Fuel-Saving Tips to Stretch Your Fleet's Gas Dollar

With gas prices always on the rise, companies need to watch their gas dollars carefully. Over the life of your fleet's vehicles, poor fuel efficiency can lead to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in added expense. Properly maintaining your fleet and educating your drivers on the most efficient way to drive, are two of the best ways to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce long term expenses.

Here are six tips to maximize your vehicle and fleet’s fuel performance:


1. Check your tire pressure

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average driver could boost their fuel efficiency by 3% just by keeping their tires properly inflated. If your tires are under inflated by just 1 psi, your fuel costs increase per mile. Uneven wear can decrease fuel economy as well. Make sure tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. The correct tire pressure can also provide a safer ride and help reduce tire wear. An easy-to-use tire gauge can help keep your tire pressure accurate.

2. Change your air filter

A clogged air filter can damage internal engine parts and rob up to 10% of your engine’s efficiency. According to the federal government, a vehicle’s gas mileage could improve by as much as 10% with a clean air filter. In addition to the fuel and monetary savings, replacing your air filter every 12,000 miles will help protect the engine.

3. Clean your fuel system

Even the smallest deposits, such as carbon and resin, can lead to poor engine performance and excessive fuel consumption. You can flush out the fuel system, including the fuel injector, intake valve, and combustion chamber by using a cleaner such as 3M™ Intake System Cleaner Kit . Easily perform this cleaning in your own facility using the 3M™ Aerosol Adapter Kit (For quick clean-up and maintenance of the injectors, use 3M™ Injector Cleaner Tank Additive I at every 3000 mile oil change).

4. Relax and slow down

Reduce your stress while driving, and you can use less gas. Driving relaxed, with smooth acceleration and deceleration can improve fuel economy as does driving while your vehicle is warm. The EPA estimates that accelerating rapidly and braking hard can reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by as much as 5%.

5. Take off the weight

Believe it or not, an extra 100 pounds in or on your vehicle, can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 2%. The smaller the vehicle, the more extra weight makes the engine work harder. Empty your trunk, and remove any unnecessary tools and equipment. In the winter, don’t just clean your windshield, scrape the entire vehicle—snow and ice add weight. Finally, lose the roof rack that creates wind resistance, the enemy of fuel efficiency.

6. Plan your routes

Consolidate trips to destinations so that you don’t have to retrace your route. This will reduce miles driven, but also save you wear-and-tear on your vehicle.

Finally, there is conflicting data regarding the use of your air conditioner and fuel efficiency. While some say it can rob an engine of up to 5% of its fuel economy, many newer vehicles are able to compensate for the energy used by an air conditioner.

In addition, opening windows at highway speeds can increase drag on your vehicle, decreasing your fuel efficiency. However, if using your air conditioner will keep you cool, thus reducing your stress while driving, it’s better to use the air conditioner that will cost you only half a mile a gallon, as opposed to driving like a maniac which will get you closer to the next fill-up.

Fact or Fiction? Gas Myths Debunked, ABC News
10 Easy Ways to Save Over a Grand on Gas by Sean Tucker, U.S. News