A Guide to Efficient Fleet Fuel Management
As a professional in the driving industry, you know the importance of fuel efficiency when it comes to operating a fleet—after all, even a slight increase in the efficiency of your fuel management can positively benefit your bottom line. However, it can often be challenging to stay on top of driver behavior and fuel costs.
So, where do you start, and are there any key identifiers or metrics you should look out for and focus on?
This article will cover the importance of fuel and fleet management, how to manage fleet fuel costs, and strategies to optimize fuel efficiency. Keep reading to learn more.
Step 1: Round Up Some Data About Your Fleet
Thorough knowledge of your fleet operations can lay the groundwork for a more effective fleet fuel management system. And knowledge starts with data.
Focus on gathering the following key metrics:
- The estimated fuel expense across the fleet
- The fuel consumption used by each vehicle based on certain timeframes
- The fuel efficiency, such as the miles per gallon (MPG), that fleet operators incur in their vehicles
- The total engine run time
- Any mechanical issues with any fleet vehicles that may affect fuel management
Once you gain the insights you need, you can strategize for the demands. A few of the biggest benefits of fleet management and understanding your fleet include:
- Learning whether purchasing fuel wholesale makes the most sense
- Discovering how the vehicles in your fleet are utilized and what they require
- Finding out which vehicles may need maintenance (or replacement) to ensure proper fuel usage
Once you have the data, you can identify ways to reduce fuel cost and areas where fuel efficiency is most needed to set strategic goals across your entire fleet.
Step 2: Optimize Your Vehicles
You may find your most effective cost-saving strategies start with your vehicles themselves.
- Trade in your vehicles for more fuel-efficient models for effective fuel management to reduce fuel waste
- Keep vehicles clean inside and out to reduce weight (and therefore fuel spend)
- Try to minimize the space between the tractor and the trailer for maximum aerodynamic efficiency
- Look into implementing side skirts, which can improve fuel efficiency by up to 5%
- Stay up-to-date on vehicle maintenance to ensure engines functioning at maximum capacity
Step 3: Inform and Encourage Your Drivers to Adopt Fuel-Efficient Habits
Your drivers are just as invested in discovering efficient fuel cost practices as you are. After all, fewer stops to fuel up means more profit for everyone’s bottom line.
Creating a system of best practices can jumpstart your fuel efficiency initiatives and support drivers across your fleet.
To help optimize their fuel efficiency, systematize these strategies:
- Maintain a steady speed – When acceleration increases and decreases rapidly, it can cause vehicles to consume more fuel compared to keeping a steady pace. While the type of vehicle driven will determine the optimal fuel efficiency speed, focusing on staying within this range can significantly improve your fuel management.
- Maximize the use of cruise control – Cruise control makes maintaining a steady speed much easier, ultimately allowing drivers to eliminate frequent acceleration or deceleration. However, cruise control offers the most benefits on flat, prolonged routes. Uphill cruise control can work against your fuel efficiency goals.
- Reducing total idling time – Idling helps drivers stay comfortable while parked. An average long-haul driver can idle up to eight hours per day for up to 300 days per year. Yet, idling the engine comes with a great cost to the fleet fuel economy of the vehicle. By reducing total idling time, you could save your entire fleet over $6,000 per year.
- Optimize tire inflation – Improperly inflated tires can cause extra heat and resistance, leading to fuel wastage. Additionally, the heat and stress caused by improper inflation can lead to a much shorter tire life. Using automatic tire inflation systems to monitor and adjust air pressure will help tires last longer and increase fuel efficiency.
While these habits might seem as though they could be insignificant on their own, when combined, they can have a substantial impact on all of your fleet fuel spending.
Step 4: See What Works and Change Course As Needed
Once you’ve gathered data about your fleet and begun implementing best practices, it’s time to track your progress.
- Create an auditing process that allows you to see whether these strategies were implemented successfully
- Identify what strategies made the biggest impact on your efficiency progress
- Make changes as needed
See How AtoB Lets You Save on Fuel
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FleetOwner. Fuel Economy 101.
Eartheasy. Fuel Efficient Driving.