Over the past several months, gas prices have surged to the point where it is putting a huge strain on business that rely on transportation. Fleet managers are currently scrambling to find ways to cut costs when and if they can.
The havoc wreaked on businesses by the skyrocketing gas prices has made it even worse due to supply chain shortages. At the end of the day, the cost of fuel is taking a big chunk out of the bottom line. Even before the spike, fuel was one of the top expenses for all global businesses. Today, the strain is being felt much worse.
Reducing Fleet Gasoline Expenses
Fleet managers have considered a few options at their immediate disposal to help offset fuel costs. GPS tracking and telematics are options that should help with efficiency.
The only sure way to figure out exactly how much gas is being burned is by monitoring the situation at all times. This includes even the truck’s downtime, or when idling. While some drivers have never taken into account just how much idling could cost them fuel-wise, it is estimated that over an hour a full gallon of fuel is wasted. When you do the math, it definitely cuts into the profit margin.
Through the use of GPS tracking, it was estimated that drivers were wasting 200 gallons of fuel a month while their trucks were idling.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Energy, long-haul truck drivers were the biggest culprit. Long-haul truck drivers are very important in terms of transporting products from A to Z. However, they are also required to perform certain duties mandated by federal law.
Because long-haul truck drivers are required by law to take periods of rest, it means they are in their rigs for an extended period of time. This means they must use heat, air conditioning, and other power while in the truck. So idling or maintaining a certain level of comfort can become very expensive.
With the new data in play, fleet managers were able to lower the number by 30% in short order.
When it comes to the supply chain, money and time are the most important resources. Fleet management can actively utilize timed stops so that goods and services reach their the intended destination in a timely manner. Trucks operating during light traffic instead of rush hour prevent sudden starts and stops. Erratic traffic is also the main factor in burning up fuel.
How Does Safe Driving Help?
Driving behavior can also play a huge role in how much fuel is used. An individual who exhibits poor driving skills can quickly waste up to 35% more fuel than a person who is more careful. How a driver speeds and accelerates can waste up a lot of gas. This can also contribute to a driver having a crash.
Reckless driving can be monitored by fleet managers through telematics. While some drivers scoff at this idea, it can be helpful in identifying unsafe driving. Big rig driving is already dangerous due to the nature of the job. If a driver is careless and exhibits unsafe skills, it can affect the bottom line as well.
The best way to correct poor driving is by helping them set goals. This may take a few weeks but improvement is achievable.
Regular Maintenance Eliminates Downtime
Good maintenance and keeping trucks in optimum condition is one of the keystones of saving fuel. The supply chain relies upon trucks to be up and running. Trucks not maintained or running with old outdated parts should be grounded and inspected. It is very important to keep up with the routine services needed by trucks such as oil changes, brake service, smog checks, tire checks, and more. When these services have not been performed, it will definitely affect fuel costs in a negative way.
Brake service and alignments in particular should be checked every 80,000 miles. Bad tires are probably one of the biggest contributors to wasted fuel. Regular monitors of rotation, tread, and balance will help.
Adding too much weight to your vehicle can also be a contributing factor when it comes to burning up too much fuel. Each extra pound can add more to the wear and tear and reduce fuel economy. Additionally, overloading will definitely add a lot of unnecessary wear and tear to the truck. While overloading the truck may seem like a minor expense, it can add up over time.
How Do Fuel Cards Help?
Fuel cards are an effective way to help mitigate the cost of fuel. There are several types available depending on the size and type of fleet. Keep in mind that not all fuel cards are alike. Each has its own set of benefits and specific networks where they can be used. Here are some of the benefits you can expect if you use a fuel card:
- Reduce fuel costs by up to 40 cents per gallon. Transaction fees are also eliminated.
- Cards are an added convenience for drivers.
- Fuel cards provide more flexibility so drivers can choose more assignments without having to worry about the cost of fuel.
- Qualify for additional perks and discounts like discounts on food and points to purchase other items.
- Drivers can make better budgeting decisions without spending worries.
- Helps keep more accurate record keeping.
- Helps reduce issues with scammers trying to defraud the card.
- Billing is more centralized so the vehicle fleet can be tracked from one centralizedsoftware or analysis package.
While the fuel costs seem to be dropping over the past few weeks, it is still not at the relief level most companies are comfortable with. Fleet managers are still doing what they can to reduce fuel costs to an acceptable level. Encouraging better safety methods and utilizing GPS tracking and telematics is doing a lot to enhance productivity. The more you can do to reduce fuel costs, the more you can boost your bottom line.