Diesel prices along with the vehicle purchase price and the workforce costs are the most significant expenses in taxi transportation business. In fact the diesel consumption is the biggest part of the expenses. I believe that any driver may find the information below interesting and useful.
In Europe in general prices of diesel are lower than gas prices. If the gas prices are below the diesel prices, the difference is low in comparison to the savings on the diesel car mileage. Diesel cars are usually more cost effective when you drive more than 20000 Kms a year. As a taxi driver you should drive at least 50000 Kms a year. As long as you are not providing super expensive business class limousine service, it is very unlikely that you could drive less than 40000 Kms and make enough money. It is important to know, that customers who are looking for limousine services are very likely to prefer gas/petrol engines. The main reason for such a preference is the quiet running of the engine and almost instant heating during cold winters. We at Martin’s Transfers drive approximately 80000 Kms a year on a single vehicle. Of course not all the driving is done by a single driver.
There is an exception when gas engine car can be run cheaper than diesel, it is the LPG, CNG or hybrid car. However LPG and CNG are limited with no underground parking / indoor public parking access, smaller baggage space and also all three are more or less limited by the options to get diesel/refill the battery (or not having the option to have a spare tire). As long as you specialize in transportation within the city and your main business is not the airport transfers, you might think about getting LPG, CNG or a hybrid. I personally do not recommend the hybrid. If you plan to provide intercity transportation and long distance driving, you will definitely benefit from having a diesel car.
It is also important to mention that diesel cars allow much longer period in the oil changing. Remember that every time you are in a garage, you can not do your taxi job!
How to save real money on diesel expenses?
- Do not drive to only get diesel. Always remember that your only income comes from driving for money. If you have to drive to get diesel, you are wasting. Try to get diesel when the station is on your way. Whether it is way home or way to town it does not matter, but do not go from home just to get a full tank and then return back home.
- Avoid expensive fuel stations. There are huge differences in diesel prices in big cities, busy highways and smaller roads and villages. Big cities and highways are usually 10 – 15% more expensive. Of course you can find big differences in different parts of the city. In Prague the cheapest gas stations are around Bohdalec area, Cerny Most and Uhrineves. The most reasonable rates are offered by Lukoil.
- Try to find out diesel prices before your drive. Let us say that you have a planned ride to Munich from Prague, try to figure out where to tank on the way, do not get diesel randomly. There is only one reasonable station directly on the highway and that is Lukoil, however there are plenty other just 2 – 3 Kms away from the highway where you can get diesel 2 CZK per liter cheaper than on the D5 highway. E.g. the OMV station in Rozvadov just at the start of the town.
- Try not to tank in foreign countries when you are a subject of the VAT payment. It is difficult to get the VAT from foreign countries, whilst it is extremely simple to get the VAT refund if your business is registered in the Czech Republic. You can lose 21%. Even though the diesel in Austria is cheaper than in the Czech Republic, you still save, if you tank here.
- Get a deal with each distribution company or get a discount pay card from your bank. We use the distributor’s cards.
- Get good tires. Each producer is obliged to enclose the energy efficiency vignette with the tires. Getting the class C or E is a difference of 0.3 liter of diesel per 100 Kms. The difference between class A and G, the best and the worst is approximately 0.6 l per 100 Kms. The purchase price difference is usually not dependent on the energy efficiency. Secondly always maintain correct pressure in the tires. Too soft tires can dramatically increase mileage, too much of pressure can result in decreased comfort for the passengers as well as higher risk of tire defect. Also have a look at the breaking distance factor, the difference between each point is about 6 meters. The measuring is done on stopping a car from 80 Km/h speed to zero. Difference is about 6 meters per each point. A is the shortest, where G can have the breaking distance even 30 meters longer.
- The most important about the diesel consumption is the right size and power of the engine. People tend to claim that the smaller engine the better. But it is not correct. The same myth is bound to the maximum power of the engine. E.g. BMW 3.0 liter 180 kW / 244 HP’s is less efficient than same size engine, but with 190 kW / 258 HP’s. The difference in mileage is 5.5/9.0!!!/6.8 vs. 4.9/6.8/5.6 liters (out of city / in the city / combined). According to my experience the best engine power is around 120 – 140 kW.
A few tips how to save money on driving a diesel car – the driver’s skills
- Think and concentrate when driving. If you can predict the traffic lights or other driver’s movement you do not need to accelerate or slow down. Each time you have to step on gas or break pedal, you are wasting diesel.
- Do not use cruise control all the way. Cruise control automatically controls the speed. If you are descending, the taxi speed is getting limited by the computer. When you are approaching a hill, it is better to accelerate and gain speed before actually starting climbing upwards. The cruise control will start late and more diesel will be required to keep the pace.
- Do use manual gearbox or semiautomatic mode on automatic gearboxes. The computer can not predict your behaviour. As long as you focus and plan your driving, you can maintain significantly better mileage. Definitely let the automatic gearbox work when you get tired or can not fully concentrate (which should not be happening at all!).
- Do not hurry. The figure is simple: Higher speed = Higher mileage. The best speed is around 90 – 100 Kms per hour. If you are driving on a freeway with speed limit 130 Km per hour, do not exceed the speed limit. Each 10 Kms over the limit are equal to approximately extra 1 liter on mileage. Where the time saving of higher speed is negligible. If you are driving back home after you dropped your client off from Berlin to Prague for example, go even less than 130 Kms per hour. You can save a few liters on each 100 Kms. As the drive is 380 Kms the extra savings can be significant.
- Diesel is not the only factor that affects the expenses in the taxi business and in fact all driving in general. Always try to be efficient. Do not use breaks as long as you can slow down with the power of your engine. Try not to use the air condition when you are driving just by yourself. Your taxi does not only need more diesel, but also the air condition filling needs to be replaced more often, when you use A/C all time.
- Be a matured driver, do not race with others. On the other hand you can challenge other drivers in your taxi company to compete for better mileage results.
If you have any ideas how to save money in the taxi business, feel free to share in comments below or come to our facebook page!