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Fuel Disruption Planning

Fuel is the life blood of our economy, over the last few years disputes in the fuel industry and higher prices have caused disruption to supplies. In order to continue business activity it is important that business owners and managers plan for interruptions to their business. This can be for differing reasons.

Fuel Supply Checklist

Listed below are some initial questions that you might wish to run through your Business Continuity Plans when considering the impact of a disruption in the fuel supply.

At Work

  • Which of your Companies functions are critical and must continue during any period of disruption?
  • Of these, which critical functions must have vehicles in order to deliver them?
  • Which of your Companies functions are less critical such that they could be scaled back or even suspended during a period of disruption?
  • Of these, which functions normally depend on vehicles in order to deliver them – i.e. could your Company reduce its overall demand for fuel during a period of disruption?
  • Could you multi-task your vehicles in order to make maximum use of their delivery capacity?
  • Could you make greater use of the vehicles in your fleet that have lower fuel consumption?
  • Could your Company explore ways of sharing vehicles with other Category 1 responders through local agreements?
  • How would you activate and de-activate your own plans with the minimum of fuss and disruption?

Getting to Work

  • Would all of your staff actually need to come to work during a period of disruption? For example, could some staff work effectively from home or from another site/office that is closer to home?
  • Could your staff make more efficient use of their private vehicles by car sharing with colleagues?
  • Could your staff make greater use of public transport to get to work?

Measures to Reduce Petrol Consumption

Don't use a car if you really don't need to

Do you really need to drive? If you live one or two miles from work or school, why not walk or ride a bike in mild weather? Taking a bus or train is also a fuel-efficient alternative to driving alone. Consider alternating the driving with others whose children attend the same school or activities as your children do. As for commuting to and from work, why not offer to share a ride with another colleague living nearby or a neighbour working close to you?

Drive your car only when necessary. Don't use it for those "around the corner" trips, walk instead. Don't make two trips when one will do. Combine errands into a single trip.

Buy local produce, which wouldn't therefore need to be transported long- distances.

Maintain your car properly

A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by 15 to more than 50%. By properly maintaining your car and by following the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner's manual, you can maximise fuel efficiency. With a well-tuned engine, you'll also minimise engine wear and tear.

Check your tyre pressure. Rolling friction occurs between the tyre and the road surface and is determined by such factors as the type of tyre and type of road surface. Poor roads or rain and snow can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%. On the other hand correct tyre pressure can save up to 5% in fuel consumption and also lengthen the tyre's life and increase road safety.

Plan your journey

Sitting in traffic will reduce the vehicle’s fuel economy. If possible it is therefore better to plan ahead and avoid travelling at peak times when congestion is likely. Planning a route in advance will also reduce the likelihood of getting lost or travelling further than necessary.

Don't carry unnecessary weight

A loaded roof rack can increase fuel consumption by up to 5%. A rooftop carrier provides additional baggage space and may allow you to meet all your driving needs with a smaller vehicle. However, a loaded rack can increase fuel consumption by as much as 5% in motorway driving. Even the most streamlined empty rack will increase fuel consumption by about 1% when it's not loaded. If the carrier is not permanently affixed to your automobile, remove it when it is not needed.

Be a steady driver

Fuel can be saved by using a steady driving technique where the driver anticipates what is ahead and keeps as constant a speed as possible. In general, a one-unit increase in speed requires a three-unit increase in power consumption. It is therefore beneficial if a driver can avoid high speeds while at the same time maintaining the overall average speed. This can be achieved by anticipating what lies ahead on the road and by selecting the most suitable route.

Restrict your speed

The most fuel-efficient driving speed is 56 miles per hour (DfT estimate). Most cars use about 10% less fuel when driven at 56mph rather than 62mph and a reduction in speed from 68 to 56mph can reduce fuel consumption by 20%. The optimum speed for HGVs is also 56mph and large vehicles can achieve similar savings in fuel consumption by reducing their speed to this level.

Don't idle

No matter how efficient your car, idling consumes fuel. One minute of idling uses up more fuel than restarting your engine. Turn off the ignition if you are waiting.

Use electrics less

Car electrics impose an extra load on the engine, making it work harder and burn more fuel. Air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 10% in stop-go traffic. At motorway speeds, air conditioning increases fuel consumption by 3 to 4%. Flow-through ventilation reduces the need to drive with air conditioning on or with windows open, both of which consume more fuel. A sunroof can reduce the need for air conditioning, but when the roof is open at motorway speeds, wind resistance is increased and greater fuel consumption will result.