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Operation

The way you operate your vehicle affects its fuel economy and emissions

The way a vehicle is driven, loaded and maintained can significantly influence its emissions. The way a vehicle is allocated and used within a fleet context, too, affects the total emissions for a given transport task.

Undertake basic maintenance that will improve your vehicle's efficiency

  • Establish a routine for maintenance, including scheduled servicing, checking tyre inflation, oils, fluids, filters, etc.
  • For business purposes, consider testing your diesel vehicle’s emissions performance, as an emissions test for diesel vehicles may satisfy Fuel Tax Credit eligibility and can help highlight any performance issues.
  • Refer to the fact sheet Maintenance and Tyres for more information

Use the 5 key Ecodriving techniques

  • Avoid unnecessary idling;
  • Look up, plan ahead and mind the gap between your vehicle and the one in front;
  • Drive smoothly: keep a steady speed, accelerate slowly and brake gently;
  • Use ancillary loads, such as air conditioning, efficiently; and 
  • Change up through the gears quickly and drive with a low RPM.

Refer to the Fact Sheet page for more detailed Ecodriving information.

Pay attention to the weight carried by your vehicle and its aerodynamics

Weight is particularly relevant when it comes to stop-start driving, such as in urban traffic, but the faster a vehicle travels, the more critical aerodynamics become.

Remove excess weight from your vehicle

  • When buying, leasing or renting a vehicle, match it to your needs. Don’t choose an oversized vehicle.
  • Remove unnecessary loads from the vehicle, e.g. tool boxes, golf clubs and other portable equipment.
  • Evenly distribute the weight over the axles to help maintain equal contact with the road. This may help to reduce overall rolling resistance.
  • Tyres should be inflated to the correct pressure and rated for the load being carried. Heavy loads and touring may require you to adjust tyre pressure. 

Reducing drag – light vehicles

  • Remove protruding accessories such as roof racks, bike racks and towing mirrors when not in use. If the entire unit can't be removed, you may be able to take off any cross bars to reduce the frontal area, which causes drag.
  • Store rooftop luggage boxes when not required.
  • When using racks, place items on the roof so that the smallest face of the pieces face forward. Lowering the front facing area reduces drag.
  • Ideally, the leading face of additional loads or racks will be streamlined. Flat faces increase aerodynamic drag for a given frontal area.
  • When driving on the highway / freeway keep windows rolled up to reduce drag.
  • At higher speeds using the air conditioner for comfort is likely to be more fuel efficient.

Refer to the fact sheet Aerodynamics and Loading for more information.

If you manage a fleet, aim to

  • Select different vehicles that match your driving task, rather than a single vehicle type specified for your maximum need;
  • Match trip requirements to the vehicle’s capacity. There is no advantage in allocating a large off-road vehicle for one person’s short trip across the suburbs; and 
  • Monitor your vehicle and fleet’s performance over time. This will enable you to quickly and accurately identify the outcomes of your allocation methods.

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