As of mid-March, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $4.31 according to AAA, compared to $2.87 a year ago and $3.51 a month ago. Right now, the national high for gas prices is over $7 in California, and many metropolitan cities can expect to see the same in the future. GasBuddy said national averages may stay at over $4 until the end of November 2022.
Industries that are feeling pain at the pump are trucking and other fleets. Here are seven tips to help reduce fuel costs for your fleet.
- Keep Tires Properly Inflated
Keeping your fleet’s tires properly inflated can improve fuel efficiency from 0.6 to 3%. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicles lose 0.2% fuel efficiency for every 1 psi below the recommended tire pressure.
- Vehicle Maintenance
Since an oxygen sensor lets an engine know how much fuel is needed per combustion cycle, you’ll want to keep that sensor maintained. The U.S. Department of Energy found that you can improve fuel efficiency by up to 40% by just repairing or replacing the oxygen sensor. You also want to make sure to stick to your vehicles’ maintenance schedules to make sure they’re performing at their best.
- Avoid Extra Idling
Idling uses up to ½ gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the type of vehicle. A heavy-duty truck consumes about 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour. With fuel costs as high as they are right now, this can add up quickly. Make sure your drivers know to turn off their engines if they expect to be standing or parked for any significant amount of time.
- Pick Your Roads Wisely
While not always possible, especially in Michigan, driving on smoother roads can help with fuel efficiency. It’s all about kinetic energy. A vehicle builds kinetic energy as it moves forward. A big bump or pothole makes the vehicle shake and can disrupt the engine’s flow of kinetic energy, causing it to use more fuel to adapt. Planning out a vehicle’s route ahead of time to avoid bumpy roads and traffic congestion can go a long way towards cutting fuel costs.
- Driver Behavior
There are two main behaviors you can train your drivers to avoid to help you save on fuel. One is to set speed restrictions since driving at high speeds can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 30%. Have them stick to the speed limits. The second behavior is aggressive driving. This includes accelerating and/or braking too rapidly and taking corners too sharply. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that aggressive driving can reduce your fleet’s fuel economy by 20% to 30%.
- Keep Loads Lighter
It’s no secret that heavier vehicles use more fuel. Make sure your fleet only carries what’s necessary. The Environmental Protection Agency shows that every extra 100 pounds on a vehicle can reduce its fuel efficiency by 1%. Also, carry cargo inside a closed truck whenever possible, trucks carrying open cargo are less fuel-efficient.
- Work with a Good Telematics Company
Of course, those of us as Safety Track know that teaming with us is one of the simplest ways to reduce fuel costs. Here’s how our GPS fleet tracking solutions can help:
- Geofencing – set alarms to let you know if your driver goes off-route.
- Track drivers’ speed, behavior, and idling.
- Map out the most fuel-efficient route and re-route when needed.
- Maintenance alerts to make sure the engine is running at its best.
- And much more!
Looking for more help on how you can reduce fuel costs for your fleet through fleet management? Call Safety Track at 888-286-9829 or click here for other ways to contact us.