Increasing operating costs can be a real challenge. Whether fuel prices are up or down, fuel is one of your largest expenses. As competitive pressure grows, controlling fuel costs becomes even more important to protecting your margins.

The key is to ramp up efficiency across multiple areas of your operations and find new ways to do more work—in less time—with the least amount of fuel. Here’s a list of tips to help you start saving.

MINIMIZE IDLE TIME. Depending on your application, idling can amount to as much as 40% of total operating time.

  • Remind operators to keep idling to a minimum at start-up and shutdown. Morning start-up should run between 3 and 5 minutes. At shutdown, older engines require 2 minutes, newer engines almost none.
  • Turn off trucks that are waiting more than 5 minutes to load and unload. Optimize cycle times so that loading tools aren’t waiting for long periods for trucks.
  • Turn off equipment during breaks and lunch time.

TRAIN YOUR OPERATORS. Operator machine handling plays a big factor in fuel efficiency. Make sure all operators are properly trained on each machine. They should optimize the relationship between ground speed and engine rpm. Studies have shown 5-15% fuel efficiency at 75% power and 15-30% efficiency at 50% power. Watch how one contractor got through to his operators.

SIZE THE MACHINE FOR JOB. Too much or too little horsepower can drastically affect fuel efficiency. If you need help, ask your equipment dealer to match the right machine to the job you’re doing.

SET UP YOUR JOB SITE EFFICIENTLY. Effectively plan your job site travel patterns to reduce idling and minimize turns. Get more job site set up advice in this video.

USE TECHNOLOGY TO TRACK AND MEASURE. Onboard technologies that monitor machine operating parameters such as fuel consumption are highly accurate and will add to your overall efficiency.

KEEP MACHINES IN TOP CONDITION. Diligent maintenance not only saves fuel, but reduces repairs, improves reliability, and minimizes exhaust emissions. Blocked air filters can increase fuel consumption by 20%. One stuck valve lifter can increase fuel usage by 10 -15%. Improperly working thermostats have been noted to increase fuel consumption by 25%.

CHECK FOR FAULTY FUEL CAPS. Damaged or loose fuel caps cause fuel evaporation.

MAINTAIN PROPER TIRE INFLATION. Under-inflation by just 6 psi consumes 3% more fuel.

USE RECOMMENDED FUEL GRADE. Be sure to use the recommended fuel grade depending on ambient temperature and weather conditions.

PROTECT FUEL STORAGE. Minimize evaporation. If possible, keep storage tanks well-shaded. Less evaporation occurs with white or aluminum painted storage tanks versus red.

UPGRADE TO NEWER FUEL-EFFICIENT MODELS. Learn more about the latest features, benefits, and savings new equipment can add to protect your bottom line.

Learn more about fuel efficiency.

Source for additional tips.