Tips to Reduce Fuel Consumption as Diesel Prices Climb

Jordanne Waldschmidt Headshot
Updated Jul 6, 2022
diesel and gas fuel pump at a gas station
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Depending on what part of the country you live in, it will cost you about $400 to fuel up a mid-size excavator these days.

As of June 1, diesel nationwide is, on average, $5.53 a gallon. That’s a 74% increase from just a year ago, according to AAA.  

Between high demand, low supply, and hurricane season, which can shut down refineries, many economists predict that fuel prices will climb even higher this summer.   

Small tweaks to the way you operate and maintain your construction equipment can help preserve fuel and add up to big savings. Steve Nendick, marketing communications director for Cummins, shares tips to minimize fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions:

Follow proper maintenance schedules: Following the recommended maintenance schedules is critical in ensuring that the equipment gives optimum performance. Poorly maintained machines will use more fuel for the same amount of work than a well maintained one. Preventive maintenance saves fuel costs and major repairs in the long term, maximizing the productivity and life of the engine.

Use the right fuel and oil: Follow the OEM’s recommendations for the correct fluids. Keeping them at the required levels will ensure the performance of the machine stays within specification. Additional checks on tire air pressure and air filter cleanliness are also important for optimal fuel efficiency.

Minimize idling: Idling wastes fuel, however efficient the engine is. If machines are left idling for a long time this will increase emissions as well as costs. It can also impact the engine life, with unnecessary wear on components. If the machines have timed idle shutoff or stop-start capability, this should be switched on. Cummins offers both these features on Stage V engines.

Avoid quick acceleration: Machines should be driven at a consistent speed with windows open for optimal performance.

Use trained operators: Having trained people who can operate machinery at their optimal levels will maximize fuel efficiency and reduce potential damage to the unit. Poorly trained staff will likely be more aggressive when using the machine, increasing fuel consumption. As telematics capability develops, the data gathered will be able to help improve operator training.

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Monitor your machines: Where machines come with monitoring facilities, analyzing their data can help reduce fuel consumption. Monitoring also helps to detect potential service problems in advance and reduce repair costs and downtime. Cummins Guidanz supports this capability on electronic engines.

Pick the right machine for the job: Right-sizing your equipment for the project not only improves daily productivity, but it also saves you in fuel consumption. Properly pair your machines that are working together on the jobsite for maximum efficiency.

Select the proper work mode: Some machines offer different work modes, including an eco mode, to lower engine rpms while balancing power. By reducing excessive acceleration, less fuel is burned.