It is no secret that fuel costs make up one of the fleets’ most significant spending domains. And given the volatility of fuel prices, keeping the operating costs in check can become challenging. This, in turn, impacts the profits and hampers business growth.
Thus, reducing fleet fuel expenses, while managing fluctuating fuel prices, remains one of the most significant aims for fleet managers. But, we can’t necessarily control the global fuel trends and prices. Luckily, we can take a few easy steps with fleet management to manage fluctuating fuel prices and keep our fuel expenses on a budget, irrespective of the fluctuations in global prices.
Reducing the Unnecessary Fleet Idling Time
Idling is when a vehicle’s engine is running, but the vehicle is not moving. Idling wastes an ample amount of fuel. It also emits pollutants into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide and fine particulates. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds can use more fuel than restarting the engine.
For commercial fleet operation, reducing idling time can impact fuel costs. One way to do this is by installing automatic engine shut-off devices. They turn off the engine after a certain period.
Another option is to use auxiliary power units. They provide electricity for air conditioning and heat without keeping the engine running. We can save fuel costs by reducing fleet idling and also help protect the environment.
Performing Fleet Assessment Regularly
Another simple way to achieve fuel cost reduction is through fleet assessment. By regularly assessing fuel efficiency, we can identify opportunities for improvement. For example, we may find that certain vehicles use more fuel than others. Or that specific routes are more fuel-efficient than others.
We can reduce our fuel expenses by making changes based on these findings. Also, regular assessment can help to identify maintenance issues that may be impacting fuel efficiency.
Sadly, very few businesses perform fleet assessments periodically. The two primary reasons for avoiding fleet assessment are that it requires complex tools and a significant amount of time. We can outsource the task to a fleet management company to overcome this hurdle.
A fleet management company is armed with the latest and most advanced Information Systems tools to capture key performance indicators precisely and in-depth. Moreover, they have knowledgeable and experienced professionals who can analyze data accurately. They then provide solutions to fine-tune fleet operation to manage the fluctuating fuel prices and reduce fuel costs.
Optimizing Fleet Routes
Transportation fleets rely on fuel to power their vehicles. To cut costs, we must optimize routes to ensure that vehicles use the least fuel possible.
This can be achieved through fleet optimization by planning routes that avoid traffic congestion and stop-and-go driving, as these conditions significantly decrease fuel efficiency. In a nutshell, we need to ensure that drivers are provided the routes that are not only the quickest but also have the least amount of idling time.
We can use GPS devices, route planners, and fuel consumption monitoring devices. These can help ensure that the vehicles take the least route, time, and fuel to reach the destination.
Ensuring Safe Driving Practices
Many people don’t realize that the driving style impacts fuel efficiency. For example, aggressive driving can lower fuel economy by as much as 33%. Conversely, smooth, consistent driving can improve fuel economy by as much as 5%.
This means that even small changes in driving style can impact fuel costs. Fortunately, several devices can now help drivers monitor their driving style and make necessary adjustments.
For example, some manufacturers offer built-in performance monitors, while others sell aftermarket products that perform the same function. By monitoring factors such as speed, accelerator pedal position, and engine RPM, these devices can provide real-time feedback to drivers on how they affect fuel economy.
This can help ensure that the drivers are driving to manage fuel usage and keep fuel consumption at optimum levels.
Monitoring Fuel Spendings Closely
One of the best ways to save money on fuel costs is to track our spending. This means knowing how much we spend on fuel each week, month, or year. By tracking our spending, we’ll be able to identify patterns and trends.
For example, we may notice that we’re spending more on fuel during winter. Or, we may find that we’re spending more when we drive during rush hour traffic. By tracking our spending, we can change our driving habits to help us save money.
We can use a fleet management solution to capture and analyze fuel data accurately. This will help control fuel spending before it turns into a big issue.
Transporting Lighter Loads
One way that businesses can reduce fuel costs is by transporting lighter loads. While it may seem counterintuitive, it helps with fuel savings. Lighter vehicles have smaller inertia and lower rolling resistance and vice versa). Both these factors help reduce fuel consumption.
Furthermore, it is vital to ensure that the loads are evenly distributed so that the trucks are not overloaded in one area. This will again help reduce the amount of fuel needed to transport the goods. By taking these measures, we can significantly reduce fuel costs.
Ensuring the Right Tire Pressure
A straightforward way to reduce fuel costs is to ensure our tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires increase fuel consumption because they create more rolling resistance, which means the engine has to work harder to move the vehicle forward. Also, under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. This means we’ll have to replace them sooner.
Over-inflated tires can also reduce fuel efficiency. They provide less road contact, reduce traction, and increase braking distances. So it’s important to check our tire pressure and inflate them to the correct pressure. Not only will this help reduce our fuel costs, but it will also help improve our fleet’s handling and safety.
By following the fleet management steps mentioned above, we can manage fluctuating fuel prices easily. This will ensure that the fuel expenses are kept to a minimum. Thus, we’ll spend the least amount on fuel regardless of the fluctuating fuel prices, whether high or low. So, adopt these fleet management practices today!