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 and trailer side skirts are examples of aerodynamic equipment that fleets can install on trucks. Airfoils direct air over the cab, and trailer side skirts extend between the back of the tractor and front of the trailer.
Many heavy-duty and light-duty vehicle manufacturers are developing streamlined vehicle designs that reduce drag on completed vehicles.
Idle Reduction Equipment
Auxiliary power units, bunk heaters, 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 relatively 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 improving fuel economy.
GPS-based telematics systems that monitor miles driven, idle time, fuel economy, and engine maintenance requirements can help fleets track activity and manage fuel consumption. For example, Fiat's eco:Drive Fleet application can be installed on certain Fiat vehicles to gather and display data. Fleet managers can access data for individual vehicles and fleets overall to track progress and identify opportunities for improvement.
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 nearly 3 million gallons of fuel since the program began in 2006.
Synthetic oils can improve fuel economy in light-duty vehicles.