5 ways to save on fuel costsNovember 2, 2021
Fuel is one of the costliest expenditures for your fleet, accounting for around a third of a typical fleet’s operating costs. However, just because the numbers are large doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about them.
Improving your fuel economy offers several financial and environmental advantages, but it’s not easy to know what adjustments to make in order to reduce your fuel costs. Fortunately, saving a few bucks at the pump isn’t difficult or time-consuming. Make every gallon count with these five cost-per-mile-cutting methods.
Know Your Fleet
It’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of your whole fleet, including vehicle utilisation and health, driver performance, customer satisfaction, operational processes and spending, as well as fleet regulations. When it comes to identifying the reasons behind current fuel spending, it is important to focus on the bigger picture.
Ask yourself questions like:
● What are the ideal vehicle types and fleet size for your operations without over or under utilising your fleet?
● How is your fleet uptime and are you keeping track on how much fuel is used per trip for each driver?
Each fleet is different, so understanding what you do and how these processes can be improved will help you gain greater fuel economy.
Monitor Driver Behaviour
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory stated in a new study that driver behaviour is by far the most important factor in improving fuel efficiency. According to the survey, the difference in fuel usage between a good driver and a bad driver can be as high as 35%.
Fuel usage is affected by speeding, braking and acceleration patterns. With telematics-enabled fleet tracking systems, you can help your drivers improve their driving techniques. If you’re having trouble convincing your drivers to support the cause of fuel efficiency, consider the safe-driving approach. Driving habits that are more environmentally friendly are also generally safer. To discourage drivers from rushing due to lateness, make sure your delivery or service windows give enough time for transportation.
Avoid Unnecessary Weight
An additional 100 pounds in a car may increase fuel costs by up to $0.03 per gallon. While this may not seem to be a big amount, accumulating these expenditures from hundreds or thousands of gallons used over the course of a year may add up to a considerable amount.
To optimise weight carried per vehicle, maintain vehicle clearance except for essential items or equipment, and never load up more weight than is needed for each trip. Other than reducing vehicle loads, you can also consider more fuel-efficient vehicles that are lighter in weight with smaller (hence, lighter) engines if you are looking to purchase or lease new vehicles.
Regularly Check Tire Pressure
According to research by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, under-inflated tires considerably reduce a car’s average gas efficiency. Vehicles with tires filled at 75% of the recommended pressure level use up to 3% more fuel, while vehicles with tires inflated at 50% of the recommended pressure level use up to 10% more fuel.
A simple conduct of daily vehicle walk-around checks for tire problems such as under-inflation will help prevent these hidden costs as well as accidents caused by tire problems. Making tire pressure a mandatory aspect of every driver’s pre-trip safety check is a good idea. Using a vehicle tire-pressure monitoring system can help with tire checks, but it’s always recommended to conduct visual inspections as a precaution in case the system has missed something.
Manage Your Vehicles’ Maintenance
Keeping your vehicles in top condition can help you save money on fuel. Whenever a vehicle breaks down, it will lead to additional trips to make up for the downtime on top of expensive vehicle repairs. Ensuring your vehicles are serviced and maintained in a timely manner will prevent such last-minute breakdowns and emergency repair costs.
While monitoring your vehicles’ health may seem an easy task, it isn’t always the case when your fleet managers are busy with fleet dispatch and you have numerous vehicles to manage with different maintenance schedules and issues to track. For such situations, consider using a fleet monitoring system to help your fleet managers keep track of vehicle health with ease and never miss another important servicing date.
It goes without saying that keeping track of your fuel costs is important. Fuel fraud is also more common than you think, and you should always investigate if you find inconsistencies in vehicle mileage or sudden spikes in fuel expenditures. Using a fleet monitoring system will alert you of any unusual fuel costs, allowing you to conduct quick and efficient investigations to figure out what’s going on.
Lastly, consider the vehicle types in your fleet – switching to alternative fuel options such as electric or hybrid vehicles can give you significant cost savings with no performance loss.