Every year, a single commercial truck can consume more than $70,000 worth of diesel fuel. In fact, fuel is one of the highest costs of managing a fleet of commercial trucks.
For this reason, fleet managers are constantly searching for ways to lower fuel costs and improve fuel efficiencies.
To cut down on fuel costs, check out the following fuel management tips for your fleet. These tips are aimed at providing you with practical ways you can help cut down on this variable cost of doing business and raise profits.
1: Properly Maintain Your Fleet
Fleet managers understand the fuel management begins with maintenance. When your fleet is not properly maintained, your fuel efficiency will suffer.
In fact, just a few common maintenance services can go a long way in cutting down on fuel consumption. Check out these stats from the U.S. Department of Energy:
- Tuning up a vehicle or fixing a vehicle that has failed an emission test can improve its fuel efficiency by an average of 4%.
- Fixing serious maintenance problems, such as a faulty oxygen sensor can contribute to improved fuel efficiency by up to 40%.
- Properly inflated tires can improve fuel efficiency between .6% - 3%.
- Using the right grade motor oil can improve fuel efficiency by 1%-2%.
While each of these may seem small on its own, combined together and measured over time, maintenance can be a critical fuel saver.
Proper fleet maintenance begins with proper documentation. Make sure that you are keeping clear records on your fleet vehicle maintenance. This will help ensure that vehicles are brought in for routine maintenance.
Over time, you can begin to reduce fuel consumption simply by taking care of your vehicles. More importantly, proper maintenance will also improve safety on the road and reduce driver risks.
2: Watch Your Drivers’ Speeds
According to the American Trucking Association, you can greatly reduce fuel consumption in your fleet simply by ensuring that truck drivers are traveling at appropriate speeds. A truck that is traveling at 75 mph will actually consume 26% more fuel than a truck that travels at 65 mph.
In this way, you can dramatically reduce your fleet fuel costs by requiring drivers to stick to lower speeds.
The good news is that modern technology makes it easier than ever before for you to track the speed of your drivers. By using an on-board monitoring system, you can record drivers’ speeds. Over time, you can analyze the data and notice where fuel costs are spiking with increased speeds.
This can help you determine the best policies for your driving team to optimize fuel efficiency while still ensuring on-time delivery.
3: Don’t Let Your Team Sit Idle
According to Samsara, another important way to reduce fuel costs is to prevent or limit truck idling. By limiting the amount of time trucks spend idling, it is estimated that you could save approximately $6,000 per truck per year.
Once again, on-board monitoring systems can help you better understand how much time your fleet spends idling. From here, you can start to look for areas of improvement. Often, reducing idling simply comes down to teaching your drivers to nix this habit.
4: Create Smart Travel Strategies
The less time your truck drivers spend trapped in stop-and-go traffic or backtracking on their routes, the lower your fuel costs.
For this reason, it is important to analyze your current route strategies. Are you sending your truck drivers down the most efficient paths for their deliveries? Could you avoid traffic jams by taking alternate routes, or could you split up routes to create a more efficient flow?
Using GPS trackers, gather data on the routes your drivers are taking each day. Over time, work to optimize these routes to reduce fuel consumption.
5: Invest in Driver Training
In a report by FleetOwner, one of the leading factors in fuel efficiency is actually the skill of the driver. Skilled drivers can actually cause an increase of 35% in fuel efficiency when compared to less-skilled truck drivers.
For this reason, investing in driver training is an effective way at managing fuel costs for your fleet.
Each quarter, consider implementing a training program for your drivers that teaches critical skills in reducing fuel usage. For example, you can teach your drivers to reduce their speed, limit idling time, and look for more effective routes to prevent fuel waste.
As a bonus, you can combine safety training with fuel efficiency training, creating a well-rounded course.
6: Purchase Newer, More Fuel Efficient Vehicles
Despite good maintenance, better driver habits, as well as improved route tracking, the reality is that an older commercial truck will burn more fuel than a newer vehicle.
Take the time to track and analyze which of your fleet’s trucks are guzzling the most diesel. If you notice a trend in the older vehicles in your fleet, consider trading them in for newer more fuel-efficient models.
Down the road, this investment can pay for itself as you cut down on fuel costs. Also, a newer commercial truck will require less maintenance and downtime in the shop, which can also contribute to lowered fleet management costs.
Visit Transwest for All Your Commercial Fleet Needs
Whether it’s time to purchase a newer more fuel-efficient commercial truck for your fleet, or you need to schedule routine maintenance to get the most out of an existing fleet vehicle, our team is here to help.
At Transwest, we offer a quality inventory of commercial fleet vehicles, and our service center is equipped to handle all of your ongoing maintenance needs. Come visit our team today to learn more about how we can help you manage your fleet’s fuel consumption.
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