The cost of fuel has traditionally been one of the largest expenses for fleet businesses. As an owner or fleet manager, finding ways to utilize fuel more efficiently can reduce your operating costs and boost productivity. For most companies, a multi-pronged approach to reducing fuel consumption can deliver the best results. In this article, you’ll learn how monitoring and improving driver behavior, implementing regular vehicle maintenance practices, implementing telematics, and taking the time to "spec" vehicles can reduce fuel cost and consumption for your fleet.
The way your drivers operate your vehicles and equipment directly impacts fuel consumption and how much your company spends on fuel. Even the most conscientious drivers can develop wasteful habits. One of the most reliable ways to reduce fleet fuel costs is providing coaching and training to help your operators modify their behaviors while they're behind the wheel.
Your training should focus on fuel-efficient driving practices such as:
Fleet vehicles spend a lot of time on the road, especially those used in long-haul operations. Regular maintenance helps to prevent unexpected breakdowns that put drivers well behind schedule and pose potential safety risks. A well-maintained vehicle also runs more efficiently and consumes less fuel, leading to significant cost savings.
When setting up your fleet's maintenance schedule, consider factors such as your vehicles' engine service hours, miles driven, and the time interval — heavily used vehicles or equipment require more frequent service. You and your drivers should pay close attention to engine fault codes, as they allow you to identify minor issues before they become serious performance problems.
Tire pressure is another simple but often overlooked maintenance area that directly impacts fuel consumption. Underinflated tires require more acceleration to achieve the desired speed, which burns extra fuel.
A Fleet Telematics System (FTS) facilitates the exchange of information between vehicles and fleet managers. By providing more insight into a vehicle's operation and condition, these systems can help to reduce fleet fuel costs in several ways:
Choosing the most appropriate vehicle for your jobs is another way to reduce fleet costs. For example, truck engines are available in multiple sizes, each of which can accommodate different load types. If your drivers typically carry heavy loads over rough terrain, a low-horsepower engine will require additional fuel to meet the increased demand. A high-horsepower engine isn't the most fuel-efficient solution when hauling lighter loads. Additionally, if you're making a local delivery, using a smaller truck or a work van will save on fuel and make navigating city streets easier.
Trailer aerodynamics is another vehicle spec that affects fuel consumption. Attaching trailer skirts to the underbody can reduce fuel-wasting drag by preventing wind from reaching underneath during highway travel. If your fleet consists of older vehicles, installing a gap management device can often correct aerodynamics-related issues.
If you're ready to save more fuel, we can help. We offer a variety of fleet management solutions that can help your transportation company reduce fuel costs. We can provide advanced telematics to track your drivers' habits and monitor your vehicles' maintenance needs with an integrated fleet management platform. Contact us today to learn more about our telematics solutions and how they can benefit your business or request a product demo.