How To Control Fleet Fuel Costs In The Midst Of Rising Gas Prices
One thing that majority of Fleet managers don’t know is that training driver behavior, monitoring your vehicle and maintaining them to always stay at the best of their performance can significantly reduce the company’s fuel cost. Although a large percentage of the fuel costs come from the rising fuel prices, a great deal of things are left for you and your company to take care of. You need to first of all understand that fuel costs impact directly to the company’s revenue.
The fuel costs are on the rise and even the industry veterans who lived in the time of coal and charcoal powered engine would admit that this is alarming. With the fuel costs already being a vermin to the fleet industry, fleet managers are now trying to look for other mechanisms of fleet oil management. Fuel costs attribute to over 40 percent of increasing products and service fees and hence a coin rise in fuel impacts every aspect of the economy.
What’s Going On?
There is a huge difference between what is happening today and what was happening in the 80’s with fuel prices. Oil shocks of the 70’s and the 80’s had a clear explanation but what is happening today is way above the human control. In the 80’s, there were ‘’no gas today’’ signs all over simply because there was no enough supply of fuel. However, today, oil is all over, there are cost efficient mechanisms of mining and transporting fuel but there is no significant impact on the fuel prices.
What the above means is that those oil spikes in the 70’s and the 80’s were supply driven. There were no sufficient oil supply in the industry and hence this affected their prices. Methods of mining, refining and transporting fuel were also not cost effective. Today, there is fuel for everyone and I bet you have never seen a ‘’no fuel sign’’ out there for economic reasons. Today, demand has skyrocketed due to increased domestic activities and the increase in automobiles.
There are also some background factors that affect fuel prices today. However, there’s less that fleet companies can do about background factors. All what they can do is to use their own plastic mechanisms and ensure that their vehicles have minimal consumption and wastage.
How Fleet Fuel Cost Are Driven By Fleet Drivers Waste
The main source of problem in many fleets is the common mistakes that managers and their drivers usually ignore. The first mistake is failure to make use of the data about fuel price trends. The management on the other side do not take seriously the reports they are given by their drivers about fuel costs for the day. If all the data is closely analyzed, then there is much that a proactive fuel cost management can do. As a manager, using this data, you can be able to spot poor performers in the area of average mpg. A good manager will instantly start to find out the reasons for the poor performance and try correcting them. Some of the reasons for poor performance in this area could be low maintenance, overloading the vehicle, or even excessive idling.
The other source of high fuel costs is if the company has hired unqualified field workers. If the driver is not qualified, he is likely to idle or even lose directions from time to time. They don’t have a clear direction from their head and hence they are likely to spend a lot of time moving around.
A lazy driver will always be at the notch of time theft. They will take a lot of their working hours idling. This is one of the main reasons why fleet companies are losing many of their customers and eventually the revenue.
Unauthorized Use Of Fuel Cards
There is some unauthorized use of fuel cards by employees for their personal gain. However, if there is accurate and speedy reporting, the managers can have a hand on exactly what is being done with the cards. Unless controls on the card are kept tight, they can be abused.
Low vehicle Maintenance
If the vehicles are not maintained the right way, then they are likely to perform poorly. They perform poorly and at the same time fuel consumption is either kept constant or even higher. For this reason, Fuel costs are going to hike and hence impact directly to the company’s revenue.
What’s Next For Fleet Companies On Fleet Fuel Costs?
Fleet companies have several options. These options range from driver behavior monitoring, care maintenance and route optimization. Here are several ways fleet companies can reduce fuel costs.
Avoid Common Mistakes
As I already stated, common mistakes done by either the management or the drivers can be a cause of trouble. One way that fleet managers can reduce fuel consumption is by simply avoiding common mistakes. You need to take into considerations and closely observe all the data provided by field fleet workers and at the same time use it to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.
Learn from Mistakes. If the management use this data the right way, all the mistakes will be tabled and measures taken to ensure the same mistake is not repeated again.
Check Tire Inflation
Tire and wheel maintenance are key. Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the best mechanisms of increasing vehicle performance. If the vehicle is performing to its maximum, then there will be minimal costs incurred. I believe this is the first step that fleet companies should take to reduce fuel costs.
There are several tools that can be used to track tire pressure. By using these tools, fleets will be sure that their vehicles are set to the preferred pressure for maximum performance. There is a prior study by the US department of Energy which established that there is a 0.4 percent drop in gas mileage in every one psi drop in tire pressure.
The other thing is ensuring that your vehicle’s wheels are aligned the right way. Research shows that improper wheel alignment can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent.
Identify Unauthorized Usage Of Fuel Cards
Managing the usage of fuel cards is the starting point in cubing fuel fraud. The problem with fuel cards is that they can still be misused. The reason for this is because obtaining appropriate data on fuel purchase can be difficult. Their full control is assigned to the driver and hence he/she can misuse the card to their benefit.
What this mean is that it can be difficult to identify fuel theft if the cards are not managed the right way. There are several instances where the driver leaves their cards even when they are driving a different vehicle. If they purchase fuel with this cards, it will show inaccurate data about fuel purchase.
The company should develop fuel purchasing policies which should help support the driver purchasing decisions. The policies should as well hold the driver accountable for their purchasing decisions. As a fleet manager, you should hold your employees accountable for their purchasing decisions. They should at all costs be held accountable for their abuse and misuse of card.
If possible, you can make arrangements to be purchasing fuel in one particular retail. This way, you will have full control over the purchases and consequently reduce card misuse. You will be able to easily identify who is purchasing and what vehicle is being fueled. The same way, you will have an eye on the amount of fuel purchased and how it is used until its exhaustion.
Use Apps to Find Cheap Fleet Fuel Costs
The reality of the matter is that there are different retails selling fuel at different prices. There are several phone applications that can be at your help when trying to look for cheap oil such as GasBuddy. They can be set to inform you every time there is a fuel drop and also compare the prices to inform your drivers where there’s cheap fuel.
Track The Driver’s Behavior
It’s not only the routes and the vehicle that determines the amount of fuel the vehicle will consume. There are several other factors and driver behavior is one of them. The way they drive the vehicle, and how they carry themselves throughout the journey. Idling, speeding, rapid acceleration and harsh braking can be some of the vermin’s in the industry. According to the US department of energy, aggressive driving can reduce fuel efficiency by almost 33 percent. You can install Fleet GPS tracking devices to always keep an eye on the driver’s behavior. GPS leaders is the number one Tracking systems and devices provider in California. For more details and offers, visit www.gpsleaders.com
Install Fleet GPS Tracking Devices
GPS fleet Tracking technology is one of the best ways of ensuring route optimization, fuel monitoring, driver behavior monitoring and many more. There are several fuel wasting behaviors that GPS tracking systems can help to reduce or completely eliminate. They include engine idling, running engine to just keep the Cabin warm or even to power the air conditioner. With Fleet tracking devices, you can monitor almost every aspect of your vehicle. For Fleet GPS tracking devices and system, visit www.gpsleaders.com