Fuel is one of the biggest expenses your fleet incurs, making up around a third of a typical fleet’s running costs. But just because the numbers are big doesn’t mean you can’t do something about them.
Here’s five ways to cut your fuel bill…
1. Know your fleet
It’s important to have a full all-round working knowledge of your entire fleet including vehicles, drivers, customers, processes, systems, spend and regulations. Having this ‘bigger picture’ approach is ideal when understanding the reasons for current fuel spend.
From this, ask yourself questions such as:
- Is fuel purchased wholesale or at the pump?
- What kind of vehicles are best for your operations?
- Where and how are your fleet vehicles driven?
We know that your fleet is not exactly the same as any other, so knowing what you do and how these processes can be improved will pay dividends.
2. Monitor driver behaviour
Your fuel bill is at the mercy of your drivers – how they behave behind the wheel massively impacts how efficient your vehicles can be. Speeding, irregular gear changes and hard braking can have a negative impact on fuel economy. So reducing speed is an easy way to cut costs.
As an example of the difference it can make, take a fleet of around 150 vehicles – you could save around £30,000 per year just by getting an average 2 miles per gallon more out of your fleet simply by reducing speed. Speaking from experience, we found through our own fleet data that fuel economy increases by an average of 3 MPG after successfully running driver speed awareness programmes!
It’s safe to say that many of your drivers simply don’t realise how much fuel costs and the impact that their driving can have on this. Without good driver buy-in, you’ll be hard pushed to achieve any real changes. And getting them fully on-board is critical in creating better drivers and reducing costs.
3. Route planning
Ever heard the saying ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’? From assessing driver routes to analysing the best places to refuel your vehicles – planning ahead can potentially lead to big savings.
Being stuck in traffic is wasteful – a vehicle can use a quarter of a gallon of fuel for every 15 minutes it idles!
Telematics can play an important part in effectively managing journeys and choosing the best routes. The ability to track and monitor vehicles helps avoid congestion where possible or prevent unnecessary journey overlap.
4. The importance of maintenance management
Keeping your vehicles in A1 condition can help to reduce fuel costs. For instance, ask your drivers to carry out daily walk-round checks of their vehicles to look out for issues such as under-inflated tyres. As an example, a car with under-inflated tyres can use 3% more fuel than one with the correct pressures. Now multiply this by the number of vehicles in your fleet! Making sure that vehicles are fully serviced and maintained is also a big help in controlling fuel spend.
5. Shop around
We recommend you review how you purchase your fuel to determine the best, cost-saving options. This could be buying in bulk at wholesale prices or through the use of fuel cards (if the latter then make sure you choose the best fuel card for the needs of your fleet). Whichever option you choose, it is always worthwhile regularly reviewing your fuel purchase options to make sure that you continue to receive the best deal.
It goes without saying, keeping track of fuel spending is essential. Fuel fraud is not as uncommon as you may think – discrepancies in mileage for vehicles or sudden increase in fuel spend needs investigating. Fleet fuel management systems can play an important part in alerting to any irregularities in fuel costs, supporting a prompt and efficient investigation to quickly determine the cause.
And finally, consider the vehicles in your fleet too – a switch to alternative fuel choices such as electric or hybrid vehicles could deliver those essential cost savings without any loss in performance.