1. Money

10 Ways to Cut Fuel Costs

Part 1: Things You Can Do to Save Money on Gas

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Tired of seeing the high cost of gas eat away at your bottom line? For many small businesses, the higher the cost of gas, the fewer the profits. While we can never escape fuel costs entirely, there are things we can do to save money on gas. Cut your fuel costs with one or more of these suggestions:

1. Ensure that all your vehicles are properly maintained.

Underinflated tires, dirty oil, clogged air filters and poorly tuned engines all increase your fuel costs. By keeping your vehicle(s) well maintained, you can cut your fuel consumption by up to 10 percent according to Transport Canada – an easy way to save money on gas.

2. Consolidate your trips.

You need to go the printer’s and pick up another batch of business cards. You also need to pick up some dry-cleaning and go to the post office. Instead of making three separate trips, turn it into one trip and get it all done. Consolidating your trips takes a little planning, but is an easy and painless way to cut your fuel costs. And trip consolidation isn’t only for businesses with only one vehicle that is also driven for personal use. Even businesses that make deliveries can cut fuel costs by consolidating “groups” of deliveries or by strategies such as delivering only in certain areas on certain days.

3. Train all your drivers not to idle.

When you let your engine idle, all you're doing is unnecessarily increasing your fuel costs. Contrary to popular belief, idling is not an effective way to warm up a vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to warm up your vehicle is to drive it. Nor is idling “better” than frequently turning off and restarting your vehicle’s engine. “If you are going to be parked for more than 10 seconds, turn off the engine. Ten seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it” (Natural Resources Canada).

4. Use a block heater on cold winter days.

We all know that using a block heater when it’s cold out makes it easier to start your vehicle’s engine. But did you know that “at –20°C, block heaters can improve overall fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. For a single short trip on a cold day, fuel savings could be in the order of 20 percent”? (Natural Resources Canada). Plugging your vehicle into a block heater when it gets below 0° is another easy way to save money on gas.

5. Decrease your delivery area.

If your business involves making deliveries, decreasing your delivery area is a quick way to cut down on your fuel costs. Instead of offering free delivery within a fifty mile area, for instance, you might only offer free delivery within a twenty mile area. Another way of handling the problem of the increased cost of making deliveries is to charge a delivery fee that covers the additional cost of fuel.

6. Have your clients come to you rather than going to them.

While not possible for all businesses, changing the routine of who goes where can result in significant fuel cost savings. For example, if you offer instruction and have normally gone to clients’ homes in the past, you could offer instruction in your own home instead. If you have a suitable room and equipment for your clients’ needs, this could be an ideal solution that both cuts fuel costs and simplifies your life.

There are four more ways of saving money on gas and cutting your fuel costs on the next page, including information on hybrid cars and converting your vehicles to use alternative fuels. Click to continue reading.

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