More than 50 per cent of the members of the global Worldtrucker forum always try to drive as economically as possible. This is the result of a recent Web-based survey* on the popular truckers’ website.
Fuel economy is always a hot climate-related issue, but it is not only the environment that stands to make major gains from reduced fuel consumption. The fact is that haulage firms stand to reap considerable financial benefits too. For the average haulage firm in Europe, fuel costs account for more than one-third of total costs, but with efficient driving this can drop by as much as 10 per cent.
Since fuel consumption is directly related to carbon dioxide emissions, it also has a knock-on effect on the environment. Driver attitudes to – and their knowledge of – fuel-efficient driving are therefore very important from both the financial and environmental viewpoints.
That is why the Volvo Truck Corporation used its global www.worldtrucker.com forum to survey driver attitudes to fuel-efficient driving. The aim of the forum, which got under way in spring 2010, is to increase the company’s understanding of driver interests and needs.
1,300 of Worldtrucker’s more than 17,000 members responded to the survey.
The survey results show there is considerable awareness on the subject of fuel-efficiency. For example, when asked ‘Do you think about driving your truck as fuel-efficiently as possible?’ more than half – 53 per cent – answered that they always take fuel consumption into consideration.
Ulf Hammarberg is environmental affairs manager at global haulage company DHL. He feels that the survey results reflect a clear and positive trend.
“From the environmental viewpoint, economical driving is an important measure in the heavy truck sector in Europe. DHL feels that systematic monitoring, with feedback to our drivers, is a significant factor for achieving success in economical driving,” he explains.
Considerable future potential
Of the remaining drivers who answered the survey, 42 per cent said they only occasionally think about driving economically, while five per cent never do so. This means there is considerable future potential. The Volvo Truck Corporation’s own driver training courses show, in fact, that all drivers can learn to reduce their fuel consumption, no matter how much experience they have. The challenge is therefore not in finding out whether it is possible to reduce fuel consumption, but rather in the haulage firm giving its drivers sufficient incentive to actually drive more economically.
“It is important to work on awareness of this issue so that drivers understand that their efforts do make a difference,” says Andrew Low, who is in charge of driver training at Volvo Trucks. “Knowledge is power. Everything becomes simple once you know how – and this applies equally well to fuel-efficient driving. That is why it is important to invest in driver training,” he continues.
In order to increase awareness of fuel-efficiency, Volvo Trucks also holds the Drivers Fuel Challenge – a bi-annual global competition in economical driving open to commercial vehicle drivers. This year’s event attracted more than 3,500 drivers from all over the world.
The fact that the Worldtrucker survey reveals that as many as half the drivers already think about their driving style therefore does not surprise Andrew Low.
“It’s very encouraging to see these figures in black on white. They underscore the responses we have received regarding our courses and show that haulage firm owners and drivers have truly taken on board the message that environment and economy go hand in hand,” he concludes.