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How Truck Drivers Can Make a Huge Impact On Fuel Efficiency

Jun 5, 2017

Thanks to advancements in diesel technology, modern diesel engines (MY 2014 and newer) have the potential to provide efficiencies at levels never seen before in diesel trucks. The bad news is that the potential is seldom ever realized by fleets due to factors such as the truck, the driver, and route planning. A non-efficient truck ends up costing companies more money, downtime, and lost efficiency.

One way to maintain an efficient fleet is to optimize it. Proper fleet optimization begins with custom Duty Cycle Programming and Aftertreatment Predictive Maintenance to reduce Aftertreatment related repairs and downtime, but optimization does not stop there. A key component to maintaining an efficient fleet are your driver’s driving habits.

According to Cummins, utilizing the correct driving techniques can result in up to 30% better fuel economy.

Driving for Efficiency

It is important for drivers to leverage the new technology that is built in to new trucks in order to maximize efficiency. “Did you know that poor driving habits can actually hurt efficiency? That’s right. The most efficient engine can be hindered by a driver with bad driving habits. In addition, most drivers do not understand how a truck was designed to operate efficiently. This poses a problem for drivers with decent driving habits because they are unaware of all opportunities available to them to unite good driving technique with design for maximum fuel efficiency. . While many fleets may already track driver specific fuel use and economy, what fleets really need is a blueprint on how to drive efficiently. Driving efficiently today takes more than just a light foot. Things that need to be considered on each truck include:

  • Rear-end/Axle set-up
    • Correct ratio for truck application
  • Transmission
    • Average shift points, time spent in each gear, mileage spent in each gear
  • Horsepower/Torque
    • Average working HP, over/under powered, split torque, fan-on time
  • Route and Schedule
    • Over-the-Road, Vocational, traffic patterns, topography
  • Load
    • Load-in/off time, weight in relation to route
  • Average speed

This information can reveal a lot about driver habits and practices. After reviewing current driver habits, recommendations can be made to improve driver technique to gain greater efficiencies. Recommendations may include things like:

  • Ideal driving RPM range for application
  • How to leverage cruise control and engine braking
  • Ideal shift points
  • Techniques for pulling hills

Companies today own a hybrid of trucks.

Another important consideration is fleet make-up. 20 years ago, bought one type of truck, and only one. Today a company’s fleet can be a hybrid of different engine manufacturers and set-ups. This makes it even more imperative to make sure your drivers are well informed about how the truck they are assigned to, operates. For example, Cummins’ engines should be driven different than Detroit Diesels, even if they are working in identical applications. This is because of their different peak torque ranges.

Proper Driving Technique Can Make a Big Difference on Fuel Savings

According to Cummins, utilizing the correct driving techniques can result in up to 30% better fuel economy. So, along with Diesel I.O., Driving for Efficiency training is one of the best ways to impact fleet efficiency. The more your drivers understand how their driving habits impact the trucks they are driving, the more they can positively impact efficiency. Proper driver training extends beyond improving fuel efficiency. It has an impact on reducing maintenance costs too. Since drivers are the first to receive early warning indicators of imminent Aftertreatment failure, once they know what to look for, they can provide critical feedback to the service department. Early detection can prevent progressive damage and large scale Aftertreatment failure which can eat through maintenance budgets in no time.

Get Your Custom Driving for Efficiency Blueprint

Contact us today to improve your bottom line by preparing your fleet, and drivers to drive their best.

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