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 the Natural Resources Canada website.