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What is the best way heavy equipment operators and owners can conserve fuel?

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Smart business owners, whether they are leading construction companies or operating a farm, know how important it is to be mindful of margins and save money whenever possible to protect profits or come in under or at budget.

As operators and owners of large equipment, fuel costs are among the most important to control. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more challenging because the actual cost of fuel is not something that can be controlled.

With that challenge in mind, many owners and operators of heavy equipment that runs on diesel are always attempting to stay aware of the ways they can save on diesel fuel costs.

Now, there is being wise and frugal with money and then there is cutting corners that will only end up costing you more money in the long run. Avoid the latter scenario by incorporating the following fuel saving tips into your operations.

Use better fuel quality

It’s safe to say that heavy equipment of any kind goes through its fair share of fuel. However, that’s no reason to sacrifice on quality.

The better the fuel quality, the better your equipment’s fuel efficiency. Cheaper fuel can very quickly affect engine performance, including by decreasing the amount of power the engine generates and how much fuel the engine has to use even to produce that output of performance.

Always check the owner’s manual to find the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) recommended fuel or fuel mixture. This will ensure that your equipment runs at the optimal performance and fuel economy is at its best.

Monitor and reduce equipment idling

Most equipment and machinery are constantly on the go. But even on the job site and in the farm field, there are times where operators must idle their machinery. To save fuel, keep an eye on how much time is spent idling and do your best to reduce the times in which it is necessary.

Idling can very quickly contribute to increased fuel consumption. In the case of heavy equipment, a mere hour of idling throughout the day can waste up to a gallon of fuel. Even in lighter vehicles, an hour consumes an additional half-gallon of fuel.

For equipment that operates many hours per day, most days per week, that wasted fuel can add up in a hurry and increase costs considerably.

One easily implementable way to decrease engine idling is to not wait too long when starting an engine to begin operating and when stopping the equipment to shut it down. Most modern machinery can warm up and cool down much more quickly than older models were able to.

Operate at lower speeds and shift wisely

Like allowing machinery to remain at a stand still can be detrimental to fuel efficiency, so too can operating at too high a speed. Again, consult information from the OEM to determine the most efficient speed for operating. Exceeding this speed can deplete fuel much faster.

Governing systems may be an option for some equipment. By installing these systems, speed can be limited and engine performance can be monitored to see which operators are successfully conserving fuel when possible and which ones may be pushing equipment too hard.

Maintain your equipment with regular servicing

Heavy equipment tends to have a much longer lifespan when brought in for regular service and maintenance. Among other benefits, fuel efficiency tends to be better when machinery is well-maintained, and all parts are working together properly.

Regular maintenance tasks to check off that can impact fuel performance include:

  • Keeping moving parts greased
  • Adjusting belts to the correct tension
  • Adjusting tracks to the proper tension

These tasks help reduce resistance and promote smoother movement when the heavy equipment is in operation, resulting in less fuel consumption.

Keep tires in good condition

Along those same lines, tires that are kept in good condition can also reduce fuel consumption because they do not slip too much. Tires without enough ballast tend to slip, slide and hop more often, which can contribute to engine wear.

At the same time, too much ballast with lighter loads can also contribute to issues that lead to higher fuel consumption. Always consider what work or other equipment is being used and match the ballast appropriately.

Train all operators

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is important to always make sure to train all operators on best practices for driving and operating heavy equipment and machinery. An inexperienced operator is one of the leading factors of inefficient fuel economy.

Instruct operators on what work modes are appropriate for the given job and site conditions. This will help them save as much fuel as possible while they are in the driver’s seat.

Clean the air filter

Clean air is efficient air. Or rather, clean air makes an engine more efficient – and an engine that is running more efficiently is going to save fuel. How much fuel you can save by cleaning your diesel engine’s air filter in your construction or farm equipment depends on the size of the equipment.

For example, we have found that large combines will consume up to three to five gallons of more fuel per hour when the air filter is anywhere from 50% to 75% clogged. If working a 12-hour day, that’s up to 60 gallons of more fuel burned because the air filter is dirty.

That amount of fuel per day can do a number on your wallet. Consider how many vehicles or pieces of equipment running on diesel engines are operating per day worked and cleaning the air filter is a must for saving money on fuel.

Use only the best: Filter Blaster

Not only will cleaner air filters promote better fuel economy in heavy diesel equipment and machinery, but it also leads to lower maintenance costs.

Additionally, using Filter Blaster products to clean diesel engine air filters will not harm the filter itself, unlike other products or DIY cleaning methods.

Learn more about Filter Blaster products or browse our products to find the right product for cleaning your equipment.

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