Saving a few dollars at the pump isn't hard or complicated



Improving a fleet vehicle’s fuel efficiency can help businesses save money and is better for the environment, but it isn’t always clear how to make the most meaningful changes. Luckily, saving a few dollars at the pump doesn’t have to be complicated. You can improve your fleet fuel savings in these 10 easy ways.


1. Cut engine idling


The U.S. Department of Energy says that idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour. If you have heavy-duty trucks, the fuel economy metrics are even worse: 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour. A long-haul truck idles for about 1,800 hours a year, using up to 1,500 gallons of diesel.


It's illegal to idle for long periods in certain cities; some cities even restrict idling to less than a minute. Although diesel engines rely on idling for various reasons, including the need to warm up, drivers of gasoline engine vehicles can reduce fuel and oil waste by following these idling guidelines:


  • Turn off the engine while waiting or making deliveries.
  • Turn off the engine while stuck in traffic.
  • Do not idle to warm up the engine; simply start driving.


The right GPS-based fleet management tracking tool can monitor vehicle idle time, providing you with specific data to better address the wasteful habit.


2. Monitor driving patterns


Driver behavior is one of the largest contributors to improving semi-truck miles per gallon (MPG).


The American Transportation Research Institute, citing an American Trucking Association report, said there can be a, “35 percent difference between the most and least efficient drivers.”


Speeding, braking, and acceleration patterns all play a role in fuel consumption, and fleet-tracking technologies like telematics can help optimize driving techniques. If you have difficulty getting your drivers on board with fuel-efficient driving behaviors, try taking the safe driving track. Typically, eco-friendly driving habits are also safer—most drivers will agree that safer is better. Also, ensure your delivery or service windows allow ample transport time to discourage drivers from speeding due to lateness.


Note that not all monitoring happens with a GPS or log. Looking at fuel consumption can often help business owners determine whether drivers use good practices on the road or operate inefficiently. Get the most out of your fleet by gaining more insight into your fuel costs and expense per mile.


3. Proactively maintain your vehicles


Fleet owners should adopt a proactive vehicle maintenance schedule to further reduce maintenance costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a properly-tuned engine can help increase semi-truck MPG by an average of four percent.


Truck fleets with reactive maintenance are more likely to suffer costly breakdowns—and that doesn’t just mean expensive repairs. It can also cost wasted drive time, lost employee wages, and disrupted delivery schedules.


4. Plan driver routes


Leverage GPS technology to determine the best possible routes, ideally combining pick-up and drop-off schedules to reduce driving and save on fuel spending.


Also, ensure drivers have access to directions and audio instructions so they don't get lost or distracted by looking at a map.


5. Get a fuel card


Fleet fuel cards can help your business better track and optimize vehicle-related expenses. Many fuel cards offer discounts on fuel purchases from approved suppliers, which can lower fuel prices and expenses. Cards can also help prevent fuel theft, a costly business problem.


6. Reduce out-of-route miles


With fleet tracking software, business owners can regularly review a report of actual miles driven compared to the estimated miles for each trip. You should identify and reduce out-of-route miles whenever possible.


Fleet owners can instruct drivers to find meals within a specified route radius and use GPS technology to locate the closest truck stop or gas station.


Business owners should also consider switching to onsite fueling to eliminate the need for drivers to make fueling stops. Fleet managers can also coach drivers who frequently get lost to improve their familiarity with the area or their routes. This advice is especially helpful for in-town or local fleets where drivers make repeated stops. 


7. Avoid unnecessary weight


An extra 100 pounds in a vehicle can increase fuel expenses by up to $0.03 per gallon.


While that may not sound significant, extrapolating these fuel usage costs over hundreds or thousands of gallons across multiple vehicles over an entire year can result in a substantial added expense.


Bottom line: For the best fuel maintenance, keep vehicles clear of any additional weight except for the necessary packages or equipment, and never load up more payload than required for that trip.


8. Encourage off-peak driving


In some locations, rush-hour traffic can double or even triple travel time. Stop-and-go high-traffic conditions wreak havoc on fuel efficiency.


Work with your team to plan as much driving as possible during off-peak hours when traffic is lighter. Trips during early mornings or late evenings should result in less idling and reduced fuel consumption, saving your business money and time.


Remember, though, that road construction tends to be scheduled at night—so ensure your dispatchers or operations managers consider any ongoing work when selecting routes.


9. Dispatch the closest vehicle


Real-time vehicle tracking across your entire fleet will allow you to dispatch the closest vehicle to a new delivery or appointment, improving margins for your business.


Advanced fleet-tracking programs can fully or partially automate this type of dispatching and routing. A human dispatcher can also learn to consider proximity and driving efficiency when dispatching a new order or appointment.


10. Regularly check tire pressure


Vehicles with tires inflated at 75 percent of the recommended pressure consume up to three percent more fuel. Tires inflated at 50 percent of the recommended pressure level can use up to 10 percent more fuel.


Regularly checking your fleet's tire pressure will improve your cost-per-mile and prevent unsafe situations from developing in your tires. It's a good idea to make tire pressure a mandatory part of every driver's pre-trip safety check.


This practice includes keeping an eye on the vehicle's tire pressure monitoring system and visual checks to identify anything the electronic equipment missed.


Fuelman is your solution for fleet fuel savings

At Fuelman, we design our fleet fuel cards to keep costs low. We enable your business to tailor card security settings to meet your unique requirements and ensure you only spend on fuel for corporate vehicles. Apply now or contact us to learn more.



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