Speed Couriers on Maximising The Mileage

Speed Couriers have always been on the front foot when it comes to improving the fuel economy of our fleet.

Back in December 2021 we had seen a steady rise in the cost of fuel at the pumps over the previous 4 to 5 months. Coming out of the pandemic we were then hit with the war in the Ukraine and have all been affected by the various sanctions and political manoeuvring that comes with such a war.

Everyone has seen unprecedented increases in prices at the fuel pumps. Since the turn of the year we fuel has increased from 148.85 pence per litre rise to a high of 185.00 pence per litre near the end of May. Even with the £0.05p government cut in the spring budget we have seen the price steady at around 183.12 pence per litre which has meant our fleet of drivers have gone from paying £6.67 a gallon to over £8.03 a gallon.

A recent article in the IOC (Institute of Couriers) Newsletter has highlighted the current increases and expressed this in a couple of ways:

‘A message for all self-employed and freelance Couriers. ‘Did you know that for every 1p per litre increase in Diesel, if you drive a small van you’ll be paying an extra 0.18p per paid mile. On a 100 mile job (200 driven miles) that’s an additional 18p for every penny increase. On Jan 1st Diesel was £1.48 per litre. Today it’s £1.65. That 100mile job will cost you an extra £3 in fuel. Doesn’t sound much but if you consider you average 8000 miles per month then that works out to be an additional £120 a month. Over the course of a year that’s £1440’.  (Prices quoted correct in March 2022. )

Date Price at Pump Unleaded PPL Price at Pump Diesel PPL Increase/ Decrease on previous week (Diesel)
01/11/2021 143.70 147.48
08/11/2021 144.90 148.84 1.36
15/11/2021 145.87 149.76 0.92
22/11/2021 146.89 150.73 0.97
29/11/2021 147.53 151.31 0.58
06/12/2021 146.89 150.61 -0.70
13/12/2021 146.22 149.88 -0.73
20/12/2021 145.16 148.89 -0.99
27/12/2021 144.92 148.82 -0.07
03/01/2022 145.04 148.85 0.03
10/01/2022 144.82 148.65 -0.20
17/01/2022 144.80 148.70 0.05
24/01/2022 144.87 148.81 0.11
31/01/2022 145.74 149.68 0.87
07/02/2022 146.33 150.30 0.62
14/02/2022 146.95 151.10 0.80
21/02/2022 147.77 151.95 0.85
28/02/2022 149.22 153.36 1.41
07/03/2022 152.95 158.56 5.20
14/03/2022 159.96 169.48 10.92
21/03/2022 165.37 177.47 7.99
28/03/2022 162.65 176.44 -1.03
04/04/2022 161.91 176.00 -0.44
11/04/2022 161.78 176.22 0.22
18/04/2022 161.67 175.93 -0.29
25/04/2022 161.84 176.33 0.40
02/05/2022 162.48 177.06 0.73
09/05/2022 163.68 178.39 1.33
16/05/2022 165.09 179.67 1.28
23/05/2022 167.67 181.14 1.47

The impact to Speed Couriers is that we have increased the payments to our drivers to help with these rises as well as working with them to understand better that “How they Drive” drastically increases how many miles to the gallon they can achieve.

Fuel economy has generally been at the back of the mind for all of us driving any vehicle but recent events have brought this issue to the forefront. No longer are we discussing the odd penny on top of our fuel prices, we are now in the tens of pennies which all add up when your annual mileage is high.

At this time of increased fuel prices and indeed as part of our company policy moving forward, we looked to guide our drivers on how to save fuel by following some simple steps such as:

  1. Drive smoothly
  2. Step off the accelerator earlier
  3. Shift up early
  4. Avoid excessive acceleration and speed
  5. Avoid using Air conditioning when you can
  6. Lose weight out of your vehicle if un-necessary
  7. Keep the vehicle maintained – i.e. check your tyre pressures
  8. A more active group of our drivers regularly share information on lower costing fuel locations and the driving techniques they use to save fuel. A few our team noted these great points to save fuel:

Slowing Down a little makes big savings
“Following the speed limits will save a lot of fuel. Fuel economy peaks at around 50 mph on most cars, then worsens as speeds increase. A reduction on motorways by 5-10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%. Using cruise control, if you have it, to keeping speed at a constant can save fuel.”

Plan ahead
A little advance planning can go a long way when it comes to fuel usage. Map your route before you go to minimize turnarounds or backtracking. Avoid peak traffic times. Combine journeys and go to ‘one-stop shops’ where you can, do multiple tasks like banking, shopping, etc in one journey.”

Avoid excessive idling
It’s tempting to keep the engine running when not moving, especially in winter to keep warm. However surveys have found it is actually more fuel efficient to not idle when stationary. When stopped for more than a minute, and it’s safe to do so, turn off the engine. Your engine can consume one quarter to half a gallon per hour when idling.

Keep up with maintenance.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Oil is change, coolant topped up or refreshed, air-con serviced etc. All will ensure your engine runs effectively and gives maximum fuel efficiency.

Acceleration and Deceleration.
Accelerating and decelerating smoothly saves fuel and tyre wear. When accelerating and braking hard, tires have to work harder, however being gentle tires are going to last much longer and save money. Paying attention to slowing traffic or when approaching roundabouts and traffic lights, try and keep rolling or slow down gradually.

 Use recirculation in warm weather
As temperatures start to rise again watching how you use ‘AirCon’ can see a huge saving. Your Air-Con often runs directly from your engine so using it adds to the workload your engine has to do. Re-circulate the air rather than use excessive fuel to cool warm air coming in from outside.

Speed Couriers have also been monitoring our latest two electric vehicles, looking at their ongoing running costs. While this monitoring is still a ‘work in progress’, we have saved the following CO2:

Vehicle 1 – Over the past 6 months we have saved 1633kg of CO2 by using an electric van
Vehicle 2 – Over the past 12 months we have saved 5865 kg of CO2 by using an electric car .

On one of the vehicles we have been measuring driving style in relation to miles driven per KW used. It varies from 2.98 miles per kW down to 2.17 miles per kW on journeys over 100 miles. If we take the average at 2.558 miles per kw and then compared to the lowest, you can be looking at saving, simply by driving economically, between £0.10 pence to £0.12 pence per mile of electricity. This remarkably equates to over £1000 per year if driving 10000 miles. So even with an electric vehicle you can still drive to maximise the mileage.

While it’s great that we are able to directly measure the benefits of our electric vehicles, it is through regular updates from our courier fleet that we can see the driving styles of our drivers is having a positive effect on the MPG and as such directly reducing the CO2 produced by our operations which is always our ultimate goal.

If you would like to know more about our electric fleet and how we continue to be Net Carbon Zero, get in touch or read more HERE.