For many people owning and running a car is a big expense, but for taxi drivers it’s even more so. From road tax and taxi insurance to maintenance and servicing costs, there are many outgoings that you’ll need to juggle if you want to stay profitable as a business.
Undoubtedly, fuel is one of the biggest expenditures you’ll have to deal with. And with petrol and diesel costs rising every day this is only likely to get worse. To help you out, the team at Taxi Insurer have compiled this list of 23 ways to save fuel.
From choosing the right vehicle for your taxi business and staying on top of maintenance to avoiding high speeds and cutting down on weight, we’ve got advice just right for you. We’ve even thrown in some advice about finding the right taxi insurance.
Being knowledgeable about how to save on fuel is obviously important when it comes to keeping your business healthy. But what’s just as essential is choosing the right taxi insurance. Whether you drive a minibus, taxi cab or car, let the team at Taxi Insurer find you a quote for the cover you need.
Why saving on fuel could be great for business?
Using less fuel will undoubtedly have a big impact on your bottom line. With unleaded petrol currently costing over £1.60 and diesel costing almost £1.80 (at the time of writing) fuel costs are taking an ever-bigger bite out of your profits. But there are other benefits besides the financial that make saving on fuel a real no-brainer.
Using less fuel is a great way to reduce your emissions, a vital part of combating climate change. While you might feel that the impact of your cab is only minimal, every little bit helps. After all, many other industries have already made steady progress towards cutting emissions. While the transport sector including taxi drivers, firms and the wider industry have lagged behind. In fact, according to government figures there’s only been a 2% decrease in transport pollution over the last 30 years.
But there’s yet another important benefit you need to consider from a business point of view. Eco-conscious customers are increasingly looking to make green choices in every area of their life and this extends to the taxis they use. No wonder Uber is offering an Uber Green option in central London. And firms like Addison Lee have promised to be electric-only in London by 2023.
When such big players are making moves like this, you can be guaranteed that there’s a strong business case to do so. Promoting yourself as an eco-friendly cab service could win you plaudits and new customers. As well as ensuring you don’t lose out to competitors who are looking to offer a greener service. It looks like the message is ‘Go green, or go home’!
So, what tips can you follow now to get started? Let’s take a look.
If you’re looking to reduce your fuel bills then finding a vehicle with high fuel economy and low emissions can have a significant impact on both fuel bills and other running costs. Studying the stats and looking at the miles per gallon figures will give you a good idea of fuel efficiency.
But bear in mind that drivers often find it difficult to achieve the ‘official’ MPG figures. So, these figures are usually best used as a comparison between vehicles rather than a target that will be achieved. Speak to other drivers and read up on car review sites to get a better idea of what the ‘real’ MPG will be in real-world conditions.
Different vehicles can have dramatically different fuel economy. Before making the investment, it’s important to research each model thoroughly.
High MPG is also directly linked to lower tail-pipe CO2 so a vehicle with good MPG will also emit a lower level of CO2 emissions into the environment. Which should lead to savings in other areas, too.
When it comes to electric and plug-in hybrid cars , it’s difficult to directly compare MPG figures as the technology is so different. However, savings on fuel is a common reason why drivers are beginning to opt for such eco-friendly choices.
If you’re wondering about the most fuel-efficient cars to potentially add to your taxi fleet (and which to avoid) then this rundown by What Car? Magazine makes for interesting reading.
Of course, changing your taxi might not always be an immediate cost-effective option. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to make eco-friendly changes to your taxi service straight away. Check out this blog from Taxi Insurer if you’re looking for pointers.
As a professional taxi driver, we know you’ll already have a handle on maintenance and will be meticulous with servicing your cab. However, it’s always worth being reminded of the importance of such tasks.
For example, topping up your oil is a great fuel-saving action. Because when there isn’t enough oil to keep the engine lubricated, more fuel will be used up to get the car moving. And, when you’re checking your oil, why not look at your air filters, too? If they’re clogged up, replace them with new ones to improve your vehicle’s performance and mileage.
When was the last time you changed your spark plugs? In fact, when was the last time you even thought about them? Dirty or faulty plugs are a common cause of fuel wastage. If you feel like you’re filling up more than you used to, then get them checked. A simple change could be the solution you’re looking for.
Not everyone is raring to go as soon as they wake up in the morning. And cars can often be like their owners in that respect. They are often at their least fuel-efficient when they’re still cold. So, if you go too hard on them straight from start-up then you’re wasting fuel. You’re also putting needless wear on the engine. Show a bit of TLC to your engine and you’ll soon start saving fuel and money.
One of the best routes to fuel-efficiency, improved road safety and a longer life for your vehicle is to ease off on the accelerator sometimes. To be as fuel-efficient as possible, car maker Toyota recommends taking five seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 15mph from a standing start. A good idea is to imagine a glass of water balanced on the dashboard. Try not to spill a drop!
Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid slamming on the brakes, but in normal conditions coasting to a stop is much better for conserving fuel. As any good driver knows, by looking ahead at how traffic is behaving, you can often see well in advance when it’s time to slow down.
