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In the driving seat

Increase your fuel efficiency

Increase your fuel efficiency

By Rebecca Kite, Environment Policy Manager, FTA

With operating costs rising and profit margins becoming increasingly tight, it is important for operators to understand how to increase their fuel efficiency, while also reducing carbon emissions. The Logistics Emissions Reduction Scheme (LERS) is a free to join initiative created by FTA, the only business group that represents all of logistics. The scheme helps companies reduce their carbon emissions and in doing so, has also identified some of the most effective ways in which businesses and operators can improve their fuel efficiency. While it details some quick and simple techniques – including reducing the use of functions such as air conditioning – there are some more strategic methods operators can use. In this article Rebecca Kite, Environment Policy Manager at FTA, explains some of the techniques LERS members regularly use; these strategies have led them to become 13% more fuel efficient than non-member operators.

Driver behaviour is key; harsh braking and accelerating substantially increases fuel use so it is important where possible to avoid this by maintaining a constant speed. In addition to improving fuel efficiency, vehicle wear and tear will also be minimised, resulting in lower maintenance costs.

It is also the responsibility of drivers to ensure the tyres on their vehicle are correctly inflated. While this is crucial from a safety and compliance standpoint, properly inflated tyres also minimise rolling resistance. This is the amount of energy a tyre absorbs as it revolves and deflects; operating with low rolling resistance results in less fuel being required to propel the vehicle forward, therefore increasing efficiency. Research shows that a tyre under inflated by 10% can increase fuel consumption by 1.5%.

However, fuel efficiency is not solely the responsibility of the driver; fleet managers and operators also play a vital role in effective fuel management. Pre-planning to avoid empty running and choosing the most efficient route for their drivers is crucial. When choosing the most efficient delivery route, it is not just mileage that needs to be considered; congestion can also heavily impact fuel consumption. Studies show stopping three times per mile – and getting back up to 30pmh each time – triples emissions compared to just cruising at 30mph. As a result, this has a negative impact on both fuel efficiency and carbon emissions and should therefore be avoided where possible.

Driving without cargo, also known as empty running, has negative economic and environmental impacts due to several factors, including the wastage of fuel, driving time and added congestion. Despite requiring a higher level of preparation, utilising spare fleet capacity across multiple sites can produce exceptional results in terms of reducing both emissions and fuel consumption. While this is not always possible within specialised movements – such as fuel deliveries – it is encouraged where possible, particularly amongst vehicles more suited to multi-use or among businesses with multiple sites spread geographically.

And, through technologies such as telematics – in cab systems that monitor a wide range of information on either an individual journey, or an entire fleet – fleet managers can monitor and review individual drivers’ fuel consumption and driving behaviour. Operators can therefore provide additional training to those drivers that are not meeting expected standards, as well as reward drivers that display safe and efficient driving.

Improving fuel consumption within your business is vital to boost efficiency and reduce costs; it also has wider environmental benefits too. For more information, please visit:

Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.

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