How to optimise fuel consumption

At Volvo, we are continuously working to develop engines and vehicles that are more fuel-efficient, because, by reducing fuel consumption, we reduce exhaust emissions as well. Just to give one example: between 1980 and 2001, engine efficiency and the normal fuel consumption of a Volvo FH12 40 tonne truck on the road have improved by 25%

However, besides vehicle and engine design the fuel consumption for goods vehicle transport is dependent on a number of factors, such as load factor, the driver, the equipment and weather conditions.

The Driver and the Owner

Whilst air resistance, rolling resistance and driveline specification will influence your fuel consumption, the load factor (i.e. the level of utilisation for an individual transport), is still the factor that creates the greatest divergence per tonne kilometre.  Air resistance, rolling-resistance, driving method and road qualities also influence the fuel consumption. For a transport company, route planning and the loading factor are most significant for reducing fuel consumption.

Specification and Equipment

The train weight and the condition of the roads that the vehicle is driven on, determine which model is the most suitable. Stronger engines and higher train weight give higher fuel consumption. Calculated per tonne kilometre, however, fuel consumption is reduced with increased train weight. The different equipment and design also have an effect on air resistance and, consequently, fuel consumption. By making the right choice from the start fuel consumption can be by more than 10%.

Additional facts about fuel consumption:
  • Constant up and downhill driving or city driving with many stops may increase fuel consumption by more than 50%.
  • Driving into a wind blowing an additional 10 metres/sec may increase fuel consumption by 18%.
  • If there is rain or snow on the road surface, rolling resistance increases and fuel consumption may increase by 10-20%.
  • Lowering the speed from 90km/h to80km/h reduces fuel consumption by 6%.
  • One additional stop every 10 km increases the fuel consumption by approximately 35%. 10 stops and accelerations per 10 km increase fuel consumption by 130%.
  • The fuel consumption can increase by up to 10% if the vehicle is not serviced regularly and/or if non-approved parts are being used on the truck.

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