Runcorn-based luxury coach company Anthony’s Travel is trialling FuelActive’s floating fuel pick-up system, as part of a drive to cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions across the fleet. The family-owned business, which operates 15 coaches throughout the North West and beyond, is committed to reducing its environmental impact, with the whole fleet already meeting the latest Euro 6 emissions standards.
The two companies were introduced when Cardiff-based FuelActive joined the Road Haulage Association (RHA), of which it is now a Gold Member. Anthony’s Travel director Richard Bamber is a member of the RHA’s Northern Regional Council and he was keen to hear more about the innovative fuel pick-up system, which has been proven to save operators up to 5% in fuel consumption. Given the rapidly rising cost of diesel over the past few months, all operators are looking to reduce consumption.
“Over the years we’ve had the promise of additives offering extra fuel economy and performance, but none have really achieved anything,” said Mr Bamber. “Better mpg will be a key point for us.”
There is a secondary benefit to the FuelActive system, as the floating pick-up pipe ensures that only clean diesel is taken from the tank, avoiding any contamination or water that may have collected at the bottom of the tank. This reduces the risk of the engine using contaminated fuel, which can lead to additional costly fuel filter changes and more regular service work, or in the worst case vehicle breakdowns.
“One coach in particular, we’ve had a lot of issues with contamination,” said Mr Bamber. “But the increased efficiency in fuel consumption is our main target.”
The company is initially installing the FuelActive system on two of its vehicles, including the coach that has experienced fuel contamination in the past. Fuel consumption and service requirements will be closely monitored over a 3-6 month period, with the company assessing fuel used per km travelled and driver feedback.
Due to the nature of the business, with multiple varying journeys and a wide range of customer requirements, it would not be possible to continually drive over the same routes, or with an identical load on board. However, Mr Bamber is confident that any fuel economy improvement will be easy to track. Given that the business currently consumes around 24,000 litres of diesel each month, any saving is going to be very well received.
As important as the potential financial savings are though, he is equally concerned about reducing exhaust emissions. The amount of carbon dioxide that a vehicle emits is directly related to the fuel consumed. A reduction in fuel use has a direct correlation on emissions produced. One litre of diesel corresponds to 2.68kg of CO2, so a 5% reduction in fuel use will potentially cut the company’s carbon footprint by more than 3,200kg of CO2 each month.
“If we can see a long-term improvement in mpg and more efficient running of the vehicles, that will be a big success,” said Mr Bamber.
The FuelActive pick-up is easily installed, with a new entry cut into the top of the fuel tank and the fuel sender hose moved across. Installation times on the coaches is around 45 minutes per vehicle. With no change to the fuel line or engine, the installation has no effect on the vehicle warranty, while FuelActive guarantees the installation for five years.
“Unlike standard fuel stack pipes that draw fuel from the bottom, FuelActive’s innovative floating fuel pick-up system always draws fuel from the top,” said Paul Allera, RHA technical director.
“This means the cleanest fuel is always delivered, ensuring a clean burn, resulting in reduced carbon emissions and a positive effect on mpg. There’s no magic switch over, where at a flick diesel will transform to a zero-emission vehicle, it will be a gradual process, so anything that can reduce emissions has to be beneficial”.
The two companies will carry out their first inspection of data in August, at the three-month point. If necessary, the trial will continue until November, to build a more complete picture of the vehicles’ performance.