Fleet Fuel Management: Does Driving Slower Save Gas?

Reviewed by
Vedant Khamesra
Published date:
April 15, 2024

Fleet Fuel Management: Does Driving Slower Save Gas?

As we look ahead to the 2024 trucking industry forecast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and GasBuddy's annual Fuel Price Outlook suggest a potential dip in fuel prices—a welcome relief for many 1. With prices expected to fall from $3.51 per gallon in 2023 to $3.38 in 2024, fleet managers might start questioning the ongoing relevance of fuel efficiency strategies 2

But here’s the catch: these predictions aren’t set in stone. Factors like global economic shifts, unforeseen refinery shutdowns, or escalations in international conflicts could turn the tables, impacting crude oil prices and, subsequently, what we pay at the pump 3. In such an unpredictable landscape, the question "Does driving slower save gas?" remains not just relevant but crucial for cost-effective and sustainable fleet operations. At AtoB, a forerunner in fleet fuel cards, we believe in staying ahead of the curve by maintaining efficient fuel management, regardless of these market uncertainties.

In a world where economic tides can change rapidly, it’s more important than ever to focus on what we can control. And that’s where the art of managing fleet fuel comes in. Let’s dive in and explore how even in a fluctuating market, smart fuel management can keep your operations running smoothly and sustainably.

Understanding Fuel Consumption Metrics in Fleet Operations

Navigating the fluctuating terrain of fuel prices, it's crucial to get a grip on fuel consumption metrics. These aren't just numbers on a spreadsheet; they're the pulse of your fleet's health, and understanding how driving habits intertwine with fuel usage and overall costs is essential in today’s market. Metrics to pay attention to include: 

  • Miles Per Gallon (MPG): By understanding the MPG across different speeds and conditions, fleet managers can steer towards more economical operations.

  • Cost Per Mile: Lower fuel prices don't diminish the significance of cost per mile, and it’s a critical gauge for long-term financial planning and sustainability.

The Relationship Between Driving Speed and Fuel Efficiency

Alright, let’s talk speed. Even with a gentle dip in fuel prices, the connection between speed and fuel efficiency can't be overlooked. Do you burn more gas driving fast or slow? Well it turns out slowing down can actually ramp up your fuel economy. Why? Because when you push the speedometer higher, you're also pushing up your fuel consumption due to increased aerodynamic drag. Let’s take a closer look: 

  • Optimal Speed: While the speed at which vehicles reach optimal fuel economy varies, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Finding that sweet spot, typically around the highway speed limit, where your vehicles hum along efficiently, is key 4.

  • Reduced Aerodynamic Drag: Ease up on the gas, and you'll ease up on fuel consumption, too. It's all about finding that balance.

Impact of Driving Behavior on Fleet Fuel Expenditure

Now, let's pivot to driving behavior. Sure, fuel might be a tad cheaper, but why waste it with inefficient driving? This is where good habits pay off, specifically: 

  • Smooth Driving: Encourage your drivers to take it easy on the road. This means consistent speeds, gentle accelerations, and fewer harsh stops.

  • Efficient Practices: It's not just about what's happening on the road. Truck route planning, training, and technology can all contribute to a leaner fuel bill.

Especially for those starting a trucking company, understanding and implementing these efficient driving practices from the onset can set the foundation for a cost-effective and environmentally conscious business model.

Driving Strategies for Optimizing Fleet Fuel Efficiency

Efficiency isn't just a buzzword; it's a strategy. Here are some tactics to make every drop of fuel count:

  1. Steady Speeds and Cruise Control: Cruise control isn't just for comfort; it's a tool for maintaining an efficient pace.

  1. Route Planning: A smart route is like a shortcut to fuel savings. Avoiding traffic and reducing idle time can make a big difference.

  1. Vehicle Maintenance: An ounce of prevention, in the form of regular maintenance, ensures your vehicles aren't guzzling more fuel than necessary.

Factors Beyond Speed: Influences on Fuel Consumption

All that said, fuel efficiency of semi trucks isn't a one-trick pony but requires a multi-faceted approach. Besides speed, several other factors can play a significant role, such as:

  • Load Management: Think light. The heavier the load, the harder your engines have to work.
  • Tire Pressure: Keep those tires pumped. Properly inflated tires mean less resistance and better fuel economy.
  • Aerodynamics: It's not just for race cars. Streamlining your vehicles can cut through the air—and fuel costs—more efficiently.


