5 ways to Save on Fuel and Lower Costs

29th March 2024

Fuel prices have been on the rise for years now. While prices are no longer as high as they were in early 2022, fuel prices never fully recovered. They now stand on average 50 cents per litre higher than before the jump and are a real threat to your bottom line. So let’s look at some fuel-saving tips.

The most obvious answer is switching to an all-electric fleet, and cutting out fuel entirely. But of course, that’s easier said than done, and your fleet isn’t overhauled in a single day. You need actionable advice and solutions now. Solutions that don’t require investing in multiple new refrigeration units now, but rather focus on small additions to your fleet that are inegrated easily. You need to find ways to Max Your Cool.  Keep reading to discover some new ways to save money.

1. Additional battery packs

Many units on the market these days are hybrid, meaning they can be powered both by diesel and electric power. For many, that means relying on the alternator to transfer energy from the vehicle’s engine to the unit. However, this does mean your vehicle’s engine has to work harder, which leads to increased fuel consumption. 

You can bypass this problem by investing in additional battery packs. Thermo King offers the [Energ-E pack] for trailers and the [e-coolpac] for trucks. You can charge battery packs with shore power, and power your refrigeration units without petrol or diesel fuel. 

2. Plan your routes

Another great way to lower your fuel costs is by optimizing your routes. Not every route will be as efficient as the others, and identifying routes that take deep bites out of your fuel budget is critical to keeping costs down.

However, before you can do that, you need to gather and analyze data on your delivery routes. Thanks to Thermo King’s [Connected Solutions], you can track your vehicles, the fuel consumption, and the performance of the refrigeration unit and replay their journey afterwards, looking for points of weakness.

Armed with this knowledge, you can take steps to optimize routes in the future – and even suss out underperforming units for preventative repairs.

3. Protect your alternator with solar panels 

Thirdly, a source of fuel use that often flies under the radar: your accessories. Or rather, the impact those accessories have on your vehicle’s battery. A lot of these accessories require electrical power, which means your batteries get drained at a higher rate. This can mean you have to run the engine and burn fuel even when your vehicle is stationary – just to keep the batteries charged. 

With the [ThermoLite Solar Panels], your alternator won’t have to run just to charge your batteries. The solar panels make sure your batteries stay topped up, and powered by sustainable solar energy. Your alternator gets a break, your fuel costs go down by up to 23%. And as a bonus, you keep your batteries in top condition!

4.  Reach setpoint faster after stops

One of the main culprits of increased fuel consumption in transport refrigeration is door openings. With every opening, cold air escapes your trailer, and warm air is let in. That means your refrigeration unit has to work harder to pull back down to temperature and in turn, consume more fuel.

Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem. [Energy curtains] reduce your cargo’s exposure to ambient temperature by up to 95%. This helps keep the cold air in, which means there is significantly less temperature loss. Your unit doesn’t have to work as hard to get back to setpoint, saving you up to 7 litres of fuel per day.

5. Avoid extra runtime

You can also save fuel by simply turning off the unit during deliveries. After all, this is like running the air conditioning with the windows open. And if you’ve installed an energy curtain there is even less reason to keep the refrigeration unit door on.

Thermo King’s [Door Switch] automatically switches off your cooling unit when a door opens, and turns it back on when the door closes. It might seem trivial for fast deliveries or short trips. However, for longer deliveries – such as supermarkets and restaurants – door switches can significantly lower your fuel bill.

6. Invest in alternative power sources

Even if going full-electric is not an option for your fleet, there are still a lot of alternative power sources available to up your fleet’s sustainability. Contact your local dealer for more information!

Looking for more ways to save on costs? Thermo King’s Max Your Cool offering has all the performance-enhancing services and solutions you need to take your fleet performance to the next level. Discover the full portfolio here.