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III. Driving efficiently
Smart driving practices

Fuel efficiency starts when you turn your engine on. Proper warm-up helps lubricate components and seals, reducing wear and leakage. Starting your truck properly can save money on fuel. As a driver, you can help to protect the environment from the harmful effects of driving by following these suggestions:

    • When starting your vehicle, make sure you use zero throttle and are in a gear that doesn’t need any throttle.
    • Don’t pump the throttle unnecessarily; the amount of fuel required for starting is pre-measured. Pumping the throttle wastes fuel and can damage cylinder walls.
    • Use ether sparingly when having difficulty starting your engine; excessive use can harm the engine.
    • Let your vehicle warm up for three to five minutes — if the temperature is below 0 degrees Celsius, allow it warm up for seven to 10 minutes. Do not rev the engine; let it warm up gradually.
    • Warm up your vehicle after the initial idle time by driving easily; don’t try to get too much speed out of the engine by pushing the throttle down hard.
    • Ensure oil and air pressure are in their normal operating ranges during start-up.
    • Back off the accelerator when going down a hill; let gravity and momentum do the work.
    • Use cruise control where appropriate.
    • Change gears smoothly — shifting professionally will result in about 30 per cent improvement in operating costs.
    • Always use the clutch; failure to do so can wear down the gear teeth in the transmission.
    • Practise progressive gear shifting at approximately 1600 rpm. Shifting before you reach the maximum governed rpm reduces equipment wear, decreases noise levels and saves fuel.
    • Run the engine in the highest gear range to keep it in a low-rev range.
    • Use your retarder properly and turn it off when you don’t need it. Allow the terrain to work for you.
    • Turn off your engine when you stop for any length of time. You will save fuel, reduce maintenance requirements, prolong engine life and prevent unnecessary emissions.

Fuel-consumption techniques summary:
If you learn and practise the following techniques, you’ll be well on the way to good fuel consumption:

    • Use good starting procedures.
    • Get going as soon as you can.
    • Control your idling.
    • Be an RPM miser.
    • Use progressive shifting.
    • Maintain efficient engine speed.
    • Manage your road speed.
    • Operate efficiently in traffic.

Try our “Check your Green Smarts” quiz to test your knowledge on fuel efficiency. For more information, visit www.fleetsmart.gc.ca.