Monitoring and Measuring Fuel Savings in Fleet Operations

Managing your fleet's fuel efficiency requires balance, precision, and a keen eye on the numbers. That's where sophisticated tools like fleet fuel cards and telecom fleet tracking software come into the picture. These solutions offer invaluable insights that can lead to substantial cost savings and efficiency improvements.

In addition to tracking fuel savings, these tools can also play a crucial role in the freight audit process, ensuring accuracy and transparency in fuel-related expenses, which is especially important for newly established and growing trucking companies.

Let's break them down:

Fleet Fuel Cards 

Think of these as your all-access pass to fuel data. Fleet fuel cards do more than just streamline purchases; they track every gallon and penny, giving you a clear picture of your fleet's spending. By analyzing this data, you can pinpoint areas where fuel isn't being used as wisely as it could be and make necessary adjustments.

Telecom Fleet Tracking Software

Now, this is where it gets high-tech. Fleet tracking software is like having a GPS for your fuel efficiency goals. This software provides real-time data on vehicle locations, routes, speeds, and idle times. Why does this matter? Because it helps you understand how driving patterns and route choices impact fuel usage. For example, are your drivers taking longer routes that use more fuel? Are they idling excessively? This software lays it all out, enabling you to make informed decisions to optimize routes and driving behaviors, ultimately leading to better fuel efficiency.

Together, these tools form a dynamic duo in your quest for fuel efficiency. By keeping a close eye on these metrics, you can steer your fleet towards more cost-effective and environmentally friendly practices, ensuring that every drop of fuel is used to its fullest potential. 

Training and Education for Fuel-Efficient Driving Practices

Last but certainly not least, let's talk about empowering your drivers. Educating them on fuel-efficient techniques isn't just good for your budget; it's good for the planet. While a training and ongoing education program will be unique to your trucking company and team, these strategies are essential for any business looking to improve their fuel-efficient driving practices: 

  • Best Practices: It's about giving drivers the know-how to drive more efficiently.

  • Benefits of Maintenance: Teaching the value of vehicle care can have a big impact on fuel consumption.

  • Utilizing Technology: Training on tech tools can turn data into actionable insights for better driving.

Steering Towards a More Efficient Future with AtoB

As we navigate the changing tides of the trucking industry and fuel market, one thing remains clear: the pursuit of fuel efficiency is an evergreen goal, essential for the health of both our businesses and our planet. The potential dip in fuel prices for 2024, while a welcome prospect, doesn't diminish the importance of smart fuel management. In fact, it underscores the need for a proactive and informed approach to fleet fuel management, ensuring that every decision made today aligns with a more sustainable and cost-effective tomorrow.

This journey towards enhanced fuel efficiency isn't a solo endeavor. With AtoB's expertise and innovative tools like fuel cards, fleet managers are equipped to make more informed decisions. These tools not only offer a deeper understanding of fuel consumption patterns but also empower fleets with actionable insights to optimize every aspect of their operations—from route planning to driver behavior.

In a world marked by uncertainties—from fluctuating fuel prices to global economic shifts—embracing efficiency and sustainability isn't just good business sense; it's a necessity. As we look to the future, AtoB stands ready to partner with fleet managers and trucking companies, helping them navigate these challenges and seize opportunities for growth and improvement. Together, we can steer toward a future where fuel efficiency and economic viability go hand in hand, driving us toward a brighter, more sustainable horizon.


1 "Behavioral and Operational Techniques." Alternative Fuels Data Center, U.S. Department of Energy, https://afdc.energy.gov/conserve/behavior_techniques.html

2 "Gas Prices Expected to Drop in 2024 Despite Economic Woes." CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Dec. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/27/economy/gas-prices-2024-economy-inflation/index.html

3 "Gas Prices: Will They Continue to Decline or Rise in 2024?" Fox Weather, FOX Weather, LLC., https://www.foxweather.com/lifestyle/gas-price-car-outlook-decline-rise

4 U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Short-Term Energy Outlook." Today in Energy, U.S. Energy Information Administration, 13 Jan. 2024, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=61243

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Reviewed by

Vedant Khamesra

Vedant Khamesra is the driving force behind product management at AtoB. Specializing in strategic partnerships, SMB solutions, and new product development, Vedant seamlessly navigates P&L responsibilities while leading product execution and strategy. He is fueled by AtoB's mission to empower truckers and fleets with intelligent financial tools and services, making their lives easier and more rewarding.

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