School buses worldwide need gallons of fuel annually to run efficiently. From picking up students through different points to dropping them back, school buses consume a significant amount of fuel every day.
Therefore, it’s important to take care of the fuel efficiency in order to ensure a smoother run of the buses.
Several bus operators have started using a school bus monitoring system to examine the fuel economy ensuring trouble-free transportation.
In this detailed blog, we have listed down some common but important traits that fuel-efficient school buses share.
1. The Condition of the Tires
Having good quality and long lasting tires in a school bus is crucial for making fuel consumption more efficient. This is because the buses have to drive through some rough roads and if the quality of the tires isn’t good, it would affect fuel efficiency.
In order to drive smoothly through the rough roads, the tires must be inflated properly. Under or over-inflated tires can decrease the fuel efficiency and economy, that can eventually decrease the lifespan of the tires.
2. Bus Driving Behavior
The way a bus driver handles the bus on roads is another important factor determining the fuel efficiency. Around 30% of the fuel efficiency of the bus depends on driving behavior. Drivers who follow proper acceleration and idling rules often result in maximizing fuel efficiency for their vehicles.
With every hour an engine is idle, the fuel efficiency and economy are reduced by almost a percent. To avoid that, you can install an idle shutdown timer on the bus that will help you reduce idling time and increase the efficiency of the fuel.
Maintaining an even speed limit by the drivers after ignition improved the engine efficiency that directly affects the fuel economy. If the engine is operated below an ideal range level, it can build up carbon and reduce fuel efficiency.
Another aspect of improving fuel efficiency by bus drivers is applying brakes properly. Frequent braking affects fuel efficiency in a negative way. So it’s important to maintain proper speed and apply brake only when it’s needed.
3. Axle Alignment
Aligning axle properly adds to the fuel economy and efficiency. Misalignment could lead to wear and tear of the bus tires and could decrease the fuel economy by 0.6%.
4. Synthetic Lubricants
Using synthetic lubricants on the axle and transmission help to enhance fuel economy by 1%. Also, it increased the drain interval.
At lower air temperature synthetic lubricants can flow better than mineral oils and work efficiently in these temperature conditions. Though, take proper care to not exceed the levels as this can reduce fuel efficiency.
5. Correct Specifications
Fuel efficiency thoroughly depends on correct component specifications that needs to be specified while purchasing the school buses. The school management may take the help of tech experts to install the proper components that would add to the fuel efficiency.
Here are a few steps to follow:
Select a fuel-efficient engine and always buy the latest engine models.
Use the fuel economy mode and it will enhance efficiency by 5%. Also, use the shift energy management retarders.
Combine these energy management systems with improved torque delivery to improve the fuel efficiency of school buses.
6. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
Hybrid Electric Vehicles are more fuel efficient in contrast to their non-electrical contenders. The fuel efficiency in HEVs can also be improved by as much as 50-60% if the technology is selected smartly.
7. Using Latest Diesel Engines
Undoubtedly, diesel is the most cost-efficient fuel used by bus engines. And the 21st-century diesel engines are far better than that of 1980s-90s.
As compared to any other natural gas resource, diesel provides better economy.
Several old buses are being revamped by fitting the latest engines as the techniques have been improved over the past few years. Also, diesel engines provide 25-30% of added mileage that improves the fuel efficiency.
8. The frequency of Gear Changes:
Avoid changing gears frequently. Keep an in-depth knowledge of routes and traffic to reduce the number of gear changes. The less you shift the bus gears, the less will be the fuel consumption.
9. Proper Use of Air Conditioners:
If the school bus is fully air-conditioned, use it in an ideal way and only when necessary. Overusing air conditioners in the bus may increase fuel consumption, thus decreasing the fuel efficiency.
10. Proper Maintenance:
Do a timely servicing of the bus. Proper and regular maintenance will improve its mileage and make your bus more fuel-efficient.
11. Speed Limit:
Limit the speed of your bus in the economy range. The higher your speed the more will be the fuel consumption and lesser will be the fuel economy.
12. Check Battery Cables:
Examine the battery cables of your bus from time to time. If the cables are corroded, replace those to make sure that the alternator works better and improves fuel efficiency.
13. Drive Through the Shortest Routes:
You can reach the same destination in many ways. Take the route that’s optimal and needs the lesser amount of driving by the use of less amount of fuel.
Improving the fuel efficiency of your school bus should be a priority.
Keep the above points in mind when your school bus is moving on the roads.
With improved fuel efficiency comes the improved safety of the bus and definitely the students.
School Bus fleet management software is absolutely necessary since it has a major role in improving transportation productivity & routing.