How To Improve Fuel Efficiency In Your Heavy Equipment

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Iron Buffalo Truck & Trailer
September 15, 2023
How To Improve Fuel Efficiency In Your Heavy Equipment

If your business relies on heavy equipment for its daily activities, fuel is such a significant cost.

With the skyrocketing fuel costs globally, it pays to improve fuel efficiency in your heavy equipment. Even when prices are relatively low, it's a good practice to ensure you keep fuel consumption at the lowest end.

In a company that operates a fleet of heavy equipment, fuel tends to be the top expense monthly. Given that you can't control fuel prices, you can manage the amount of fuel your equipment consumes while in operation.

Below are some of the tips that can help you to improve fuel efficiency in your heavy equipment;

1. Take Charge of Acceleration and Shifting.

One of the ways that lead to overconsumption of fuel is speed. Some of the machine operators drive at high speeds that take a toll on fuel efficiency. You can save a lot of fuel by pumping the brakes and taking longer from one point to the other unless you have no option other than speeding.

Vehicle and engine makers recommend that the optimum speed helps in achieving maximum fuel efficiency. Given many machine operators, companies should install speed governors on their fleet to ensure drivers drive at recommended speed limits.

They can also use fleet management software that reminds the drivers of the maximum speed they need to operate at and also reminds them when to reduce their speed.

2. Avoid Leaving Your Equipment Idle for Too Long

Most equipment operators are responsible for fuel waste since they leave their machines idle for unnecessarily too long. They start the engines and leave them idle for a long and the same case when shutting them down at the end of the day.

Leaving equipment idle when their engines are running is one of the most common ways of fuel waste. As much as this is a significant way through which fuel efficiency is affected, it's also so unnecessary since modern equipment’s engines warm up and cool down faster compared to those in earlier days.

If you're managing a fleet, you need to train your machine operators to try as much to avoid idle time as a way of preserving fuel. Besides, this is an environmentally friendly decision.

Nonetheless, idle time is unavoidable in some industries such as the trucking industry. But if you can access truckstop electricity you'll be able to save a lot of fuel.

3. Choose the Right Machine for Your Job

Many people go overboard in finding ways to minimize fuel consumption in heavy equipment while they overlook the most critical factor to consider when setting off on the journey.

A great way to minimize fuel consumption in heavy equipment is by choosing the smallest possible machine. 

Before shopping for your machinery, conduct a thorough assessment of the needs to understand the type of machine that works best. The smaller the machine the better fuel efficiency. Ensure you get the machine with the operating capacity and the horsepower that you’re sure will perform the intended duty.

Also, it would help if you train your machine operators on the available modes on the machine to ensure they can use them efficiently for reasonable fuel consumption.

4. Practice Regular Engine Tune-Ups

Frequent engine tune-ups not only improve the life of your machine but also saves on fuel consumption. Ensure to check on items such as changing the oil, checking on the air filter, inspecting the breaks, etc.

Regularly checking the functionalities of your machinery parts, especially the engine helps to improve fuel consumption as well as increase its lifespan.

You can always refer to the machinery’s handbook to see the right intervals for doing tune-ups and this will significantly increase its fuel efficiency.

5. Train Machine Operators

Sometimes, fuel inefficiency happens due to operators' lack of knowledge. These machines are in the hands of the operators all the time and they play a major role in the behavior of fuel consumption.

Train your operators on the proper ways to handle the machine and improve its fuel efficiency. Let them be aware of the practices that are not fuel friendly such as overspeeding, breaking sharply, quick acceleration, carrying unnecessary heavyweight, and much more.

Generally, all the tips on minimizing fuel consumption narrow down to one thing; machine operators and drivers. If you successfully train these people, your fuel efficiency mission can be easily achieved. Besides the training, communicate your expectation on the fuel costs to them and put down a plan that ensures they adhere to the requirements.

6. Plan the Work Days With Fuel Efficiency in Mind

Having a poorly planned workday can result in fuel waste. If you can plan the days properly, such as strategizing a route plan and getting the drivers to cooperate and ensure they respect the route, you can avoid cases where drivers move from one point to another aimlessly.

Planning can help in minimizing fuel consumption. Ensure your drivers are taking the shortest routes possible. For any machinery ensure you examine them properly and get to know the easiest ways that can preserve fuel but achieve the day’s workload.

Ensure the route taken by the operators has minimal obstacles when possible. This way you will save on fuel by reducing idle time.

8. Keep the Tyres Well Inflated

For those heavy locomotives, keeping tires well-inflated all the time can cut fuel consumption. Under-inflated tires make it drag thus consuming more fuel.

Research that was done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that each 1% drop in tire pressure leads to a 0.3% fuel economy reduction. Although this may seem like so small waste, it becomes significant over time and can influence the cost of fuel over the year.

An underinflated tire increases rolling resistance causing the engine to work extra hard to move your machine forward. Therefore you need to keep your tired machines in check to ensure they are always well-inflated and close this small loophole for fuel waste.

9. Keep Your Equipment Cutting Edge Sharp

For those heavy machines used for cutting such as bulldozers, pile hole machines, feller bunchers, and many more, it would be good if you ensured their cutting edge and teeth are as sharp as possible.

A dull blade edge takes more time to get the work done and this means more fuel too. Ensure your bladed machines are well sharpened to reduce resistance and cutting edges to ensure they are more efficient. This means you’ll reduce the fuel used to get any work done.

Final Thoughts

Fuel consumption is one of the significant costs for many companies. With skyrocketing prices, you ought to minimize this expense in all ways possible. The above points are some of the ways you can improve fuel efficiency regardless of the industry. We hope it will help you save some dollars.