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How to maximize fuel efficiency for heavy construction and farm equipment

How to maximize fuel efficiency for heavy construction and farm equipment

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Everyone’s keeping an eye on the margins nowadays. With productivity and efficiency being top of mind for nearly every industry, there is always a focus on how to save money and, in turn, increase profits.

In the construction and farming industries, fuel efficiency is one of those topics that affects profitability one way or another. With so much heavy equipment and farm machinery in use, it’s no wonder fuel efficiency has such a close relationship to the bottom line of every operation in these two fields.

Heavy equipment operators would do well to pay close attention to fuel efficiency for a variety of reasons. We’ve already alluded to two reasons right off the bat: improved productivity and profitability.

But let’s dive deeper into how you and your crew can maximize fuel efficiency for heavy diesel engines.

What is fuel efficiency?

Before we get too far, we should define exactly what we’re talking about when we’re discussing fuel efficiency.

Most vehicles keep a close eye on miles per gallon, but in heavy equipment, fuel efficiency is more accurately measured as yards per gallon. Sometimes you may encounter trucks per gallon or buckets per gallon.

It’s also important to note that fuel economy and fuel efficiency are not the same thing. Fuel economy is the amount of fuel consumed. Fuel efficiency, on the other hand, is the amount of fuel it takes to accomplish a set goal.

Why fuel efficiency matters

If you and your crew are not using fuel-efficient machinery, then you are very likely leaving money on the table. It’s true that construction equipment and many pieces of agricultural heavy equipment are not known for their energy- and fuel-saving capabilities.

However, the latest technological improvements have allowed for many manufacturers to develop energy-saving improvements, such as hybrid power trains, that can make operating heavy equipment a much more environmentally friendly endeavor.

Now, it does take a major investment up front to purchase equipment that has the highest levels of fuel efficiency, but you will be saving money later on.

A focus on fuel efficiency has advantages

Your operation can reap the benefits of focusing on saving fuel.

What are those benefits? Well, one of the most important is the fact that, after wages, fuel costs are often the next highest expense for most construction site budgets.

On top of that though, diesel exhaust carries carcinogens, soot and other compounds that are harmful to the environment. By saving fuel, your equipment will have less of an impact on the environment.

And, simply by keeping idling time to a minimum, you can improve the lifespan of your equipment and decrease overall costs spent on maintenance.

Find equipment that’s designed with fuel efficiency in mind

The best machinery out there has been designed with maximum fuel efficiency in mind. Today’s cutting edge equipment often is built with fuel efficiencies already included.

Those can include automated idling functions, power optimization systems, advanced transmission and hydraulic systems, engine control units that are programable and gauges that allow operators to keep an eye on fuel efficiency while the equipment is being used.

Advanced fuel injection systems in newer machinery can also better regulate fuel pressure and injection timing. This process creates a far cleaner exhaust, fuel that combusts much more completely and less fuel that actually needs to be used.

Communicate expectations with equipment operators

At the end of the day, what matters most when it comes to ensuring fuel efficiency is being on the same page with all operators as to how equipment should be used to maximize efficiency.

As Construction Business Owner points out in its post on the topic, equipment operators have a direct relationship with fuel efficiency and the cost of operation.

That’s why every person who uses a piece of machinery or equipment on your farm or at your work site needs to understand the role they play in maximizing fuel efficiency. Your costs as a business owner and your business’s profitability depend on this understanding.

Make sure your crew knows and follows best practices for keeping equipment as fuel efficient as possible. That includes not accelerating aggressively, not speeding, not allowing for excessive travel and not idling too long.

You may even want to invest in equipment that include automatic shutdown, which is a feature that helps save fuel by shutting down the engine after a certain amount of time spent idling.

Keep tires inflated and in good condition

Underinflated tires have an awful effect on fuel efficiency. Tire pressure that is too high or too low can drop efficiency in a hurry.

It doesn’t take much underinflation to make fuel consumption less efficient, either. Take a tire that is just six PSI under the recommended level, for example. That piece of machinery will consume about 3% more fuel.

The solution is to always inspect tires and adjust inflation properly on a consistent basis. This will lead to much better equipment performance and fuel efficiency.

Clean equipment engine air filters

In addition to staying on top of all regularly scheduled maintenance, one of the other easy ways to improve fuel efficiency is to make sure the diesel engine’s air filter is kept clean.

That’s where our Filter Blaster product comes in. It has been tested in the field to show that cleaning air filters can result in very real savings for heavy equipment and farm machinery operators.

Our extensive field testing has shown that by using Filter Blaster, operators can see annual savings of more than $10,000 per vehicle in fuel and other maintenance costs. That’s because a clean air filter puts a lot less stress on the engine, which in turn improves engine performance and reduces the amount spent on engine maintenance over the years. That could very well mean longer-lasting engine life.

Plus, our products have also been proven to be safe to use. Don’t worry about damaging your air filters. We have designed Filter Blaster to ensure that your equipment’s filter will not be damaged.

Still not sure? Check out our FAQs for more information and then browse our available products.