Constantly increasing and decreasing your speed will use up more fuel. Consider using cruise control where conditions permit, especially if you’re doing longer airport runs on the motorway.
Keeping a safe distance between your taxi and the car in front is always a good idea. By anticipating what other road users will do next, you can keep your speed as steady as possible and use less fuel. It’s also safer!
Keeping to the speed limit doesn’t just save lives, it also saves on fuel too. Indeed, the Energy Saving Trust says cars are at their most fuel-efficient when travelling at between 55 and 65mph. Any faster, and the fuel efficiency decreases rapidly.
For example, driving at 85mph uses 40% more fuel than at 70mph. Interestingly, if you drive an electric vehicle, the increase in energy consumption at higher speeds is even greater.
Avoiding high speeds and driving safely will not only save on fuel, insurers love it, too. Who knows, you might even see a reduction in your taxi insurance premiums.
You could be wasting a surprising amount of fuel simply by waiting around in your vehicle. So, unless you’re in traffic, turn off your engine when you’re stopped for more than 60 seconds. Over the weeks and months, you could make a big saving on fuel.
Many modern cars now come with stop-start technology that cuts the engine when the car is stationary in order to save on fuel and reduce emissions. This could be a good option for you. Read this fascinating AutoCar article to find out more about the potential long-term impact of using stop-start.
As part of general vehicle maintenance, you should already be doing this, but it’s still worthy of a reminder. Driving a vehicle with under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption and significantly reduce the life of your tyres. It can also have a big impact on safety.
While once a month is usually recommended for domestic drivers, as a taxi driver you’re going to cover a lot more miles so it’s best to do so more regularly.
Pay attention to your RPM. The higher it is, the more fuel the engine is burning. The trick is to shift through the lower gears smoothly and quickly, and build up speed in the higher gears. A test conducted by Engineering Explained on its YouTube channel demonstrated that selecting the right gear could save as much as an extra 20.5mpg!
Take a look around your cab. Is there anything you’re carrying that you really don’t need? The less weight you’re lugging around, the less fuel your taxi will burn through. A simple but effective way to reduce fuel consumption.
The more streamlined your vehicle, the more fuel efficient it will be. Cut the drag and save.
Yes, according to KwikFit air conditioning does increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption. When you’re driving at lower speeds opening a window is a better option. However, at higher speeds this can cause drag so the air con is to be prefered. If you do use air conditioning, then using the re-circulate option will minimise the impact on fuel.
Many modern vehicles now come equipped with sophisticated fuel consumption displays that analyse your driving and could save you a lot of fuel. If you pay attention to them.
We all remember the recent problems when there were fuel shortages at the petrol pumps and taxi drivers were left queuing for hours to fill up. Hopefully those times are behind us. If you find yourself still topping up ‘just in case’ then you might be harming your fuel efficiency. A full tank can add a significant amount of weight to your vehicle.
Whether using the onboard computer or a handy phone app, tracking your fuel consumption and calculating your MPG is well worth the effort. Once you’ve got a good idea of your average MPG then you can work out how you can improve it.
You could even make a game of it and challenge yourself to improve your score. If you get really good at fuel efficient driving, you could save yourself hundreds or even thousands of pounds at the pump every year.
We don’t suggest driving far out of your way to save a few pence on a litre. But staying aware of fuel prices at your local petrol stations could help you save. A difference of a few pence could well be worth a short detour.
Use an online petrol prices tool to check up-to-date fuel prices near to your location. It’s a real no-brainer if you’re looking to save.
Of course, you will already be doing this! But avoiding accidents, road works and other trouble spots will not only reduce stress and make for a more pleasant driving experience. It will also help you save on fuel as you won’t be stopping and starting so often.
The best way to cut down on fuel use is to drive less. While this is obviously not an option during your working day, in your everyday life it is certainly possible. Here are a few tips to reduce time spent driving when you’ve finished work for the day.
Taxi companies committed to being eco-friendly will become more common over the years. As both drivers and passengers begin to say enough is enough when it comes to environmental damage.
Joining such a company means a lot of the hard work will already have been done for you. Or at least they’ll be able to give you plenty of guidance. Cutting fuel consumption and being more sustainable are both hallmarks of an eco-friendly taxi business.
And if there’s not one near you, then maybe you could be the first in your area. Turning your own business into an eco-friendly firm could see you get well ahead of the competition in this important area. As well as fuel savings you’ll also enjoy the feel-good factor and extra satisfaction from your work knowing it’s having a positive effect on the planet.
Shout about your eco-friendly credentials on your marketing materials and it may even bring in new custom.
Here at Taxi Insurer, as well as arranging taxi insurance, we can also provide cover for your whole taxi fleet if you do decide to expand your business in this way.
So, what do you think of our ultimate list of ways to save fuel while working as a taxi driver? There must be some top tips that we’ve missed. So, please let us know!
As taxi insurance specialists, we know how hard it is to juggle all your competing responsibilities. That’s why we give you so many benefits:
We also give you the ability to pay in instalments, making it easier to manage your insurance alongside your other business expenses.
Don’t delay – when it comes to insurance cover there’s no better time than now.
Get a quick quote for taxi insurance and protect your vehicles today.