Top tips to maximise your van’s fuel efficiency

Whether you’re a fleet driver, a small business owner or an independent tradesman, you’ll know that fuel makes up one of your single biggest expenses when out on the road. Therefore, fuel efficiency is often going to be a top priority, and one of the first things we find that customers generally consider when looking for the best new van deals. Happily, there are actually plenty of ways to reduce it, and by quite a surprising amount too. Here are some of the best ways to do it!

Preparing your van for the journey

Before you get behind the wheel, it’s worth making things as easy for yourself as you can when you’re actually out on the roads. You should look at whether you can:

Remove excess weight

As a well-known retailer is fond of saying, every little counts. With a van full of tools, ladders and other equipment you need to do the job, shedding weight is often easier said than done, but the statistics say it’s worth a try. If you manage to reduce just 45kg, you could improve your van’s fuel economy by up to 1%. It might not seem like much, but the savings add up over time! Things like roof racks should be removed if you’re not using them (and you’re not planning to), as they can increase drag on your van, ultimately costing you more fuel.

Get real-time traffic updates so that you can avoid long queues

Nobody likes sitting waiting in traffic, but it’s a particular nightmare if you’re trying to save fuel, as the constant start-stop movement uses it up at a rapidly increased rate. However, traffic mobile apps such as Google Maps appear to be steadily replacing traditional satellite navigation, often offering real-time traffic updates that make it easier (though not always possible) to avoid long queues.


As you might expect, this is where the majority of your fuel-saving will be done. Making all the preparations in the world won’t be enough to save you fuel if you don’t drive sensibly along with it. In particular, you need to:

Drive carefully

This might seem like a given, but bear with us. Specifically, we mean accelerating gently, and don’t slam on the brakes. According to experts, aggressively accelerating or braking can use up to 60% more fuel. Instead, you should give yourself plenty of time to get up to speed, and try coasting to a stop rather than stamping on the brakes at the last second. (As an extra bonus, this obviously makes it a lot easier to avoid accidents.)

Keep your speed steady

For broadly the same reasons, keeping a steady speed will help you to conserve fuel. Getting yourself to the job site at top speed might be a tempting course of action, but it’s far more economical in the long run to give yourself more time to get there, and keeping within the optimum driving speeds of between 55mph – 65mph.

Try to avoid idling

As we touched upon above, this may be more feasible in some circumstances than others. In traffic, for example, it’s more or less impossible. If you’re quickly stopping outside an address, however, letting your vehicle idle for over a minute burns up more fuel than turning it off and then restarting it. In other words, if you’re there for longer than sixty seconds, switch the engine off. It only takes a few extra seconds, and your wallet will eventually thank you!

Use the terrain

You can even use the slopes and inclines of the road to your advantage here. The gravity and momentum of driving downhill, for example, can save you a bit of fuel on the acceleration, while sharp inclines can equally save you some trouble on braking. Obviously though you shouldn’t do this at all costs – you’ll need to make sure it’s safe to do so!

Extra steps you can take

Optimise your temperature control

Heavy use of your van’s air conditioning can end up having a noticeable knock on effect on your fuel efficiency, so if you can bear going without it, it’s worth giving it a try. When driving at over 55mph, it’s actually more fuel-efficient to cool down the cabin by opening a window (although you’ll need to make sure you don’t have any loose paperwork or receipts floating about!). Driving at under 55mph though, say on residential roads, the air conditioning is more fuel efficient. Strange but true!

Keep your tyres inflated

Your tyres have more of an effect on your fuel efficiency than you might think. There’s a lot of science behind it but in a nutshell, well-inflated tyres reduce the amount of drag that your engine has to overcome. In fact, keeping your tyres up to standard can improve your mileage by up to 3.3%. If you’re on the hunt for new van deals, it’s worth knowing that some newer commercial vans feature a pressure monitoring system than enables you to keep easier tabs on them. And if you’ve got the spare capital, it may even be worth investing in Low Rolling Resistance Tyres, which do exactly what they say on the tin.


Have your van serviced regularly

This one is hardly a secret, but definitely worth us highlighting anyway. If your van isn’t working at its optimum performance, your fuel efficiency will be one of the first things to suffer. Therefore, it’s wise to book it in for regular inspections so that professional mechanics can take a look at the tyres (there they are again), the air filters, and carry out any oil changes and essential maintenance.

There’s another reason to keep a close eye on your fuel efficiency; serious deficiencies in your fuel efficiency might be a sign that your van is well past its prime. And if you’re looking for cheap new van deals, there’s no better place than right here at Van Discount. We stock a huge range of vans from leading manufacturers such as Ford, Peugeot and Citroen, so if you’re looking for new van deals, look no further. Feel free to take a look through our site, or give us a call on 01282 872 530 if you have any questions or need any advice. We’re here to help!