Fuel is one of the most significant operational expenses for fleets. Improving the fleet’s fuel efficiency can help realize significant savings on this expense, improving the overall bottom line of a business.
Regardless of the number of vehicles in your fleet and scale of operation, improvements across different areas can help reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption. Among the top strategies to achieve this result include the following.
- Route Planning and Optimization
You should prioritize planning routes that are fuel-efficient while completing the fleet’s service requirements for clients. Using data about the current routes from GPS vehicle tracking devices, fleet managers can identify opportunities to improve fuel economy.
Route factors that will impact fuel consumption include travel distance, traffic, and road conditions. Mileage should be kept at a minimum as possible to save fuel. Similarly, heavy traffic contributes to poor fuel economy because of unnecessary idling.
The terrain and other road conditions can also significantly impact fuel consumption. The choice of route optimization software and strategies must factor in all these factors to save fuel.
- Invest in Driver Training and Monitoring
Bad driving habits contribute to poor fuel economy. Aggressive steering and braking, accelerating and decelerating too frequently, idling and changing gears inefficiently can drive up your fleet’s fuel consumption. Ditching these fuel-inefficient habits will see you save significantly on fuel costs.
Fleet managers must invest in training drivers in good and efficient driving practices. Fleet dash cameras are an invaluable tool for monitoring driver actions and behavior. Fleet managers can then use the captured footage to identify bad driving behaviors and tailor training to help drivers correct these behaviors.
In addition to monitoring driver behavior, fleet managers can use the fleet telematic system to monitor diesel exhaust fuel (DEF) levels. DEF inefficiencies negatively impact a vehicle’s fuel performance.
- Keep Up with Fleet Maintenance
Proper and regular maintenance does more than just extend the lifespan of your fleet. It also helps to improve fuel efficiency, as well-maintained vehicles generally consume less fuel.
Preventive maintenance helps to catch early and resolve problems that may result in poor fuel economy. For example, detecting oil leaks and maintaining the oxygen sensor will save more fuel and resolve other engine issues. Similarly, monitoring and keeping tire pressure at the proper levels helps greatly, as deflated tires reduce fuel efficiency.
Fleet managers must stick to a regular schedule for routine maintenance based on factors such as the type of vehicle and age. Similarly, all corrective maintenance must be done before dispatching a vehicle.
- Restrict Speeding
Slowing down really slows down a fleet’s fuel consumption. Driving at high speed is wasteful and significantly reduces fuel efficiency. Reducing speed by 5-10 mph can result in a 7-14% fuel economy improvement.
In addition to driver training on speeding and encouraging the use of cruise control, fleet managers can reduce fuel consumption by adding speed limiters to vehicles. Managers can use fleet telematics to track fuel usage and remind drivers to slow down.
- Drop the Extra Weight
Your vehicle’s fuel economy drops by up to 1-2% for every 100 pounds of vehicle weight. The lighter vehicles in your fleet should be your first choice, provided the vehicles are a match for the job.
Additionally, drivers should do their best to eliminate heavy items in their vehicles. Carrying heavy equipment and a complete set of tools on every trip when not necessary will only overwork the vehicles and drive up your fuel consumption.
Save on Fuel
Reducing fuel consumption by monitoring vehicle condition, operations, and driver behavior is one of several benefits of fleet management. Telematics provides fleet managers with data and valuable insights into various operations. This information helps identify areas that need improving to reduce a fleet’s fuel consumption and reduce the operational budget.