Courier tips for cutting fuel costs

Plan your route. Don’t just rely on your Satnav; sometimes there’s a much more direct, shorter and quicker route if you just glance at your map.

Avoid buying fuel (or anything) at motorway services. If you’re caught short for fuel (or anything else) try Cheap Fuel Near Motorway Junctions for conveniently positioned fuel and supermarket sites.

Check your tyre pressures regularly. You’re meant to do this every day for the sake of safety of course. You’re normally meant to increase your tyre pressures slightly when carrying heavy loads and when driving at motorway speeds for long periods. Check your van’s handbook for the manufacturer’s recommendations. Think how much harder it is to pedal a bike with flat tyres than with well inflated tyres.

Close your windows on the motorway. Apparently an open window at 70mph can increase your fuel consumption by nearly 10%.

Drive smoothly. Change up early, don’t race away from the lights in low gears, read the road ahead of you and try to avoid coming to a stop. Keeping the van moving slowly is far more economical than stop-start driving.

Lose weight. Every bit of extra weight you carry around with you is costing you money. Even carrying a 25 litre jerry can of fuel with you can increase your fuel consumption by 1%. How much of the rubbish you carry around in your van do you really need?

Slow down. Cruising at 80mph rather than 70mph will gain you less than 11 minutes on a 100 mile journey but can increase your fuel consumption by up to 25%. Sometimes every second counts but often arriving 10 minutes later is no great problem. If you have to stop to fuel up because of your excessive fuel consumption then you’ll lose all the time you gained by speeding anyway.

Switch off unnecessary electrical equipment. The electricity in your battery isn’t just a free by-product of your engine turning. The more electricity used by headlights, heated windows, TVs etc, the more fuel you’ll use. Charging your mobile and laptop at home costs you less than charging them in your van (unplug the adapters when you’ve finished though).

Maintain your vehicle properly. This is part of the job anyway but it can make a big difference to fuel consumption. In particular make sure that your air filter is changed at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer. Ensure that the correct grade of oil is used in the engine, maybe consider using a synthetic oil even if it’s not specified by the manufacturer. 10,000 miles at 41mpg costs around £20 less than at 40mpg so even a slight improvement would make the extra cost of the oil worthwhile.

Don’t overfill your tank. This causes frothing, spillages and leaks through the vent pipe, costing you money and leaving dangerous diesel spills on the road. Forcing that extra 5 litres into the tank may lose you 10p worth into thin air and will certainly add almost 5kg onto the weight of your van. I also my suspicions about the accuracy of the fuel pump when ‘trickle filling’ or ‘brimming’ your tank.

Choose where and when you fuel up. Try to plan your route home so that you can fuel up at a reasonably priced filling station of your choice, without adding extra miles onto your journey. Every extra mile you add to your journey could add between 12p and 23p to your costs, depending on your fuel consumption. A 3 mile each way (6 miles) detour off the motorway to save 2p/litre could cost you up to £1.38 in fuel alone in a large van. Fuelling up on your way home, or on your slack journeys, helps prevent you from having to stop for fuel at expensive motorway services while you’re on a rush job.

Posted under Courier Basics, Vans

Posted by Alec at 10:01 pm, July 10, 2008

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