What is the diesel consumption per mile of trucks?

Despite the fuel’s poor reputation and the decline in sales of diesel passenger vehicles, in the world of trucks, diesel continues to be king.

While there are several reasons for this, perhaps the most important is that a commercial vehicle that has to shift tens of tonnes on the motorway needs power: lots of power.

This is why, for now, diesel engines are winning.

Leaving aside the cost of the fuel and the miles that a diesel can run compared to a petrol vehicle with the same number of litres in its tank (another advantage of diesel), diesel vehicles also have greater longevity and longer service life.

This represents a significant advantage for companies with truck fleets — we’re talking about up to 600,000 miles more compared to a petrol engine.

Although other options may become available in the future, such as liquefied natural gas, which some experts say could end up leaving diesel behind, the reality is that today, companies with commercial vehicles are still opting for diesel.

The same goes for the manufacturers, who offer few alternatives.

Data on fuel consumption of trucks

So, what is the diesel consumption per mile of trucks?

As you’d expect, it depends on its size and load, as well as whether it carries out its journeys through urban or interurban environments. Let’s settle on an average of around 30 or 40 litres of diesel every 62 miles. For larger trucks with a payload of around 23.5 tonnes, the consumption can increase up to 38 litres per 62 miles. Smaller vehicles and those with a smaller load consume less. A small truck with a payload of around 16 tonnes uses around 25 litres of diesel per 62 miles.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the average Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HGV) with a payload of 26 tonnes would achieve a fuel consumption of 30 litres every 62 miles. A HGV can expect to achieve annual mileage of 74,500 per year, with an annual fuel expenditure of over £36,400.

Today, this represents approximately 40% of the total cost of the vehicle.

What factors affect a vehicle’s fuel consumption?

The 4 factors with the biggest impact on a truck’s fuel efficiency are:

Frequency of acceleration

In the same way as a private car, a truck driving at a constant speed on a motorway (without roadworks and without traffic difficulties) will consume proportionally less than a truck that accelerates, decelerates or changes gear on a national or departmental road or on an urban route.

The accumulation of positive gradients

The more hills a truck climbs, the more its engine speed is used, resulting in higher fuel consumption.

The vehicle’s gross vehicle weight (GVW)

The heavier and more heavily loaded a vehicle is, the more fuel it will consume. Research suggests that every 10% increase in gross weight can result in a 5% increase in fuel consumption. When applied to a fleet the financial loss could be substantial. Therefore, it is essential for fleet managers to pay close attention to optimise fuel efficiency and reduce costs.

Vehicle aerodynamics

Heavy Goods Vehicles are large and lack the aerodynamic features that cars are designed with to reduce drag. It is not operationally efficient to reduce the size of the HGV to combat its increased drag. However, the UK government has introduced legislation to permit the use of aerodynamic features on all lorries. A 2013 study found that aerodynamic improvements were estimated to result in a 7% to 15% saving in fuel.

How can the consumption of a truck be reduced?

With the telematics solutions offered by Webfleet, you have access to historical and real-time data on your fleet’s fuel consumption. You can evaluate and compare historical fuel consumption and CO2 emissions with the corresponding dashboards and reports.

With a driver performance assessment tool such as OptiDrive 360, it is easy to determine whether your drivers need coaching and training to improve their eco-driving habits.

What about vans?

Vans are a case apart, since there is more choice and even electric models to address the delivery of goods within cities.

However, because of their smaller size and load, their diesel consumption is also reduced, averaging only about 11 litres per 62 miles.

If you would like to see how you can reduce the fuel costs of your fleet, please visit our Webfleet savings calculator.

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