Operating costs have always been an important part of managing your business, but with changes in the economy, tighter bid specifications and the need to maintain competitive advantage, cost reduction has become a critical focus. Fuel costs are a significant percentage of the cost of running a machine, so it just makes sense to know as much as you can about fuel consumption and efficiency. Get started with our fuel quiz.
T or F: Most machines don’t have a work mode designed for fuel economy.
False. Many manufacturers of wheel loaders, excavators, rigid-frame trucks and dozers all have economy modes, which when engaged save in fuel consumption over high production modes. Reduced fuel consumption is usually achieved by reducing RPM and/or hydraulic power. However, economy modes can be very effective for lighter-duty applications such as fine grading or finish work and save fuel at the same time. The best strategy is to select the working mode that best matches the application.
T or F: Fuel economy and fuel efficiency are really the same thing.
False. Fuel consumption is a measurement of the amount of fuel burned. Fuel efficiency is the amount of work done for every unit of fuel burned. If you’re looking at protecting your bottom line, you want to look at fuel efficiency because it considers both the fuel consumed (cost) as well as the work generated (revenue)—this gives you a clearer picture of how fuel is impacting your margin.
T or F: Reducing idle time can save you up to 30% on fuel costs.
True. Some industry experts say it’s not unusual for idle time to represent as much as 40% of total running time. All those non-productive hours translate into a lot of wasted fuel—one gallon or more every hour. And idle time can rob your bottom line in other ways. When you rack up a lot of nonproductive hours, you:
- Jeopardize component life
- Accelerate wear of Tier 4 technologies
- Burn warranty hours
- Sacrifice resale value
- Complete unnecessary maintenance