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5 Ways to Improve your business’ fuel efficiency

9 December 2021 • 3 min read

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What if we told you, there was a way you could lower your fuel bill AND help the planet?

We know that for businesses on the move, fuel can be a major expense and when you think that 21% of NZ’s carbon emissions in FY21 came from transport, it’s easy to see how improving your fuel efficiency is a win-win.

The good news is, you can improve your fuel economy without upgrading to a new vehicle. Vehicles can burn over 30% more fuel thanks to improper maintenance, overloading, and aggressive driving styles, so here are a few simple steps you can take to maximise your business’ fuel economy.

1. Inflate your tyres

If the air pressure in your tyres is low, then you are probably using more fuel than you need to. Research out of the States correlated a 1% decrease in tyre pressure to a 0.3% reduction in fuel efficiency. This is because low tyre pressure causes more rolling resistance, meaning your car needs to work harder to get going.

Tyres naturally lose 1-2 PSI (3-6%) per month, plus an extra 2% for every 5 °C drop in temperature going into winter, so there is a good chance your vehicle's tyres are currently under-inflated. Make a habit of regularly checking the tyre pressure on your company vehicles. In addition to improving your fuel efficiency, you'll also be reducing unnecessary wear and tear and improving your braking performance.

Check out the Z Energy Tyre Pressure Tool to work out the optimum PSI for your situation.

2. Check your alignment

Misaligned wheels could be costing you up to 10% of your fuel efficiency. Instead of rolling freely, a poorly aligned tyre drags and requires your engine to work harder. Not only does this hurt your fuel economy, it also increases the wear and tear on your tyres and causes steering wheel vibrations that impact on your driver's ergonomics.

The solution? Build regular wheel alignments into your annual vehicle maintenance schedule and budget.

3. Lighten the load

Extra weight equals extra work for your engine, which means extra fuel. Re-evaluating what's in and on your company vehicles is a step you can take right now to improve your fuel economy. Clear out the materials from last month's job, stop driving around with that box of merch you’ve been meaning to deal with, and if you use the vehicle personally make sure the kids book bags aren't left in the backseat. Every 50kg you can clear out of your company vehicles will improve their fuel economy by 1-2%.

4. Keep up with engine maintenance

Budgeting for regular engine maintenance will save you money in the long run, not only by preventing costly repairs, but by reducing the amount of fuel that you use between services. Anything that causes your engine to work harder is going to cause it to use more fuel. Keep your engine in good shape so it can run smoothly and efficiently.

Some common issues that are linked to higher fuel consumption include corroded battery cables, dirty air and fuel filters, and bad spark plugs. These alone can decrease your fuel efficiency by as much as 30%!

5. Use the right stuff

When your vehicle was designed, the manufacturer had certain products in mind. Using the recommended fuel grade, engine oil, diesel exhaust fluid, etc. can help boost your fuel economy and keep your engine running smoothly.

Check your vehicle’s manual for the grade of oil required and don’t be tempted to “upgrade” - The thicker the oil is, the harder it is to pump which will lead to a loss in horsepower. Similarly, don’t fill up with 95 octane fuel unless your engine's manual requires it to avoid needlessly paying a premium.

Bonus: Look at how your team drives

As a business owner with employees hitting the road, driving styles can be one of the most difficult factors to influence, but it is one of the factors that has the greatest impact when it comes to fuel efficiency. Studies have found that optimizing your drive profile can reduce an aggressive driver's fuel consumption by up to 20%. Even moderate drivers can expect to see a 5-10% improvement in their fuel efficiency. Encourage your staff to drive smoothly, avoiding over-acceleration, over-breaking, and idling as much as possible.

Tags Sustainability Business Finance

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