The last seven years have seen the greatest levels of volatility in fuel prices. For a fleet owner, what does this mean? What impact do fuel costs have on fleet fuel efficiency? How can fleet managers increase fuel efficiency and save costs on gasoline? All of these queries will be addressed in this blog article, along with 12 telematics-based tactics that may assist you in managing a fuel-efficient fleet.
Definition of fuel efficiency
What precisely does petrol cost?
Petrol costs are the expenses a business has to pay to fill up a car with fuel. Running expenses (operating) and standing costs are the two categories into which Automotive Fleet splits fleet costs (fixed). One of the major factors in a fleet’s running expenses is thought to be fuel. Given this information, managers should regularly and carefully monitor fuel consumption and fuel efficiency to prevent total operating expenses from going out of control.
What is fuel efficiency for a fleet?
The distance a vehicle can go on a certain quantity of gasoline burned is the definition of fuel economy. For instance, a compact or tiny automobile may get more miles per gallon (MPG) than a heavy-duty truck. Fleet managers may use a variety of tactics to increase fuel efficiency, including monitoring and minimizing inefficient driving behaviors (such as speeding and idling) and locating shorter routes.
How are gasoline expenses determined?
Use the formulas below to determine a vehicle’s fuel expense:
- Start by filling the tank with petrol if you want to monitor the car’s fuel efficiency throughout a week or a lengthy journey.
- When you fill the tank, note the odometer’s reading.
- Refill the tank after tracking for a week or a journey.
- Note the distance traveled.
- Subtract the number of miles traveled from the liters of gasoline used (miles per liter).
- Divide the number by 4.544 to get the miles per gallon equivalent.
Ways to lower the fuel expenditures for your fleet
According to Automotive Fleet, the cost of gasoline may account for almost 60% of a fleet’s overall operating expenses. This emphasizes how crucial fuel management is for fleet managers as you are in charge of setting the fleet’s budget, determining its profitability ratio, and meeting other performance goals.
Using fleet management technology is a smart approach to optimize vehicle MPG efficiency and save fuel expenditures, despite the volatile fuel prices. Here are some fleet management goals you might consider to begin earning an ROI:
1. Stop Leaving Your Car Idle Needlessly
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that idling may use between a quarter and a half of a gallon of gasoline each hour. Additionally, leaving the engine idle for even 30 seconds uses more gasoline than starting it again. The size of the engine and how much the air conditioner is operated determine the precise quantity of gasoline required when idling.
Vehicle idling is permitted in a variety of situations:
- Preparing the engine.
- Raising or lowering the interior temperature of the car.
- A vehicle’s loading or unloading.
- Educating new employees.
Why should we pay so close attention to idling? A telematics-based three-month driver challenge helped the pest treatment and home services firm Orkin save an estimated $50,000 and reduce idling by 8.4%. Idling not only wastes gasoline but also generates residues that over time harm engine parts and raise maintenance expenses. Additionally, idling affects the community’s health and well-being and adds to air pollution.
Encourage drivers to switch off their vehicles while parked or not in use as a fast best practice. Argonne National Laboratory claims that restarting your car only uses roughly 10 seconds’ worth of gasoline.
Reduce idling and fuel waste by developing or upgrading your fleet’s anti-idling policy. The following are some examples of requirements from The Clean Air Partnership’s recommendations for Canadian communities that you might include in your idling program and policy:
- Duration of idle time when parked.
- The time limit for starting the vehicle (warm-up) and idling.
- Using telematics technology in cars to monitor idle and fuel economy.
- Driver education programs and resources on eco-driving and idling.
- Anti-idling challenge every year.
Another efficient technique to combat, track, and monitor idle is to use a fleet management system. Fleet managers may create idling cost reports and establish idle restrictions with the use of telematics. A Weekly Idling Cost Trend Report, as the name implies, is a terrific approach to examining idling expenses every week, which may also show data in the form of a graph for greater comprehension.
The total amount of gasoline utilized by the fleet over the last three months is shown in Geotab’s Last 3 Months Idling Trend Report. The report is helpful as it indicates whether newly introduced fuel consumption regulations have effectively cut the quantity of gasoline that was consumed, and how it influenced the miles traveled and idling data. Read about real vs operational idling and how to stop it using MyGeotab if you want to learn more.
2. Prevent Reckless Driving
Did you know that driving aggressively may reduce fuel efficiency by on average 31%? Aggressive driving behaviors include excessive speeding, quick acceleration, forceful braking and cornering, tailgating, frequent lane changes, and running stop signs. These behaviors may all have a detrimental impact on a driver’s fuel economy.
Coaching drivers and encouraging safer on-road behavior is simpler with telematics technology. Create a driver scorecard to assess drivers according to how well they drive. To encourage drivers to aim for the top spots on the leaderboard, share the results, and implement rewards for top performers.
