Debunking popular fuel-saving myths that might be costing you money

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Throughout 2024, we have experienced a rollercoaster ride when it comes to fuel prices. Couple this with the rise in fuel theft cases plaguing businesses around the globe and inflation, the need to save money where we can, is fast becoming our number one priority.

This is especially true in the minds of fleet managers. With fuel being one of the leading expenses for businesses running a fleet, regardless of size, keeping the costs down can be considered quite the challenge. However, with so many articles out there telling you how you can save on fuel costs with ease, it’s hard for fleet managers to tell the difference between tried and tested fact from fiction.

This is where we can help! Let us take a look at a few common fuel saving myths, that may just be costing your business money, explore why they don’t work, and what fuel saving strategies your business can implement that are guaranteed to help.

5 Common fuel saving myths

Cutting down on wind resistance with tailgating

Tailgating occurs when a driver follows too closely to the vehicle in front of them. Although there are many articles suggesting that tailgating can reduce wind resistance and mildly improve fuel economy, the risk to your life and your vehicle far outweighs the supposed benefits. It is strongly recommended that you maintain a safe following distance, avoid truck blind spots, and do not listen to your friend Dave, who thinks tailgating is awesome.

Coasting downhill in neutral or with engine shut off

We have all done it at some point, coasting downhill in neutral or with the engine shut off with the misconception that we are saving on precious fuel. However, modern vehicles are designed with fuel economy in mind and tend to reduce fuel intake during deceleration of the vehicle. It is also important to note that modern vehicles are largely automated, therefore, switching the vehicle off during deceleration can deactivate various safety systems such as power steering, ABS brakes, or vehicle control systems to name a few.

Fill your tank in the morning gives you more fuel

We have all heard this one, a proverbial “wives’ tale” in fuel saving. The misconception is, as fuel temperatures rise, fuel becomes less dense, meaning you pay more for less. However, most fuel stations around the globe store petrol or diesel in large underground tanks. These tanks are typically well insulated and remain at a constant temperature. Therefore, the rising temperature of the day plays little to no part in the density of the fuel, seeing as the fuel from the bowser remains at a consistently cool temperature throughout the day.

Warm up your car before you go to work

Warming up your vehicle by allowing it to idle for several minutes before driving, especially in cold weather, can help you save on fuel. Excessive idling of your vehicle not only wastes fuel, but also increases your vehicles’ carbon footprint, adds to vehicle wear and tear, and digs deeper into your pocket.

Driving with your windows down increases drag

There have been several studies around the world on the various topics relating to windows vs aircons and fuel efficiency. Some studies have suggested that driving in town with your aircon on can reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by as much as 25% as opposed to driving on a highway. However, when we think of higher speeds, we assume that having your windows open will affect increase drag which in turn can impact our fuel consumption, therefore, we should use our aircon. Now there are merits to having an air conditioner on, especially during a hot day, whilst driving on a highway, but the fact is, having your window open at high speeds has very little impact on your fuel economy.

5 Fuel saving tips that actually work

Stay on top of vehicle maintenance.

Fleet managers can maximize fuel efficiency and minimize downtime costs by implementing a structured vehicle maintenance schedule using a fuel or fleet management system.  Regular maintenance checks help identify issues such as brake drag, dirty air filters, faulty injectors, worn spark plugs, or fuel leaks that can contribute to high fuel consumption.

Manage vehicle load appropriately.

When a vehicle is overloaded, its performance on the road is compromised, resulting in increased fuel consumption. Fleet managers and drivers should regularly assess and adjust the vehicle’s load, removing unnecessary cargo where possible.

Implement strategic route planning.

When planning routes and scheduling drivers, consider several factors to optimize fuel efficiency. For instance, when transporting heavy loads, prioritize straightforward, flat routes over mountainous terrain. Fleet managers can leverage GPS technology to assess traffic conditions, road terrain, and scheduling factors, all of which influence fuel consumption. By strategically planning routes, fleet managers can minimize fuel usage and associated costs, contributing to overall operational efficiency.

Monitor driving behaviour

Simple driver behaviors such as sudden braking or aggressive acceleration can significantly increase fuel consumption per trip, adding to already high fuel costs. Encouraging smooth accelerations, adherence to speed limits, and maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead can significantly improve fuel efficiency.

Invest in a fleet management solutions

Implementing a fleet management solution in your fleet can greatly improve your fleets’ performance and assist with managing fuel efficiency. Through state-of-the-art GPS and telematics systems, you can receive real-time data from your vehicles to easily determine where your fuel is going, which vehicle is using more fuel per trip, the health of your vehicle, and so much more.

What to consider in your fuel saving journey

Although the above fuel saving tips appear relatively cut and dry, fleet managers need to understand that there are various external and internal factors that can have an impact on your fuel saving journey. These factors should be taken into account when analysing your fleets’ fuel consumption reports, as it can help you make more informed decisions when implementing strategies to optimize fuel consumption.

Some of these factors include:

  • Road conditions and terrain: Vehicles travelling on poorly maintained roads or rough and uneven surfaces will end up using significantly more fuel than vehicles travelling on smooth, well maintained roads.
  • Poor route planning and high traffic zones: Selecting high traffic routes negatively impacts your vehicles fuel consumption as the driver is forced to idle for extended periods of time, accelerate and break continuously over short distances, and increase their travel time for a single trip.
  • Poor fuel and oil quality: Utilizing the correct fuel and oil ensures smooth engine operation and minimal energy loss during transit.

How Landmark FuelSecure can help you

Landmark FuelSecure provides fleet owners with top-tier fuel management and monitoring solutions that can help you track your fleets fuel consumption identify potential fuel theft, setup alerts for specific occurrences and so much more. These comprehensive reports are easily accessible across devices on a user-friendly and intuitive dashboard.

Take back control of your fleets fuel and make every drop count! Reach out to our experts today on +27 (0) 11 728 4757 or email us at and get your fuel management solution today.