According to a 2018 report published by Fleet Financials, fuel expenses are the primary reason for trucking companies’ higher Total Cost of Ownership index. While depreciation and maintenance costs added 1.4 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, fuel expenditures contributed a total of 12 percent.
As fuel prices continue to rise, it’s important to come up with more effective strategies to improve fuel efficiency and increase profitability.
Here are five ways fleet managers and drivers can improve fuel management and fuel efficiency.
1. Minimize idling
A study by the U.S. Department of Energy reveals that heavy-duty trucks consume roughly 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour when idle. The practice also accelerates engine wear and increases gas emissions.
To minimize idling, turn off the engine if the vehicle is to stop for more than 10 seconds. Contrary to popular belief, idling consumes more fuel than an engine restart, according to a report by the Environmental Defense Fund.
If you are a Motive ELD Pro user, you can minimize idle time by monitoring idling and utilization rates in the Motive Dashboard. As the Motive ELD records excessive idling, you can easily identify drivers who idle for too long or too frequently and start coaching programs to rectify the issue.
2. Be mindful of traffic conditions
Stop/start driving isn’t very efficient. Vehicles require more fuel in lower gears. Drivers can become more fuel efficient by being aware of traffic conditions and by monitoring traffic signs.
Also, plan your trips and pick the most efficient route. Traffic congestion costs up to $63 billion to the trucking industry. You can be more fuel efficient and save some money if you’re actively planning your routes.
3. Avoid poor driving practices
Aggressive habits like hard braking and hard acceleration not just increase the likelihood of road accidents. These poor driving practices also force the engine to consume more fuel than usual.
To encourage good driving practices and minimize poor driving behavior, you can set up a performance-based compensation system. You can also monitor driver safety scores and offer monetary and non-monetary rewards to drivers who have the best safety scores.
You can also initiate driver coaching programs for drivers with poor safety scores. This will help you maximize fuel efficiency as well as increase the safety of your fleet.
4. Stay within the speed limit
Aside from preventing road accidents, speed limits also encourage drivers to maintain fuel-efficient speeds on the road.
Statistics from FuelEconomy.gov shows that once you exceed 60 miles per hour, every five miles per hour reduces your gas mileage by 7 percent. The site also estimates a reduction of 15-30 percent in gas mileage for speeding at highways.
Stay within speed limits, and you will be able to improve fuel efficiency.
5. Stay on top of vehicle health
Vehicle maintenance issues may affect the performance of the vehicle as well as the amount of fuel it consumes. Low tire pressure, in particular, is a major cause of increased fuel consumption in motor vehicles.
Based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy, a reduction of 1 pound per square inch (PSI) in tire pressure reduces the fuel efficiency by as much as 0.3 percent.
Fleet managers can stay on top of vehicle health and catch maintenance issues early with Motive fault-code detection and real-time alerts. To learn more about vehicle diagnostics, click here.
Fleet fuel efficiency and fleet management
Effective fuel management requires the collective effort of fleet managers and drivers. Although drivers are directly responsible for the fuel consumption of their vehicles, fleet managers must provide them with guidance that would help drivers become more fuel-efficient.
If you have any questions about the Motive ELD solution, call at 855-434-3465.