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And the price of gas is expected to keep going down before it eventually hits bottom sometime later this year, something that could help boost the nation’s economy due to people having more money to spend on other things, according to oil industry observers.
“It is a tremendous, tremendous stimulus, unless you happen to be in the oil production or service business,” said Tom Kloza, energy analyst for the Oil Price Information Service.
When it only costs $20 to $30 to fill up your gas tank — as opposed to the $40 to $50 it costs a year ago — many people are paying less attention to their fuel usage.
Saving Fuel Builds the Bottom Line
But as any warehouse or manufacturing plant manager can tell you, every dime spent on excess fuel for forklifts takes away from bottom line. So saving money on fuel while finding ways to increase productivity is always a top priority, regardless of the price of gasoline.
Here are ten ways you can reduce your forklift’s fuel usage while increasing the productivity of your fleet:
1. Only Run Your Engine W hen You Need It — Have your drivers leave the forklift turned off until they are ready to go to work. This prevents fuel from being wasted during idling while ensuring the motor warms up as quickly as possible.
2. Maintain Constant Speeds — Sudden acceleration and braking can increase fuel consumption. Maintaining a steady speed saves gas and also helps keep maintenance costs down.
3. No Revving — Whenever possible, coast towards a stacking destination rather than revving up the forklift and putting additional strain on the engine.
4. No Sudden Stops — Decelerating smoothing by releasing the accelerator well before you need to arrive at your destination helps keep fuel consumption down.
5. No Idling — If drivers need to wait longer than one minute to load or unload a stack, have them turn the engine off rather than letting it idle. It takes about 60 seconds worth of fuel to start the forklift’s engine.
6. Check Engine Oil and Air Filter — Use the motor oil recommended for your vehicle. If you aren’t sure what that is, consult the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website. Also, change the air filter according to the factory recommendations or whenever it appears to be clogged.
7. Stay Current on Maintenance — Have your forklift serviced according to the manufacturer’s schedule to maintain optimum efficiency.
8. Check Air Tire Pressure — If your forklift has pneumatic tires, make sure they are inflated to the proper levels. Under-inflated tires increases fuel consumption and reduces the tire’s usable life. Tire pressure should be checked at least once per month.
9. Don’t Leave Vehicles Unattended — Forklifts should be turned off with their keys removed whenever they are not in use. All controls should be neutralized, brakes should be locked and forks should be loweredd.
10. Take Turns Carefully — Turns should be executed at a safe speed, especially on bends and inclines which can cause rollovers.
By paying attention to fuel consumption when prices are lower, you can ensure your drivers will be saving you money in fuel costs even after they inevitably increase.