Fleet Fuel Savings and How to achieve it!
Fleet fuel savings – What are the five most expensive costs for truck fleets?
- People (wages, vacation time, 401K contribution, healthcare)
- Equipment and Equipment Maintenance
- Land / Buildings / Upkeep
- Legal Defense / Compliance
While we could debate what order these costs should be in, most companies would agree that the most profitable companies are the ones who understand and manage these costs closely. While all of these topics deserve attention, fuel costs per fleet can range drastically, more so than many people would think. So why do some companies pay less and others pay more for the same commodity? To get to the answer we must look past just the price per gallon and dig deeper into not just the cost per gallon, but how the fuel is used.
We are starting to see fuel costs slowly climb at the pump and diesel prices are predicted to increase over the next year, that said, it is critical for fleet managers to do everything they can control fuel costs for their companies. Common metrics for fuel costs are miles per gallon, gallons per trip, idle time and gallons, gallons per truck per month, fleet total miles and gallons and more. Comparing one truck to another truck and one driver to another driver can lead to competition among drivers, but remember, there are many more variables that need to be considered or drivers may feel like they are being treated unfairly. We need to take into account a variety of issues when we do comparisons. Items to take into consideration are:
- Total trailer weight
- Percent of time in city and highway driving
- Time in top gear
- Cruise control usage
- Weather (extreme cold or hot)
- Experience of the vehicle operator (unfamiliar with route, getting lost, shortest route taken, trying to turn around in less than ideal circumstances, etc.).
You don’t need a degree in statistics or economics. Just basic knowledge about mileage, fuel costs and idle time. Looking at data for each truck will help pinpoint cost savings opportunities like finding trucks that need maintenance or identifying drivers that require more training backing, braking, accelerating, timing lights, or keeping steady RPM.
Tips for Managing Fuel Costs. Below are several examples of metrics or areas where time and training can be focused:
- Progressive Shifting
- Coasting to stops, reduce the need to brake
- Maximum Speed
- Surging vs. steady mph
- Pre/Post Trip Tire Pressure
- Timing Lights
- Percent Cruise Control
- Following Distance
- Idle Measurement
- Time in Top Gear
- Anticipating merging traffic
- Time of day (nights usually have much less traffic, avoid rush hour traffic if possible) Peer Feedback / MPG challenges / Rewards
- Team Goals
Suggestions for ways to use weave these fuel savings ideas into your driver’s daily performance:
- Identify seasoned drivers with excellent fuel usage and have new or poor performing drivers “ride along” and learn how skilled drivers save fuel and are easier on equipment.
- Have a “fuel expert” on your team, again, a seasoned driver who performs at levels you want your entire team at, ride with new or poor performing drivers so they can make suggestions on improvement.
- Create simple incentives, based on positive improvement, to help build morale and encourage healthy competition. If done right, the entire team will have a fun and rewarding experience saving as much fuel as possible for the company (while still meeting delivery time objectives of course). Keep in mind, little changes in attitudes and performance can net big savings for the Company.
- Watch training videos in you weekly meetings and talk and share ideas for improvement.
- Show results so everyone can see the changes they are involved in are paying off.
Drivers are the backbone of your business and happy productive drivers are vitally important and also get them involved. They’re paramount to helping you achieve your fuel reduction goal. So, offering incentives can get them involved in fuel savings as well.
Incentive ideas could include graduated rewards when they meet milestones to fuel savings. For instance, if they achieve a 3% savings in fuel cost for their truck that month, give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Then they have to hit 5% or more savings a lunch or dinner out on the company (gift card for example). Once they achieve 6% fuel savings, enter them in a drawing for a paid weekend getaway.
When funds are tight, a simple trophy that is passed around for different milestone works too. Changing the monthly winner helps build your team, but avoid negative feedback. The old adage you get more with honey than vinegar really applies here.
Want to try or would like to share success stories? Call us, we would love to help and hear your success stories! iGlobal LLC 1-877-822-8855 and ask for Sales.