Tips for Eco-Friendly Commercial Driving
Sure, being efficient with your fuel can save you tons of money—but it can also have a big impact on the environment.
Here's how making a few good decisions can help you cut your delivery costs and save our planet at the same time.
Eco-Friendly Driving Habits
Even if you don't pay for the gas your truck uses, saving money on your fueling costs will save the company you work for money—which should be reason enough for a raise in your pay.
Consider these tips for using your fuel efficiently each time you operate your commercial vehicle:
- Choose the best route.
- City traffic, windy routes, bad roads, and routes that require more stops will all affect your fuel consumption.
- Go easy on the accelerator.
- Constant accelerations stress the engine and burn large amounts of fuel.
- Accelerate slow and easy after braking to waste less.
- Watch the amount of time you're idle.
- Unnecessary idling time wastes lots of gas.
- At truck stops or other times when you're not on the road, turn your vehicle off whenever possible.
- Maintain a consistent speed.
- Cruise control is a good way to keep your speed from fluctuating and use fuel more efficiently.
- Try to use the accelerator conservatively on ascents and descents.
- Unnecessary braking kills your momentum.
- If you find you're using your brake too much, slow down to a lower speed.
- Avoid city traffic.
- Leaving early in the morning or late at night can help you to avoid city traffic.
- Idling and constant stops during rush hour wastes lots of fuel.
Prepping Your Truck
The way you drive isn't the only thing that impacts how much fuel you're burning. In fact, your truck itself can play just as large of a role in your consumption of fuel.
Some of the ways you can make sure your truck is as eco-friendly as possible include:
- Inflating your tires.
- Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage.
- Changing the oil.
- Helps to reduce emissions.
- Using clean air filters.
- Clogged air filters will cause you to burn more fuel.
- Replacing spark plugs.
- If your spark plugs aren't firing as they should, your engine will have to work harder, which increases fuel consumption.
- Removing unnecessary items from your truck.
- Keeping the overall weight of your truck as low as possible will go a long way toward conserving fuel.
- Some items you may want to remove from your truck include:
- Headache racks.
- Extra chains.
- Tools you don't need.
- Unnecessary loading and unloading equipment.
- Using skirts.
- Improves the aerodynamics of your truck, which improves fuel efficiency.
- Keeping your load low.
- Keeping your load as low as possible and toward the front of the bed will reduce air drag on flatbeds.
- Adjusting air deflectors.
- Air deflectors mounted on the roof of tractors can be adjusted to guide airflow, which also improves the aerodynamics and wind drag of the vehicle.
- Minimizing the use of your air conditioner.
- The more your air conditioner is run, the more fuel you'll burn.
- Since open windows can also create air drag, you'll have to find a balance between the two.
- Tip: Shut off the A/C when traveling at slow speeds and use the windows instead.
Minimizing Environmental Impact
As a truck driver, you put a lot of miles on the road each year—and that means a lot of stops to fill your tank up with diesel fuel.
Making efficient decisions with the fuel you burn can result in positive long-term effects for the environment. A few ways saving fuel will help our planet include:
- Improving air quality.
- Burning less fuel means you'll produce less exhaust, which improves the quality of the air we breathe.
- Saving our planet's natural resources.
- Filling up your tank less often means that less oil will need to be extracted from the ground.
- Some of the processes for extraction have a negative impact on the environment.
- Reducing greenhouse gas.
- When oil is burned, carbon mixes with oxygen to create carbon dioxide—which is considered a greenhouse gas.
- Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming by trapping more of the sun's energy on the surface of the Earth.
Many of these tips are simple changes that can go a very long way toward keeping our planet happy and healthy. Do your part where you can, and reap the benefits of a clean, green environment.