy of a vehicle. Airfoils, trailer gap reducers, side skirts, and tails are examples of aerodynamic equipment that fleets can install on trucks. Airfoils direct air over the cab, gap reducers extend between the back of the tractor and front of the trailer, side skirts limit the air that circulates under the trailer, and tails limit the turbulent airstreams dragging behind the trailer.
Many heavy-duty and light-duty vehicle manufacturers are developing streamlined vehicle designs that reduce drag on vehicles.
Idle Reduction Equipment
Auxiliary power units, bunk heaters, batteries, and other idle reduction equipment can help reduce idling and save fuel.
Long-haul fleets can take advantage of electrified parking spaces, also known as truck stop electrification, which provide power to necessary systems such as heating, air conditioning, or appliances without idling the engine. Fleets can install special equipment on vehicles to improve their efficiency and conserve fuel. Many of these investments have short payback periods.
Fuel-Tracking Devices and Telematics Systems
Data collection devices installed in vehicles can track fuel economy, maintenance schedules, and fleet performance to help fleets track fuel consumption and improve fuel economy.
GPS-based telematics systems that plug into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system monitor miles driven, idle time, fuel economy, and engine maintenance requirements. Many of these telematics systems are paired with powerful software packages or driver training programs to help track activity and manage fuel consumption. Many devices give drivers real-time fuel economy feedback, which has proven effective in reducing fuel use.
Some devices give drivers real-time fuel economy feedback, which has proven to be very effective in reducing fuel use.
Speed Control Modules
Fleet managers can install electronic speed control modules to prevent vehicles from traveling faster than a specific speed, which can conserve fuel. For example, all vehicles in Staples' delivery fleet are equipped with these modules to keep vehicles from exceeding 60 miles per hour. This strategy has saved more than 3 million gallons of fuel since the program began in 2006.
Synthetic oils can improve fuel economy in light-duty vehicles by reducing friction in the engine.