If you're a self-employed courier driver, whose livelihood depends on keeping your mileage as cost effective as possible, keeping an eye on the fuel prices is an essential part of running your business. |
Here are some no-nonsense tips that, if made part of your daily practice, will improve your fuel economy and increase your profits.
Drive With Intent
The fastest way to burn fuel unnecessarily is to drive further and more often than you really need to. You should take the time to work out your routes for every courier contract, to ensure there's no doubling back or driving around aimlessly. Keep your driving as streamlined as you can, with as few stops and starts as possible, as a cold engine also uses more fuel for the first few miles.
Peak Performance Out of Peak Hours
By the very nature of the job it's not always possible to avoid peak hour traffic, but not only can traffic jams cause huge problems with your daily schedule, they can also have a negative effect on your fuel economy. Every time you have to slow down, stop, and then start again in low gear, your vehicle uses a huge amount of fuel. Falling prey to traffic snarls can be avoided (or at least minimised) by using alternative routes in peak hours or keeping up-to-date of local traffic information.
Pump Up the Fuel Conservation
In terms of your tyre life and performance, a little effort goes a long way. It doesn't take much to check your tyre pressure, but keeping them pumped up to the correct level not only gives you better handling on the road, it also reduces drag on the vehicle, saving on the amount of fuel required. A five-minute check once every couple of weeks can make a big difference to your fuel consumption over time.
Be a Smooth Operator
It goes without saying that keeping your cool when you drive for a living is very important – and while it's certainly not always easy to maintain your composure. Travelling at a smooth, consistent speed is one of the best ways to increase fuel economy. While you might arrive at your destination quicker by travelling faster, you'll also burn more fuel doing so. Accelerating often and erratically also uses unnecessary fuel and, weaving in and out of traffic just to beat everyone else to the next traffic lights isn't going to do you any good. Additionally, keeping your accelerator flat to the floor just to avoid having to change down to a lower gear also burns more fuel.
A smart driver knows that for a courier contract to be profitable, the difference between operating costs and the pound value on the monthly invoices is not only down to a healthy volume of work, but also their own behaviour on the road. If you ensure fuel conservation becomes a priority, you'll reap the rewards from every single courier contract you take on.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. If you're looking for a courier contract, Courier Exchange has over 4,000 transport exchange businesses networked together through their website, trading courier jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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