Driving Habits Can Affect Fuel Costs

Updated: May 3, 2013
(Photo Source: Truckinginfo)

Just as lifestyle choices can be the difference between good health and a host of health issues, “drive style” choices can have a significant impact on your gas mileage.

With fuel costs a major determiner of profitability, even a small improvement of mileage is important to staying profitable and in business.

Truckinginfo reports that improving gas mileage, say from six to eight miles per gallon, is largely dependent on the driver and good habits can improve mileage as much as 30 percent. According to the publication, “Much of that chasm stems from good or bad pedal and stick management, and the driver’s willingness to use available technology to his best advantage.

The best illustration of this is probably automated transmissions.”

Manufacturers state that automated gearboxes, whether 10, 13, or 18 speed, improve mileage because shifting is automatically controlled by a computer for optimum efficiency.

Itamar Levine, Bison Transport’s director of maintenance told Truckinginfo that automated transmissions act as the great equalizer. They notably improve the mileage of less skilled drivers.

Throttle management is another aspect of fuel efficiency, so truckers tend to use cruise control one they are at the speed limit. Detroit Diesel application engineer Chuck Blake points out, “Full cruise is designed to maintain road speed, and once you lose ground, cruise is going power right up to try to make road speed back. A really good driver can always out-perform cruise control, but it’s tough and it’s tiring because you’re always working.”

Another common bad driving habit is staying too close to the vehicle ahead, say experts, because it causes the driver to ride the throttle as they get close, back up, then get close again, wasting fuel. The better option is to let the vehicle in front go far ahead then set the cruise control for a smoother ride.

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