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Step 9: Identify energy saving opportunities

Vehicles operate under widely varying conditions with different drivers and duties; you must go out with drivers to observe measure and understand the differences between them.

During your survey some factors will be common across all vehicles and drivers; these will be the opportunities for change in the first instance. The least cost options will be behaviour related, we list below the areas to be considered.


  • Parking: Is vehicle parked ready for loading, is the refrigeration unit plugged in?
  • Reverse parked: generally reverse parking i.e. parked facing toward the direction of travel, is safer and reduces manoeuvring with a cold engine and tires.

Driving style

You may already do dedicated safety training with your drivers in the normal course of business; this is a fuel usage checklist:

  • Planning ahead; is route planned to avoid congestion, excess manoeuvring and unsuitable roads.
  • Speed limit compliance; is vehicle driven under its legal speed limit. Slower means less fuel used.
  • Starting & moving away; is accelerator used gently and speed built-up smoothly with appropriate gear selection
  • Engine Braking is it used where applicable.
  • Optimum Torque Usage; is driver aware of optimum revs.
  • Cruise Control usage; is it used wherever possible at appropriate speeds.
  • Rating; you can create your own rating system, for drivers, bear in mind that overall fuel usage is an objective measure for similar vehicles for when no-one is watching in the cab.


Using pen & paper is adequate; a stopwatch is useful for collecting idling times.

  • Odometer (start & finish)
  • Litres filled, if any during trip
  • Idling time, per stop and as a total for trip.
  • Load weights, jobs completed for the trip being surveyed.
  • Energy Efficiency for this trip

Sample vehicle survey checklist

No two fleets are the same, so develop your own checklist to suit your business. The following example may be helpful as an initial guide:

Gross vehicle weight7500kgConfirms vehicle size and class
Engine idling rev’s720Record idling rev’s once the engine is warm.
Peak Torque (revs)900Is driver aware of peak torque points, for maximum pulling power
Emissions CO2 g/Km Emissions rating where available
Fuel typeDieselConfirm type(s) of fuel being used
Automatic gearboxY / NAutomatic or manual gearbox
Cruise controlY / NKeeps vehicle at constant speed.
ABS / EBAY / NAnti-skid, Electronic brake assist.
ServicedY / NServiced on time, records up to date
Tires pressures TIP: 10% under-inflation can reduce fuel economy by 3%
Correct110 PSIWhat is vehicle manufacturers’ recommended tire pressure
Front95 PSIRecord actual using a tire pressure gauge or obtain from tire supplier
Rear110PSIMake sure you record and check correct pressures for each axle
Outbound75%How full was truck leaving premises?
Inbound25%Delivery vehicles often return to base empty, are there ‘backhaul’ opportunities?
Unnecessary0Unused pallet truck, compressors, ladders etc., kept on board just in case.
Loading by volume Is truck/trailer high enough or too high (large gap between load and roof)
Roof rackY / N Is there a roof rack, why is it there. Could you do without?
Open load areaY / NIf there is a cover is it being used
ProtuberancesY / NLook for un-repaired damage, unnecessary light bars and bull bars
Tractor Units  
Roof-mounted air deflectorY / NDeflects air up and over trailer units
Side collars at rear of cabY / NSmoothes airflow across gap between tractor and trailer
Under-bumper air-damY / NSmoothes and deflect airflow from under vehicle

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