What is eco driving (and why should you follow it?)

 

What is eco driving (and why should you follow it?)

Source: FleetAnswers Today's fleet management professionals have to handle that difficult balance between meeting and exceeding customer expectations and doing so within the constraints of a tight budget. Because of this, fuel costs remain at the forefront of most fleet managers' concerns. Eco-driving, or driving with fuel-efficiency in mind, is one way to help mitigate that cost. Eco-driving requires the support and education of drivers to ensure all are using fuel efficient driving habits on the road.

What Are Eco-Driving Habits?

Eco-driving refers to those techniques that drivers use to drive as efficiently as possible. Eco-driving starts the moment the truck leaves the facility. Accelerating gently is the first step towards driving with fuel efficiency in mind. Taking about 5 seconds to accelerate to full speed when at a stop will lower fuel costs slightly, so teach drivers to ease into their acceleration.

Once at the right rate of speed, drivers should try to maintain a steady speed. Sudden acceleration or slowing can impact fuel efficiency. Sometimes the use of cruise control can help maintain this consistent speed and lower fuel consumption.

Eco-friendly drivers will avoid unnecessary idling. While some idling, such as when stopped at a traffic light, is unavoidable, many instances, such as when parked waiting for a delivery, can be avoided. Excessive idling drives up fuel costs quickly, so drivers need to be taught to avoid this behavior.

Active driving, which watches traffic patterns and plans early for changes, is an excellent way to keep the vehicle at a constant speed, which reduces fuel consumption. Changing lanes early when approaching a slow vehicle, for example, reduces the need to stop or slow down, which increases fuel consumption. When braking is unavoidable, drivers can conserve fuel by taking their foot off of the accelerator early to avoid the need to use the brakes until absolutely necessary.

Finally, driving at or below the speed limit can maximize fuel efficiency. Excessive speeds eat up fuel, and also increase other risks for the fleet in terms of traffic tickets and increased accident risk.

None of these tactics are difficult, but all require a little bit of thought on the driver's part. With some training, your drivers can begin embracing these strategies.

Why Eco-Driving Is Important

Eco-driving is important for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is the budgetary constraints of the modern fleet. When a fleet invests time and education into training drivers on how to drive in a more eco-friendly way, that fleet will see lower fuel expenses and, in turn, have money in their budgets to use towards other needs.

Eco-driving is also a great way to improve the overall image of your company's brand. Modern consumers want to work with eco-conscious companies, and if a company can showcase its efforts at driving in an environmentally-friendly way, that company will be more popular with their potential customers.

So how can a fleet implement these behaviors? It starts with proper driver education, followed by driver behavior monitoring using telematics programs. With these two keys to the puzzle in place, today's fleets can maximize their use of their vehicles while minimizing fuel consumption at the same time.

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