April 21, 2017

Tips For Greener Driving

6 Top Fleet Management Tips for Earth Day

Be kind to the planet by conserving fuel and cutting emissions

Nations around the world are celebrating World Earth Day this Saturday with a variety of events to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

Every year, more than one billion people across the world mark the event by holding festivals, rallies and outdoor events in nearly 200 countries – often with the support of A-list celebrities and political leaders.

Here at CLM Fleet Management we thought we’d share some tips on how fleet owners and drivers can take proactive steps to reduce the environmental impact of their vehicles by reducing fuel consumption and thus cut planet-harming emissions of CO2.

1. Cut Fuel Consumption

Fuel consumption has a lot to do with the car you drive, but whatever model you choose there are a considerable number of things you can do to save money and reduce fuel use, CO2 emissions and pollution.

Regular maintenance and vehicle condition checks should be carried out to ensure your vehicle is kept in the best condition, because only then will you achieve its maximum performance and fuel consumption.

  • Servicing: make sure your car is serviced regularly to comply with the manufacturer’s warranty and maintain engine efficiency
  • Engine oil: check the level regularly and make sure you use the right specification for your particular model.
  • Tyres: check tyre pressures regularly and always before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance, use more fuel and are probably one of the largest contributors to unnecessary CO2-production.

Download our PDF guide: Vehicle Maintenance Checks

Vehicle Maintenance Checks Infographic

2. Stick to speed limits

Although it might be an obvious thing to say from a legal point of view, keeping to speed limits has other environmental benefits rather than just avoiding a speeding ticket and hefty fine.

The faster you go, the greater the fuel consumption and pollution.

Driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.

So, if in any doubt, ease off on the right foot – it makes sense from a whole number of perspectives.

3. Try and travel light

Before setting off on journeys of any distance there are a number of things to take into consideration to make your vehicle as light and streamlined as possible.

  • Lose the weight: extra weight means extra fuel so if there’s anything heavy you don’t need on the journey, leave it behind
  • Streamline: roof-racks and boxes add wind resistance and increase fuel consumption. If you don’t need them, take them off
  • Leave promptly: don’t start the engine until you’re ready to go. Idling wastes fuel and the engine warms up more quickly when you’re moving. In the winter, scrape ice clear rather than leave the car to warm up

green fleet management

4. Change your driving style

There are also some simple eco-driving tips to follow that will make your driving style relaxed and more environment and cost friendly.

  • Easy does it: drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking. Anticipate as far ahead as possible
  • Decelerate smoothly: when you have to slow down or to stop, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the car in gear
  • Keep rolling: if you can keep the vehicle moving all the time, so much the better. Stopping then starting again uses more fuel
  • Change up earlier: don’t over-rev the engine but try changing up at an engine speed of around 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or around 2,500 rpm in a petrol car.
  • Cut the air-con: air-conditioning increases fuel consumption so if you can bear it, turn it off.
  • Switch it off: electrical loads increase fuel consumption, so turn off your heated rear windscreen, de-mister blowers and headlights when you don’t need them.

5. Take advantage of advanced routing systems

Advanced routing systems such as satellite navigation are becoming increasingly commonplace on most modern cars and are the ideal way to help minimise the total number of miles travelled and reduce the amount of fuel used.

Although it might just seem like a mile here or a mile there – those saved miles can certainly add up.

If you’re car isn’t equipped with sat-nav , most smart phones these days have Google maps with route-finding services that take the strain out of finding your destination, and cut down on unnecessary mileage.

For service-orientated and delivery fleets, research shows that if a fleet has 100 jobs a day and can reduce two miles off each route every day – it will result in 200 delivery miles saved daily or 30 gallons of fuel every day. When added up annually, those saved miles could result in the elimination of an extra 219,000 lbs of CO2.

6. What to do in traffic jams

Many of us are regularly caught up in traffic jams on our increasingly congested roads network which presents many drivers with a dilemma – to idle or switch off?

You might be tempted to switch off the engine every time you stop – after all many cars now have automatic stop-start systems that do just that. But switching off may not always the best thing to do from the point of view cost or the environment.

As a general guide, for a warm car in daylight conditions in mild weather, turning the engine off for a wait of around a minute or more will probably save fuel and cut carbon emissions.

A cold engine, cold weather, or additional electrical loads will all extend the period you’d have to be stationary to get a benefit from switching off.

Diesel vehicles should never be turned off during diesel particulate filter PF regeneration as a failed regeneration causes oil dilution and a blocked DPF.

You might also be interested in these blog posts:

Green fleet management can lower costs, motivate employees and cut the carbon footprint

How To Implement a Green Fleet Management Strategy

Interested in Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs)?

If you are considering how alternative fuel vehicles could work for your business, check out our series of guides that will give you a great starting point in understanding what the pros and cons could be. We’ve also been researching the attitudes of drivers towards these vehicles and the new technology over a 12 month period – discover the findings in our report.

Click here to view our Alternative Fuel Vehicle guides