Use telematics guidelines and notifications to guide drivers in real time. If drivers are driving aggressively or breaking fleet rules, feedback using in-vehicle audible warnings will alert them. Other strategies for reducing aggressive driving include developing your training and safety program, using gamification to motivate drivers, and creating reward programs for safe drivers.
3. Track And Manage Fuel Trends In MyGeotab
Geotab’s goal is to help businesses get the most out of their telematics budgets so that they may flourish and grow. You may potentially improve MPG and cut down on petrol expenses by using MyGeotab.
The Geotab Fuel Tracker is a simple and easy-to-use Add-In that can be linked with Geotab Drive and allows you to measure fuel efficiency, fuel cost, cost per fill-up, and monthly fuel consumption.
4. Choose Smoother Roads And Optimize Your Travels
When trying to reduce your gasoline costs, don’t forget to consider route optimization. How is it beneficial? The fleet’s productivity and efficiency may be considerably increased while expenditures are decreased by selecting the fastest route and smoother routes.
According to a study by the National Asphalt Pavement Association, Americans travel around three trillion miles annually, using close to 170 billion gallons of petroleum. Drivers may see a 4.5% reduction in fuel usage if the roads were constructed and kept in better condition. The same survey also claims that uneven and badly maintained roads cause automobiles to lose more wear and tear, costing an average motorist $377 annually.
5. Monitor The Tire Pressure
For every 1 PSI fall in the average tire pressure, the U.S. Department of Energy predicts a 0.2% loss in gas efficiency. By keeping an eye on tire pressure, you may save money on gasoline. Check tire pressure periodically, particularly when the weather changes since it is also influenced by outside temperatures. In cold or severely hot areas, this is particularly true.
If a vehicle’s tires are inflated to the recommended pressure, it will be clear from a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) report. Before setting out on their excursion, drivers should also check the pressure in their tires. By automating maintenance reminders through email or by incorporating tire pressure on your drivers’ vehicle inspection (DVIR) checklist, Geotab telematics can help you remember to regularly check tire pressure as necessary.
6. Carry Out Routine Inspections
Your car’s fuel efficiency may be increased by doing routine maintenance. The manufacturer’s suggested quality of motor oil may increase gas economy by 1% to 2%, according to an article in Fuel Economy. A vehicle’s mileage may be increased by 40% by cleaning the air filters, changing the oil, or just resolving any maintenance concerns.
Simple auto maintenance might have a negative financial impact. A fleet management software can manage vehicle maintenance, identify engine problems, stop vehicle wear and tear, and offer essential engine data.
7. Use The Appropriate Vehicle For The Job
You must choose the appropriate vehicle for the job. Utilizing a big vehicle for light cargo and a short trip involves paying more for gasoline. Managing gasoline requires selecting the appropriate vehicle for the job at hand.
Downsizing automobiles with smaller engines that burn less fuel is a beneficial strategy. According to Automotive Fleet, one shipping and logistics business bought vehicles with the appropriate-sized engines for each route, which are now 70%–100% more fuel-efficient than the trucks they replaced. To help with fleet management, another option is to use electric vehicles (EVs) for lower loads. A telematics provider’s analytics may also be used to find potential downsizing possibilities.
8. Verify The Oxygen Sensor’s Functionality.
Oxygen sensors maintain track of the quantity of oxygen still present in the exhaust to assess the effectiveness of combustion. However, there is a good chance that they may deteriorate with time, which will increase gas mileage. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a damaged oxygen sensor may increase mileage by up to 40%.
9. Utilize Gas Cards
By using a driver fuel card, fleet efficiency may be increased. Gasoline cards not only make fuel payment easier for drivers, but they also assist fleet managers in keeping track of employee transactions and fuel expenditures.
10. Start Looking Into EVs
Fleets should start assessing EVs and figuring out where they could fit since electrification doesn’t happen immediately. They have a reduced total cost of ownership when used properly. In general, electricity expenses are less costly and more reliable than those of fossil fuels, making budgeting easier while also obtaining cost savings through reduced maintenance expenditures. In addition to being more environmentally benign, EVs will be essential in building a fleet that is more sustainable.
11. Establish Speed Limits
You may also cut down on gasoline consumption by limiting and decreasing your speed. When it comes to conserving gasoline, fleet management might benefit from the installation of speed limits. This is because slower speeds use less gasoline, which eventually results in cheaper fuel costs. According to research by the U.S. Department of Energy, it is reasonable to assume that every extra $0.25 per gallon of petrol you spend for every 5 mph you drive beyond 50 mph.
12. Reduce The Workload
Less weight on the vehicle might result in fuel savings. The car will be more fuel-efficient the lighter it is. Composite body pieces are increasingly used in the construction of cars, greatly reducing the weight of the vehicle.