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Saving fuel and money in vehicles

Posted 11/30/2012   Updated 11/30/2012 Email story   Print story


by By David Heaton
377th Logistics Readiness Squadron

11/30/2012 - KIRTLAND AFB, N.M. -- On Oct. 5, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514, setting sustainability goals for federal agencies, focused on improving environmental, energy and economic performance. One of the goals of this EO is to achieve a 30 percent reduction in vehicle fleet petroleum use (fossil fuel) by 2020.

The 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron has taken several actions over the past few years to ensure Team Kirtland is compliant. We've added E-85 fuel pumps - 85 percent of the fuel dispensed is non-fossil fuel; dispensing gasohol, which is 10 percent non-fossil fuel based; dispensing B-20 diesel, which is 20 percent non-fossil fuel based; and adding five gas/electric hybrid vehicles to the 377th Air Base Wing's vehicle fleet.

Below are some important tips from the 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron's Vehicle Management Flight that will help Team Kirtland comply with the EO. These practices may also save you money when operating your personal vehicles.

1. Eliminate unnecessary idling of vehicles. Unnecessary idling increases fuel consumption, fuel costs, engine wear, maintenance costs and emissions.

2. Reduce unnecessary trips. Trips should be consolidated to the maximum extent possible, to reduce miles and hours vehicles are operated.

3. Efficiency is important. When operators have a choice of which vehicle to use, they should choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle available to accomplish mission. Smaller vehicles/smaller engines tend to get better fuel mileage.

4. Keep a close eye on tire pressure. Fleet tire pressures should be maintained to meet manufacturer specification to conserve fuel and increase tire life.

5. Remove excess weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce miles per gallon by up to 2 percent. The mileage reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight, and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

6. Observe the speed limit. Different vehicles reach optimal fuel economy at different speeds. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional 27 cents per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is also safer.

7. Drive carefully and sensibly. Aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking, wastes gas and is not safe. It can also lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving saves gas money and it can save your life.

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