11 Ways to be a 'Green' HGV Driver
How's your driving? As a professional truck driver it's important in today's climate to drive as efficiently and economically as possible. Be a 'Green' driver. Here are eleven ways to ensure you get the most from your truck and that tank of fuel.
1. Warm Up Your Vehicle
If the temperature outside is below zero degrees Celsius, turn on the engine and let your truck warm up for around 3 to 5 minutes. Try not to rev the engine until it reaches operating temperature. It’s less strenuous for the engine if you let it warm up gradually.
2. Accelerate Smoothly
If you accelerate too quickly you’ll place excess strain on the engine. Accelerate too slowly and you’ll use more fuel. Combine a smooth low gear start with faster gear shifts to higher gears when you start to move faster. Maintain a constant pace to ensure optimum fuel efficiency.
3. Minimise Idling Time
The average 420hp truck will consume around two litres of fuel per hour when the engine is idling. This is unavoidable if there is congestion on the roads with lots of crawling and stopping, but when you’re parked for short periods of time or are generally not moving, turn off your engine.
4. Keep An Eye On Your Speed
Fuel consumption is proportional to speed. Driving too fast and you will increase aerodynamic drag making your vehicle consume more fuel. It can also add extra strain to your gearbox and engine. By keeping a close eye on your speed you can save greatly on your running costs. For example, reducing your speed from 56mph to 50mph can decrease fuel consumption by 22%.
5. Avoid Excessive Braking
Less is defintely more. Anticipating what is happening in the road ahead is the best way to prevent stop/start, jerky driving. Slow down gradually to the point where you are going to stop rather than slamming on your brakes suddenly at the last minute. It is not only safer and more efficient, but will allow you to maintain momentum and reduce the need for lots of gear changes.
6. Improve Your Clutch Control
The quicker and smoother you move up a gear the more fuel you will save. Fuel consumption can be reduced by 10 to 30 percent by simply moving up a gear rather than accelerating up to the red line on the rev counter.
7. Turn Off Your Air Conditioning
Air conditioning systems are powered by the engine therefore when you’re driving at slow continuous speeds the engine will need to work harder. Unless it's absolutely roasting, it’s better to keep the windows open instead. At higher speeds however, open windows can increase drag. Use the air con at high speeds and open the windows at low speeds. This could reduce your fuel consumption by around 10%.
8. Adjust Load Position In Your Trailer
The position of your load on your trailer will affect how aerodynamic your truck is, especially if you’re driving with an open flatbed trailer. Position the load as close to the cab as possible and try to keep it low to aid air flow.
9. Check Your Tyre Pressure
Low tyre pressure will cause more drag, which increases fuel consumption. Check your tyre pressure at least once per week if the vehicle is in frequent use.
10. Replace Old Air Filters
Whenever you change the oil, be sure to check the air filter as well. Over time, air filters can get clogged with dust and debris. If your truck appears to have reduced power or isn't accelerating smoothly, get it inspected immediately. Changing your air filters for new ones could reduce your fuel costs by up to 10%.
11. Reduce Gear Changes
Dropping into lower gears and driving at higher revs will increase your fuel consumption. Adjusting your seat to a higher position could help you be more aware of what’s going on ahead. Even if you’re vehicle is only moving slowly it’s using less fuel than if it weren't moving at all.
Overall, 'safe and relaxed' driving is the easiest way to improve your fuel efficiency. Be a 'Green' HGV driver.