Since cutting fuel costs is consistently a top-of-mind concern for fleet managers, it’s key they understand the nuances that are involved with reducing this type of spend. Indeed, after depreciation, fuel spend is one of the largest fleet expenses.
Look to Preventative Maintenance
One of the best places to start when looking to reduce fuel spend is at aspects that fit the preventative maintenance (PM) category. Ensuring a fleet performs regular PM intervals can do wonders on helping to lower fuel spend.
2. Consider Your Tires
Another key piece of PM includes tire and wheel maintenance. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that for every one psi (pounds per square inch) drop in the pressure of your tires will lower gas mileage by 0.4%, noted Ramel Lindsay, manager of strategic partnerships and business development, U.S. Bank Voyager Fleet Card.
Rightsizing in fleet is another im-portant area to consider when looking at the bigger picture of cutting back on fuel costs. Look to reduce size and weight, and consider more fuel-efficient vehicles and even alt-fuel models.” said Wuich.
4. Manage Fuel Card Usage
As one might expect, fuel purchasing tendencies are key to assessing a fleets fuel spend, and a good place to start is looking at its fleet’s fuel card system.
5. Assess Vehicle Weight
However, when it comes to reducing fuel costs, the vehicles themselves aren’t the only factor that should be considered — what fleets physically place in or on the vehicles is also important.
6. Route Tracking
Having a better idea of the routes fleet drivers take is another key element to monitoring fuel spend. Doing so has become easier over the years with the continued development of telematics and software that can better help fleets tracks their vehicles.
7. Driver Behavior
It’s not just the routes that fleet drivers take that can affect fuel spend, however. How they drive is also a crucial factor.
“According to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving can reduce highway fuel efficiency by 33% and city efficiency by 5%,” said Gordon of Merchants.
8. Monitor Idling
With the help of telematics data, fleets can also look to curb one of the most egregious contributors to high fleet fuel spend: idling.
9. Looking to Alt-Fuels
Unlike typical consumer cars which already have mpgs in the 20s and 30s, conventional vans and trucks typically have mpgs in the low teens or single digits. So, swapping out these commercial gas guzzlers, which often drive 20,000 annual miles in fleet applications, for hybrid-electric trucks and vans can actually save even more fuel than the same technology on a consumer car,” said Siegert of XL Hybrids.
Getting Complete Fleet Buy-In
There is one key caveat to consider as fleet managers look to consider all of the elements regarding reducing fuel spend, and that’s having buy-in from everyone involved in the fleet; including company stakeholders all the way to the fleet drivers.