How Work Truck Fleets Save on High Gas Prices

Cutting the money you spend on fuel can improve profit your business generates

Fuel and gas prices are a major cost for work truck fleets whether they run vans, pickups or trucks. Insurance, fuel, maintenance, and driver salaries all cost businesses with fleet service trucks a hefty sum of money.  

With the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, crude oil prices soared, leading to higher pump prices in the U.S. As of March 9, 2022, diesel fuel rose to $4.88 per gallon from only $2.63 per gallon in January, 2021.. The average cost for a gallon of regular gas in the United States was $4.25 per gallon, according to AAA. The price is up more than 78 cents from the previous months. Costs are expected to continue to rise throughout the year.

California drivers suffered the highest gas prices at $5.57 per gallon. Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Illinois followed with the highest gas prices in the US.

 Fuel is a fleet’s second-largest annual expense. Research shows that fuel costs represent about 60% of a company’s operating budget. Managing this expense is crucial to staying within your budget and turning a profit. Fleet managers should look for ways to increase fuel and engine efficiency and decrease overall spending.

These growing fuel costs can make it difficult for your service fleet business to stay profitable. As a fleet manager or business owner, you need tactics to reduce fuel costs. Here are 12 ways to reduce gas costs for your business. Making these changes in operation can help your delivery fleet save fuel and stick to your projected budget for 2022.

1. Train Drivers to Avoid Aggressive Driving

Drivers who are trained to actively boost fuel efficiency can make all the difference in your fleet’s budget. 

Aggressive driving can increase fuel consumption. Aggressive driving means behaviors like accelerating too rapidly, speeding, braking too quickly and taking corners too sharply.

Your driver training program should include teaching drivers to curb aggressive driving habits, as this will reduce fuel consumption and improve road safety. AI Dashcams like the GPS Trackit VidFleet can remind drivers to reduce wasteful driving with a verbal warning.

Aggressive driving from your fleet drivers can reduce your fleet’s fuel economy by 20% to 30%.

Weaving in and out of traffic, sudden bursts of acceleration to beat lights, and driving above the speed limit are not only unsafe but can hurt your fleet’s efforts to save fuel. Make sure your field service driver training emphasizes the importance of safe and responsible driving.

2. Cut Engine Idle Time

A vehicle idling is a vehicle wasting money. By cutting the engine during long periods of waiting, you can save gas and significantly reduce waste. Remind drivers to be conscious of the amount of time they will spend loading and unloading a vehicle and ask that they leave the engine off when not in use. 

Amazingly, it’s estimated that about $12 billion is spent a year on idling. If you don’t already have it, using fleet management software to monitor idle time can give you valuable insights into how much fuel your fleet is wasting by idling.

3. Avoid Rapid Acceleration or Speeding

the most efficient speed you can travel in a car in terms of achieving the best fuel economy is 55-65mph. Any faster, though, and the fuel efficiency decreases rapidly. For example, driving at 85mph uses 40% more fuel than at 70mph (oh, and it’s illegal too).

4. Avoid Crowded Highways During Rush Hours

Plan ahead to avoid travelling during the most congested periods of traffic. Stop-start driving is among the most fuel intensive forms of vehicle travel.

Using GPS tracking devices with route suggestions will help your truck drivers avoid traffic congestion that can reduce fuel efficiency. A study from University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), showed that traffic congestion due to gridlock can reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy by 20% to 40%.

5. Use the A/C Only When Necessary

Sometimes air conditioning cannot be avoided, especially when the weather calls for its use to keep temperatures bearable while driving. As one of the heaviest drains on fuel economy, the A/C should be used sparingly and only when a driver is occupying the vehicle. 

Leaving the engine running with the A/C on is both wasteful and detrimental to your business profits. As reported by the Government of Canada, Air-conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 20% because of the extra load on the engine. The actual load depends on the vehicle’s interior size, the outdoor temperature and other conditions.

There’s a misconception that opening the windows on your truck for ventilation creates so much air drag that your gas mileage falls further than it would if you use the AC. 

