Key areas to reduce van running costs
- Route planning
- Driving style
- Speed control
- Road conditions
TIMES are tough for the business van owner. Although a key tool for any job, there are more and more additional costs that can make running your own small commercial tough balancing the books and you need to be alert to reduce van running costs.
Don’t fret – just looking at how you and your staff drive your vans could equal some significant savings.
How? Well, by adopting a more efficient driving style and taking more time to observe the road conditions and driving style of other drivers – thus avoiding preventable accidents.
Keywords to this more efficient driving style are concentration, observation and anticipation.
Constant concentration is what you need, so you can react and make instant changes to your driving behaviour. This is particularly important when taking account of changing road conditions, speed limits and being mindful of other driver’s behaviour and illegal manoeuvres. Remember you have a legal duty of care.
Key to concentration is using your eyes. That might sound silly, but how often do you take the time to look at the road conditions or traffic around you? Or, even ahead of your van? Even doing the correct eye work will give you more time to assess forthcoming hazards and take the correct course of action.
Let’s be honest most accidents are caused by excessive speed and by being too close to the vehicle in front. So, by just watching your speed and keeping your distance you can alleviate this problem.
Breaking speed limits will add to costs
But what about those other annoying accidents where you just didn’t see another vehicle – what about those? We’d just advise extreme caution – don’t assume that the other driver won’t make mistakes, try to take control of the situation – in effect using your ‘sixth sense’ as this can help to stop an accident!
At this point, it’s probably a good time to talk about driving skills; you should always be ready to change your driving skills according to the weather conditions, visibility, traffic conditions, road surface and the mechanical state of your vehicle.
Taking account of your condition is important too. What’s your physical fitness like?
How do you feel – what’s your state of mind? Are you tired or anxious – if you are, these will also have an effect on how you drive.
Remember, if a driving situation develops it will be down to your to driving skills to save the situation.
Here are our ten top tips reducing your van running costs
Before setting out, plan your journey
Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but not planning your journey could lead to you getting lost, which equals more stop/start driving, which in turn uses more fuel.
Ask advice about driving your van most efficiently
Bought a new van? Well, to get the best efficiency out of it – why not have a chat with the supplying dealer? They can then advise you on the best driving techniques.
Keep to a regular service schedule
Again a simple case of common sense, but missed maintenance could lead to blocked filters – which could result in your van using five per cent more fuel!
Only have your roof rack fitted when you need it
We appreciate a roof rack is a necessary bit of kit for some trades. However, if you don’t need yours on all the time, take it off – as it will improve airflow, making the van more efficient and thus equal better fuel consumption.
Switch on the air-conditioning – but only if you need it
Common sense again here, but air-conditioning is an added fuel drain. Using it more sparingly would certainly see consumption gains.
Consider fitting a speed limiter
Go 10mph over the national speed limit and you’ll be using 20% more fuel than if you obey the speed limit. That soon adds up if your van does up to 1,000 miles in a week! Then there are the higher maintenance costs from parts wearing out quicker!
Remove any excess weight
Any extra unnecessary weight will affect the fuel consumption – don’t carry any more than you have to.
Check your tyre pressures regularly
Not only is running tyres that aren’t the correct pressure dangerous, you’ll also see increased tyre wear and fuel consumption!
Only run your engine when you need to
Yes, running your engine at idle uses fuel. Why not consider switching off the engine in traffic jams?
Foot off of the accelerator!
Even something as simple as taking your foot off of the accelerator when approaching junctions can save fuel!