Tips for maximizing fuel efficiency and reducing fuel spend
Fuel prices are spiking once again. As of August 2, the average price per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline was over $3.53 across the U.S., representing an increase of nearly 20 cents from a month ago. In Canada, the current national average was nearly C$1.25 per liter, with some regions seeing fuel prices approaching C$1.40.
Fuel remains a significant operating expense for all fleets, and in light of escalating concerns about the environmental impact of automobile emissions, it has become more critical than ever for drivers to maximize their fuel efficiency and vehicle performance.
Below are a few simple tips you may want to pass along to drivers to help improve your fleet's performance through the efficient use of fuel:
General Driving and Fueling Habits
- Plan an optimal travel route to conserve fuel. Cutting 20 miles out of your weekly travel can save about $120 a year in gas expenses.
- Use the right kind of fuel. When you fill up, make sure that you only use the type of fuel prescribed by your fleet policy, and only use higher-octane fuels if your policy explicitly calls for them. It is also extremely important that you only use the fuel that matches your engine type (i.e. only use diesel fuel in diesel engines; only use unleaded gasoline in gasoline engines). Filling a diesel engine with gasoline (or vice-versa) even one time could damage all fuel-related components of the vehicle’s engine, void the warranty, and result in repairs costing more than $10,000.
- Avoid idling when possible. Idling is perhaps the biggest detriment to a vehicle's fuel efficiency, because it causes a vehicle to consume gas without gaining any distance (i.e. zero miles-per-gallon). The larger the vehicle, the more gas is wasted while idling. For certain trucks, for example, one hour of idling can use as much fuel as 30 miles of driving.
- Observe the speed limit. For most vehicles, fuel efficiency begins to decrease significantly at speeds above 60 miles-per-hour, and continues to dip as speed increases further. Also, "flooring" the gas pedal wastes fuel and leads to drastically higher pollution rates. One second of high-powered driving can produce nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as 30 minutes of normal driving. Driving sensibly not only improves gas mileage, it also reduces the risk of moving violations, accidents and injuries.
- Avoid start-and-stop driving. Try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle ease into a full stop as much as possible. Start-and-stop driving increases pollution, reduces fuel economy and wears on your brakes.
- Reduce vehicle weight when possible. For every extra 100 pounds of weight your vehicle is carrying, its fuel economy is reduced by up to 2%.
- Use the air conditioning as sparingly as possible. Air conditioning reduces fuel efficiency, wears on the engine and acts as a pollutant. And while it may be difficult to avoid using the air conditioner altogether in hot weather, there are plenty of ways you can ensure that you can minimize its usage. For example, if you have a garage, use it as much as possible to naturally keep your car cool during warmer months. If you park outdoors, windshield shades can cut down on summer heat.
- Use cruise control and overdrive gears when possible. Using cruise control and overdrive gears while driving on highways helps you maintain a constant speed while reducing engine wear, and it may also help you conserve fuel.
- Keep your vehicle in shape. Adhere closely to your vehicle's maintenance schedule, and make sure any issues with performance and/or failed emissions tests are quickly resolved. Keeping your vehicle properly maintained not only improves fuel efficiency, it also reduces the risk of incurring accidents and more costly repairs down the road.
- Pay attention to your fuel economy. If you notice it consistently regressing without a change in driving habits, it could indicate a problem with your vehicle's engine or brakes. Using this advance warning, you can fix problems before they become more severe or cause a vehicle breakdown.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Vehicles operated on properly inflated tires are not only much safer, they can also have nearly 6% better fuel efficiency than those operated on under-inflated tires. Tires should be inflated to the pressure recommended for your vehicle; this information is often printed inside the door frame or in your owner's manual. Tires can lose about one pound of pressure in a month, so check the air pressure regularly and always before going on a long trip or carrying heavy loads.
Please keep in mind that there are a number of alerts and reports available via FleetView that can provide clients with a detailed view into your vehicles’ fuel performance. We also offer the EcoWheels program, which combines emerging solutions and technologies with proven best practices to help you reach your reduced emissions goals and understand the relationship between transportation and the environment. Please contact a member of your account team for more details.Back to top
Toyota announces recall for RAV4, Lexus HS 250h models in North America
Toyota has announced that it is recalling about 850,000 2006-2011 RAV4 SUVs and about 19,000 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles in North America due to concerns that the rear suspension may fail on affected models.
Toyota said that the suspected defect is not the result of a manufacturing error, but rather the result of an improper technique used by service technicians.
“If the nuts on the rear suspension arm are not tightened following the proper procedure and torque specification during a rear wheel alignment service, excessive play may occur at the threaded portion of the arm, followed by rust formation," Toyota said. According to reports, significant rusting could cause the suspension to fail, possibly resulting in a loss of vehicle control.
Each driver affected by the recall will receive an official recall notice, and can have his or her vehicle inspected and/or repaired at a certified dealership free of charge.
Please note that this communication is intended for informational purposes and should not be interpreted as an official notice from the manufacturer. Additional information on recalls is available at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/. Please keep in mind that NHTSA now offers an e-mail notification service through which users can receive automatic recall updates for their vehicles. Those who wish to register for the notification service can do so here. Back to top
Michelin announces recall for certain BF Goodrich and Uniroyal tires
Michelin is recalling more than 800,000 BF Goodrich and Uniroyal tires due to concerns over tread and air loss problems.
The company said that affected tires, which are typically mounted on commercial light-duty trucks and heavy-duty vans, “may develop a separation at the tread/belt edge,” possibly resulting in a rapid loss of air and reduction in vehicle control.
The tires were reportedly produced between April 2010 and the end of July 2012.
At this time, Wheels clients with light-duty trucks and service vans in their fleets are advised to instruct their drivers to check their vehicles to see if their tires match any of the brands that are included in the recall. Affected brands are as follows:
- BF GOODRICH / COMMERCIAL T/A A/S / LT 235/85R16 120 Q LRE
- BF GOODRICH / COMMERCIAL T/A A/S / LT 245/75R16 120 Q LRE
- UNIROYAL / LAREDO HD/H / LT 235/85R16 120 Q LRE
- UNIROYAL / LAREDO HD/H / LT 245/75R16 120 Q LRE
Drivers whose vehicles are fitted with any of these tires are advised to contact Michelin Consumer Care at 1-800-637-5527. Michelin will replace affected tires free of charge.Back to top
Order cutoff next week for Traverse, Enclave and Acadia
GM has announced that the final order cutoff date for the 2012 Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia will be next Thursday, August 9, 2012. Order banks for 2013 versions of these models will open on September 6.
A complete list of announced order startup/cutoff dates is available here. It is important to note that all cutoff dates are tentative and subject to change, sometimes with very little notice from the manufacturers. In addition, some manufacturers do not allow will-try opportunities for orders they receive after the cutoff date. Therefore, it is extremely important that clients looking to acquire any models approaching cutoff submit orders as soon as possible. We recommend you submit orders to Wheels at least two days prior to the cutoff date if possible, to account for processing time.
Please contact a member of your account team if you have any questions about order cutoffs, production startup dates or your vehicle selector.Back to top