Along with vehicle repairs and maintenance, the cost of fuel is one of the highest ongoing expenses involved with owning and operating a fleet. Therefore, in order to keep the business running as profitably as possible, it is important for managers to encourage their drivers to utilise efficient driving techniques.
Business fuel cards certainly help reduce the cost of filling up at the pump, but one man has taken the idea of fuel economy to the next level. In fact, in 2004, he even coined a term to describe his various methods of squeezing every last kilometre out of a vehicle's gas tank: hypermiling.
Wayne Gerdes, automotive journalist and creator of cleanmpg.com is the most efficient driver on the planet – and he's got the credentials to prove it.
— Wayne Gerdes (@CleanMPG) June 21, 2015
The king of fuel efficiency does it again
In July 2015 he, along with electronics engineer co-driver Bob Winger, set the Guinness World Record. for fuel economy when they traversed the 48 contiguous states of North America in a 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI Clean Diesel on just 384 litres of fuel. The 13,251 kilometre journey took the pair around 16 days to complete, during which they made use of a number of driving techniques to reduce their fuel consumption to an astonishing 3.5 litres per 100 kilometres – a figure that is sure to make fleet managers green with envy.
What makes the Golf TDI such an economic machine? A combination of its turbocharged, direct-injection Clean Diesel engine, six-speed manual transmission and Shell's ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel enabled Mr. Gerdes to achieve such great results.
"Volkswagen's TDI Clean Diesel engines are just amazing," said Wayne Gerdes. "I don't think people realise the potential mileage you can get from them. In our experience, it is possible to get truly impressive mileage results by using just a few simple fuel-saving techniques," said Mr. Gerdes.
What can fleet managers learn from Mr. Gerdes?
However, it's not the vehicle alone that allowed for this impressive feat of fuel economy. Mr. Gerdes also revealed a few tips and tricks he uses to help him achieve greater efficiency:
- Drive slow: Simply put, speeding destroys fuel economy. Reduce petrol expenses by encouraging your drivers to stick to the speed limit.
- Accelerate evenly: By applying even pressure to the pedals, particularly around urban obstacles such as traffic lights, Mr. Gerdes stated you could improve fuel efficiency by 15 to 20 per cent.
- Move at a steady pace in traffic: Instead of rushing to a red light or stop sign and braking heavily, coast in steadily and avoid making your revs jump or down too quickly.
Mr. Gerdes' tips may not always be applicable in everyday driving situations, but by encouraging your drivers to be more mindful of their fuel economy, you'll ultimately be able to develop a more efficient and profitable fleet.