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Top tips for van drivers to save fuel

By Maxine Ashford | April 28, 2023


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In a bid to help van drivers eek every mile out of their fuel tank, we have come up with some top tips to maximise efficiency.

Top tips for van drivers to save fuel

Fuel costs have reached record level highs in the last 12 months and that has had a massive impact on professional drivers who regularly clock up heavy mileage in order to make a living.

In a bid to help van drivers eek every mile out of their fuel tank, we have come up with some top tips to maximise efficiency. Some are fairly obvious while others may not be quite so evident.

Firstly, carrying excess weight inside a vehicle has a huge impact on fuel economy. With that in mind, take a little time to look around and see if there are extra bits and pieces on board that are not necessary. A shovel may have been needed during winter months with a risk of getting stuck in snow, but it won’t be crucial during summer months. And do you need that ladder and roof rack on all year round or just once or twice a year? Again, it impacts on the day-to-day running costs so get rid.

Another simple regular check, that is often overlooked is tyre pressures. They are there for a reason and if they are too low, it will cause the vehicle to underperform, damage the tyres and have an effect on fuel levels too. This brings us to servicing. While it’s not cheap, keeping the vehicle in good working order makes for happier motoring. Simple functions such as blocked filters or worn brake pads can not only be dangerous, but also lead to more frequent trips to the fuel pumps.

Admittedly, we can’t exactly rely on the weather these days with proper seasons seemingly a thing of the past. But on hotter days, constant air conditioning use is quite pricey. Maybe cool the cabin down initially and then try to remember to turn it off asap. Opening windows instead is not exactly ideal either as it has an impact on drag levels.

Then there is the matter of driving styles. Van drivers have a bit of a reputation (especially ‘white van man’) for their over-aggressive driving. Think before you floor the accelerator, brake hard and cut up another motorist. That manoeuvre probably cost you a cup full of fuel and it gained only a few yards.

Instead, be gentle with the throttle, think about the gear changes so the revs are kept as low as possible and try not to brake severely. After all, if you think about it logically you have used fuel to reach a speed so you are wasting it by constantly hammering on the brakes. In addition, stick to speed limits and look ahead. Preparation and planning are key to saving fuel.

An area that doesn’t immediately spring to mind is the weight of fuel inside the tank. It’s a heavy commodity, so is it really necessary to fill your tank to the top? Try to keep fuel levels at about half full and maximise efficiency.

And on the matter of fuel, shop around. Without forward planning you will be stung by prices at motorway service stations. In general, supermarkets offer the cheapest forecourt prices, but in recent times some local independent garages have undercut them. There are comparison websites that will show all local prices so you can save money by doing a little research.

If you are driving an electric van, then plan when you will get the cheapest charge. For example, if you have a home wallbox, use it as often as possible as it is far more economical than fast chargers en route. It’s also worth checking with your energy provider to see if there are cheaper tariff times such as charging overnight to save even more money.

While vans are not the most aerodynamically designed vehicles anyway, you will see many still carrying roof boxes. These are great for extra storage for family getaways, but the effect on fuel efficiency is quite noticeable. The drag really impacts on consumption.

These are just a few tips to conserve fuel and keep day-to-day running costs as low as possible. A little bit of planning, along with careful, less aggressive driving and regular servicing with tyre checks will save pounds in the long run.

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