Consumer Reports tested a Honda Accord along a test track at 65 mph.  Using the air conditioning to keep the car cool impacted gas mileage by about 3 mpg. Keeping the windows open on the other hand, did not hurt gas mileage enough to be measured.

6. Monitor Vehicle Mileage

Keeping tabs on the mileage your fleet puts on the road is a great way to monitor fuel efficiency. If you already use fleet management software, you can easily export reports that show you how much fuel each vehicle used in a given period of time. You can also compare this data with previous months or years to get an idea of whether there are any trends that need correcting.

7. Use GPS Tracking

GPS tracking devices allow you to monitor driver behavior and see at a glance where each vehicle is located at any given time. This information can be invaluable when it comes to optimizing your fleet’s performance and reducing costs.

According to Automotive Fleet, only 30-40% of fleets are using a telematics solution. With all of the cost-saving benefits, why are more fleets not taking advantage of GPS tracking and fleet management solutions?

Fleet management telematics allows for real-time monitoring of driver behavior, including speeding, hard braking, and sudden stops. By using telematics technology in conjunction with GPS tracking, you can get a better picture of what is going on inside your vehicles during operation hours and address any issues before they become problems.

Driver scorecards allow you to see every driver’s rating for safe driving, speeding, aggressive driving, idling and other behaviors. Driver scorecards can help you identify and train drivers who need to improve their driving to save fuel. When you track driving habits, you can start to implement and enforce safety policies with your drivers. Good driving habits like observing speed limits, staying on-route, and reducing idling all combine to save money across your entire fleet.

Are you ready to learn more? Talk to a Fleet Advisor today.

8. Consider Electric Trucks

Not long ago, electric trucks were infeasible, given their high costs. However, that’s quickly changing, and electric trucks are fast becoming economically competitive. By 2030, it’s estimated that the total cost of ownership for electric freight trucks could be 50% cheaper than diesel trucks. 

In fact, researchers have found that Class 8 long-haul electric trucks already have a lower total cost of ownership than similar diesel models today. Recently, Amazon announced that it was buying 100,000 electric trucks.

9. Use the Right Lubricants

Using the right lubricants for your fleet vehicles can help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. By using greases that are made from natural or recycled materials, you can reduce waste and cut down on harmful emissions. You can also save money by using these greases instead of regular petroleum-based ones.

In fact, upgrading your engine oil could bring a 3% improvement in fuel economy.

10. Use the Right Tires

The type of tire you use on your fleet vehicles can have a surprising impact on fuel efficiency. You can also improve gas mileage by choosing low rolling resistance tires.

11. Proper Tire Inflation

By simply ensuring that all tires on your fleet vehicles are properly inflated to the recommended level, you can begin to save hundreds on your fuel costs. A properly inflated tire allows the vehicle to operate more efficiently, helping you save on fuel.

In fact, an NHTSA study showed that every 1% decrease in tire pressure correlated to a 0.3% reduction in fuel economy. Underinflated tires are a common issue, and in one survey of over 200 employees, employees’ tires were underinflated by an average of 7 percent. Underinflated tires also increase maintenance costs by reducing tread life.

12. Use Fuel Cards to Fight Rising Gas Prices

With inflation and overseas wars constantly raising prices, it makes sense to compare prices from your fuel suppliers. Choosing one affordable supplier for all vehicles can help drivers to avoid fueling at gas stations with the highest prices. Requiring drivers to fuel at the start of the work day near their starting point can avoid delays in getting to customers on time.

Every time drivers stop at a gas station, their choices affect fuel costs. If fleet managers direct their drivers toward a selected fueling station, emphasize keeping fill-up costs low, and track pricing, they can save money.

Fleet fuel cards also help your fleet business to reduce costs. They make it easier to track transactions and understand how much is being spent. Businesses can monitor which fuel grades drivers choose, and the number of gallons they pump. Plus you can integrate that data with your GPS tracking tools. Fuel card programs can ensure your drivers use specifically branded filling stations, provide discounts, prevent fraud, and regulate expenses.

As with any business, fleet operation comes with its own inherent costs. However, there are a few minor changes in operation that can help your fleet save fuel and stick to your projected budget for 2022.

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.

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