Here we go again. Gas prices are skyrocketing and will probably reach $4.00 per gallon this summer. For nearly every service professional in our network, this will affect your company's bottom line. Higher fuel costs will mean either smaller profit margins or expenses you'll have to pass on to your clients.
There are some things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of every drop of gas you buy:
1. Stick with the lowest octane fuel you can run in your vehicle that will not cause it to knock. It's a myth that higher octane gas gives you better fuel mileage, a cleaner engine, or more power. Only high compression sports cars need more octane.
2. Maintain the proper tire pressure.
3. Get your work vehicle tuned up properly. Misfiring plugs can rob you of efficiency by 30%. Use the correct oil for it and replace the filters on a scheduled basis.
4. Drive the speed limit and avoid those jack-rabbit fast starts and stops. Excessive and hard driving can really eat up fuel.
5. Don't let your vehicle idle. Running it will burn more gas than restarting it. If you'll be away from it for more than a minute or two, shut it down.
6. Don't overfill the tank. Resist the urge to top off. The excess will more than likely evaporate or spill out as you drive off and stop/start a few times.
7. Plan your route. If you have many stops to make, plan them in a loop to avoid doubling back on every trip.
8. Limit your cargo. If you don't need to take every tool and part with you on each job, then leave them behind. Every 250 pounds takes up an extra mile per gallon.
9. Keep your gas cap tight. Without a solid seal, that expensive gas can evaporate.
10. Speaking of evaporation - try to park your work vehicle in the shade, if possible. When you're parked in the sun, gas will evaporate from the tank from the excessive heat.
There are some efficiency myths to dispel as well. Edmunds.com did a series of tests on the subject and found out there's not much difference in gas mileage when you run your air conditioning or have your windows rolled down. They also said that tire pressure doesn't matter as much, but I'm still going to recommend that one (safety and tire wear are still chief concerns...)