Five More Ways To Reduce Fuel Costs While Your Buses Are On The Road
published on October 30, 2019 by Sonia Mastros
At this point, most school districts are at least looking at green school buses for their fleet. The problem, of course, is that green school buses are expensive, whether you're going the upgrade route or to entirely replace your older buses. Not every district is in a position to go green, at least not yet.
However, there are still ways you can cut your fuel costs. There are a number of very effective ways that your on-road operational costs can be reduced, and your fuel costs along with. Here are a few ideas.
Five Great Ways to Reduce Your School Bus Fleet Fuel Costs
1. Optimize Your Routes
If you're still making routes by hand, or manually running calculations in a handheld GPS unit, there's a much easier way to do things: Route-calculation software. This software can calculate routes for an entire district within seconds and can be customized to fit your particular needs.
Often, you can see huge fuel savings just by having better route maps.
2. Minimize Left Turns
Fun fact: UPS driver routing avoids left turns whenever possible. Turning against traffic causes the vehicle to do a lot of idling, waiting for an opportunity to cross the street - and that's wasted fuel. Also, accidents are more likely when turning against traffic.
It's a winning strategy for UPS, and it works just as well for school buses, so try to build your routes to avoid left turns.
3. In a cold area? Install block heaters.
A school bus engine can take an hour or more to warm up in the winter if you're only using the engine itself. This means a lot of wasted fuel. On the other hand, block heaters are inexpensive and electrical, so they can warm up your bus for a much lower cost.
4. Train Your Drivers for Slow Acceleration and Braking
Fast stops and hard acceleration will both cut significantly into your fuel efficiency. Obviously, there are times that circumstances require fast action, but for the most part, gentle driving is entirely possible. Train your drivers to take it a little more slowly, and you'll see fuel cost reductions.
5. Let Drivers Park At Home
Do your drivers drive in the morning, return the buses to the depot, go home, then come back and repeat the process in the afternoon? If it's feasible, let them drive the bus straight home after the AM route, then bring it back in the PM. This cuts out some unnecessary back-and-forth that just wastes fuel.
These are just a few ideas, and there are plenty more out there.
What are your favorite fuel-saving tips? Let's talk about it in the comments.