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Can Driving Differently Actually Save You Money?

The cost of fuel and overall fuel efficiency are significant factors that can drastically affect the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your fleet. Thomas Built buses, which have Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) emissions systems, can provide from 7% to 27% better fuel economy than traditional Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology. Alternative fuel buses with compressed natural gas or propane autogas engines may be able to offer even greater fuel savings.

But what if you cannot afford a new bus at this time? Or, what if you have a newer bus but wish to reduce your fuel economy even more? The solution may be in your drivers’ driving habits. By monitoring and changing your drivers’ habits, you could start to see significant fuels savings, not to mention reduced emissions and even an improved safety record. To decrease your fuel consumption and overall TCO, here are a few driving habits to watch out for:

  • Idling: In the wee hours of the morning, buses are cranking up across the country. Unfortunately, many of them are idling for far too long. Today’s engines do not need nearly as much time to warm up in the mornings. On most buses, the typical time needed to circulate the engine oil throughout the system is only a couple of minutes, if that. Excessive idling means fuel is being burned even though no motion is taking place. In essence, you are getting zero miles per gallon. Plus, excessive idling can cause additional wear and tear on your buses that will decrease its overall lifespan. Encourage your drivers to idle less in the mornings and afternoons during start-up. When drivers must be stopped for a long period of time (aside from traffic, of course), encourage them to turn off the engine. It takes less fuel to restart the engine than to idle the engine for a long period of time.
  • Speeding and acceleration: Simply put, the faster a bus travels, the more fuel it consumes. Quick acceleration and driving excessive speeds not only decrease the aerodynamic drag of a bus, they are also unsafe practices. A nice, smooth acceleration from stop and staying within the speed limit can drastically reduce overall fuel consumption. In fact, shifting gears in a bus too soon or accelerating too quickly not only burns extra fuel, it can also lead to carbon buildup in the engine and reduce the overall efficiency of the bus. Encourage drivers to drive within the speed limit, accelerate slowly and smoothly from a stopped position and not try to run yellow lights.
  • Braking: Hard braking can often be a result of driving too quickly or following other vehicles too closely. Hard breaking should never be the norm, as it causes unnecessary wear and tear on the brakes and tires, and requires the bus to accelerate again from a stopped position. Encourage drivers to stay alert, look ahead and anticipate stops. In traffic, slowing down and coasting to a stop is much easier on the bus than hard braking and aggressive acceleration.

To learn more about how driving habits can affect your TCO, or to request driver training, contact your local dealer.

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