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14 Ways to Reduce Heavy Equipment Fuel Costs

By Reannon Muth on Oct 1, 2019
Posted in Equipment

Even when fuel prices are relatively low, it's always good to do what you can to keep fuel costs to a minimum. Below is a list of ways to keep your fleet operating as fuel efficiently as possible. 

1. Educate machine operators—Machine operators play a big role in controlling fuel consumption costs. Train operators to avoid speeding or braking sharply, as this can increase fuel use.

2. Limit idle time—Keeping a machine idling for longer than is absolutely necessary adds to your fuel costs by as much as 50% and it can shorten the life of engine oil by 75%. Heavy equipment works best when it's operated at a steady pace—Frequent braking and acceleration burns more fuel. It can help to think in terms of car miles—highway miles (i.e, steady use) is more fuel efficient than city miles (inconsistent use). We recommend establishing an idle policy for drivers and then monitoring it with idle reporting. 

3. Avoid quick acceleration—Machines use 40% more fuel when operators accelerate quickly. Encourage them to avoid "jackrabbit starts," as those not only increase fuel consumption but they can also increase toxic emissions. 

4. Avoid speeding—Speeding is not only dangerous, but it uses more fuel. Encourage equipment operators to drive machines at a slow and steady pace.

5. Don't carry unnecessary weight—Extra weight can lower fuel efficiency because it puts a strain on a vehicle's engine. Improve your gas mileage by reducing added weight whenever possible. 

6. Plan work days with efficiency in mind—Fuel efficiency can be greatly increased by planning ahead. Ensure employees are using the shortest travel distances with the least amount of obstructions, for example. Also, it's a good idea to examine how each machine is being used to see if a more efficient solution is available (such as using one dozer instead of two, for example, or using a larger wheel loader bucket). 

7. Get regular tune-ups—Keeping up-to-date on maintenance items like oil changes and air filter and break inspections can not only help extend the life your machinery, but it can also improve fuel efficiency.

8. Keep tires inflated properly—For wheeled machinery, it's important to maintain proper air tire pressure. Tires that are low can cost up to an additional two weeks of fuel per year. For tracked machines, keep tracks adjusted to the proper tension. 

9. Select the right size and machine for the job—Bigger machines use more fuel, so you can cut costs by ensuring you aren't using a machine that's bigger than necessary. Similarly, if you're using a smaller-than-recommended machine, you'll be overworking the machine, which can cause unnecessary wear and result in costly repairs. Using the wrong type of machine or attachment can also add to more work in the long run, and more work equals more fuel. Read: 9 Vital Questions to Ask When Renting Heavy Equipment

10. Implement monitoring technology—Next to operator training, implementing an advanced telematics system is the best thing you can do to reduce fuel costs. Telematics not only helps you track fuel consumption, but it can also provide you with data on how often the machine sits idling and when fuel consumption is at its peak as well as information on the driving habits of your operator.

11. Encourage efficient communication—Idling and unnecessary machine use are frequently caused by poor communication. By streamlining the communication process between teams, you can eliminate employee down time and pointless machine use. 

12. Shift at a lower RPM—Operators use more fuel when they gear up and throttle down at high RPMs. Encourage operators to lower their RPMs before they shift.

13. Keep equipment's cutting edge and teeth sharp—Over time, a dull blade edge or dull or rounded bucket teeth can increase fuel consumption because they reduce the effectiveness of the machine. Equipment with dull blades or bucket teeth have more resistance and aren't able to cut through material as effectively. 

14. Upgrade your machinery—Newer, quality machines operate more efficiently than older or poorly maintained equipment. If you're looking to upgrade your fleet, we welcome you to view our listing of new equipment and used equipment for sale or call 1-800-712-4190 today. 

About Blue Diamond Machinery: Blue Diamond Machinery is a premier, independently owned heavy equipment rental and sales company. From our headquarters in Las Vegas, we proudly service all of Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. Our growing team of employees have over 65 years in the construction industry. Visit www.heavyequipmentrentals.com to learn more. 

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