8 Ways for Fleet Vehicle Owners to Reduce Fuel Consumption
In this day and age with many individuals and businesses looking to make cost savings both to help with saving money, as well as helping to lower our own impact on the environment.
We thought it may be worth looking at some of the ways we can all benefit from reducing the amount of fuel we consume from our own routine travel, whether that be for social commuting or business journeys.
If you drive a commercial vehicle or passenger vehicle, see how many of our 8 tips you could implement today to help reduce your own fuel consumption.
Annual fleet costs are rising and therefore it is important for fleet managers to reduce fuel consumption wherever possible. The instability of the oil market doesn’t help and that’s why we’ve produced these tips to reduce fuel consumption.
1. Track traffic congestion
One of the biggest impacts on the journeys we make on a daily basis is traffic jams. Nobody enjoys them, with an article on the BBC website suggesting in 2017, people in London spending an average of 74 hours in traffic, with people in Manchester coming second with 39 hours.
A not too insignificant amount of time for anybody, but especially unhelpful for businesses who are paying their employees to sit in traffic unable to get anywhere.
Then there’s the constant accelerating and braking in traffic, which uses more fuel. Therefore, it is important to know where the traffic hotspots are and to try and avoid those routes during the day when traffic is known to build up.
2. Deploy GPS units and/or route-planning software
There was a time when we all had to rely on our own local knowledge in order to avoid traffic hotspots. Of course, it could be said that there were fewer cars on the roads. But traffic has been a growing problem for many years and doesn’t look to be getting any better.
For many businesses, an off the shelf GPS SatNav is a great way of helping to highlight traffic issues along your route in order to try and avoid any hold-ups.
However, for larger fleet owners such as couriers and haulage firms who’s vehicles will be expected to do many thousands of miles a week. A dedicated route planning software and hardware in their vehicles can help to map out their drop-offs throughout the day and help them to map out the best route on the fly throughout the day.
But if your fleets travel regular routes, it may not always be possible for you to avoid the traffic hotspots, especially if you’re limited to which roads and routes you can use, unless you want to add many more miles to your journey taking detours.
There are numerous options available which have their pros and cons, but they do offer many advanced options which are not available to standard GPS SatNav units available to the domestic market.
There will be a higher cost to running such systems, but for those with larger fleets of vehicles, the potential benefits and savings will be multiplied across their fleet making this more cost-effective.
All of the different options will have their own functionality and capabilities, so picking the right option for your business will come down to price, on-going costs and the functionality your business requires.
Some of the functionality within these units could include;
- Asset tracking
- Driver safety alerts
- Fuel tracking
- GPS location tracking
- Heat map of driver locations
- Proof of delivery
- Route optimisation
- Routing and dispatch
- Routing reports and analytics
- Traffic awareness
- Two-way messaging with drivers
- Vehicle maintenance
- Vehicle diagnostics
You’ll need to check each model and manufacturer for actual specifications to ensure they contain the functionality your business requires.
3. Keep your vehicles properly serviced
If you’re a vehicle owner, it can be all too easy to let the regular yearly service slip. But for commercial vehicle owners and fleet operators, the cost of missing a vehicle service is multiplied across all of their vehicles.
A service is often considered an added expensive many of us could do without, but it could help to increase the miles per gallon you get from every tank of fuel and help to spot any potential issues before they get worse.
Of course, it’s important to try and find the best prices on the fuels and lubricants you’re buying. But when a service could also help increase your vehicles MPG from every tank of fuel. As well as ensure your vehicles remain on the road longer, by avoiding any unplanned maintenance.
4. Avoid waiting at toll booths
An article from 2013 on the Fleet News website which quoted research by Fleetmatics Group, suggested that the 4.5 million vehicles owned by businesses in the UK and Ireland were wasting up to £3.3 billion in fuel per year by allowing their engines to idle.
So, if you’re a regular at toll booths, whether that be on the M6 toll road and other roads and bridges and often queue at the toll booths waiting to pay. It may be time to look at using an electronic pay booth if available, instead of queuing with the other traffic in order to pay.
Queuing, whether that be at toll booths or in traffic jams will be adding to your overall fuel consumption figures. So if you can’t cut your engine whilst you’re queuing, you may need to consider alternative routes or plan your journeys better in order to avoid busy times of the day on the toll roads along your planned journeys.
5. Study your miles per litre/gallon
Unfortunately, as vehicles get older the manufacturers suggested fuel consumption figures, be that miles per litre or miles per gallon (MPG) become more and more difficult to maintain.
However, if you run a fleet of vehicles and you’re keeping your vehicles regularly serviced. You should be confident that your vehicles should still be achieving a decent MPG overall.
If your business uses fuel cards, it should be easy to monitor your fuel spending per vehicle which you can compare with the vehicles mileage logs.
This data could help you to unearth issues with your vehicles, from simple things such as constantly under-inflated tyres which can increase your fuel consumption and in turn, your costs.
It could also point towards other problems with your engines and vehicles as a whole, so it’s well worth monitoring this data on a regular basis to both understand your fuel usage and costs and to ensure a regular maintenance schedule is maintained.
Of course, different usage such as town journeys and motorway journeys will not use fuel in the same way. But if the vehicles are doing regular routes, it may be easier to pick up on issues with the vehicles.
6. Study your routes
For smaller transportation and delivery fleets that operate in urban areas can often benefit from conducting trial runs. This will allow you to find the shortest route. Sometimes it may be more beneficial to take a longer route that has less traffic congestion.
However, these days even the smallest of businesses have access to cheap and efficient SatNav technology for use within your fleet of vehicles. Google Maps is also available on smartphones, offering a free option (not including data).
7. Look for recurring themes
If your vehicles are regularly maintained and you’re confident that any increase in fuel costs are not due to poor route management, especially if your vehicles are operating on the same or similar routes.
Then other factors such as traffic could be impacting your fuel consumption as well as the driving style of your employees. Looking at fuel consumption across your fleet may lead to discovering driving trends such a speeding.
8. Offer driver incentives
It can make a real difference to your fuel consumption by rewarding your drivers for good performance. This will make your drivers compare driving techniques to get a reward.
If you’re a fleet manager or owner and looking for help with your fleet’s fuel requirements. Speak to our fuel experts today by calling us today on 0330 678 0880 to see how Nationwide Fuels can help your business.