It’s no secret to any fleet manager this year that gas prices have been very high for quite a while. Unfortunately, President Biden has said that this is not likely to change until sometime in 2022. Experts say this is because the price of crude oil has reached above $80 per barrel for the first time since 2014. That is twice what it was at this time last year. The price of crude oil accounts for about 50-60 percent of the price you pay at the pump, meaning that this cost trickles down to consumers very quickly. And of course, as with many of the rising prices at this time, the Covid-19 pandemic also plays a part. As more and more people return to the roads, supply issues also plague the chain.
Hearing that gas prices will remain high is bad news, but it doesn’t mean fleets are helpless. There are lots of steps that you can take to lower your fuel consumption and even save money at the pump. In this article, we will break down some of those steps so you can combat the rising fuel prices that we are currently facing.
Use Route Planning Software
Route planning software is one of the best ways to reduce your fleet’s fuel use. This technology uses algorithms, machine learning, historical data, and telematics to get your drivers to their destination in the most fuel-efficient way possible, including all necessary stops along the way. It can detect where you may run into traffic, construction sites, school zones, or other delays that slow you down and waste your fuel. Furthermore, it also helps you ensure you have just the right amount of vehicles on the road, so you’re not wasting resources, and one vehicle doesn’t have too many or too few stops, rendering it inefficient. Route planning software can cut your fuel use down significantly, so you can cut your gas spending down even as the prices remain high in the new year.
You may be surprised at how large an effect driver behavior has on your fleet’s gas bill. One of the most significant ways this comes to fruition is in speeding. Naturally, there are many reasons your fleet drivers shouldn’t be speeding. Most importantly, it’s not safe for your drivers or anyone else on the road.
High-speed accidents are more likely to result in injuries and even death than accidents at lower speeds. Furthermore, accidents that result from your drivers’ speeding can result in hefty fines for your fleet and hurt your business’s reputation. On top of all of this, another result of speeding is that it wastes fuel. Every five miles per hour that your drivers travel over 50 miles per hour, you’re paying an additional $0.20 per gallon of gas.
Therefore, it is crucial to reduce speeding in your fleet. While you can’t be in the passenger seat with your drivers, there are actions you can take to reduce speeding in your fleet. The first step you must take is enacting a strict speeding policy over your drivers and ensuring that you communicate it properly to everyone behind the wheel. The second step is enforcing it. You can use telematics and technology like Azuga SpeedSafe to track your drivers’ speed and ensure it stays within acceptable parameters.
Speeding isn’t the only driver behavior that inflates your fleet’s gas prices. Idling is another mistake that your drivers may be making that hurts your fleet’s budget. This problem is significant; idling a truck wastes about 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour. And there are lots of times that your drivers may be idling throughout the day. For example, if they’re stuck in traffic for a long time or if they’re taking a break in their car. They may even be idling in their car if they’re waiting on customers or other workers.
Luckily, the steps you can take to reduce idling are similar to those you take to reduce speeding. First, you must communicate to your drivers the impact of idling on your fleet. Then, you can track idling with fleet management software. Telematics can tell you not only how long each vehicle in your fleet spends idling but also how much fuel you’re wasting doing so. This way, you can take targeted action to reduce idling armed with information about how it affects the business.
Promote Safe Driving Behavior
All kinds of driving behavior can lead to fuel waste. In general, it’s always a good idea to promote safe driving behavior among your fleet. Of course, it keeps your drivers out of accidents, keeps them out of danger, saves your fleet money, and maintains your business’s good reputation. If your drivers are regularly slamming on the accelerator or hitting the brakes, your gas mileage will definitely be affected. Limiting this behavior is crucial for keeping your fleet safe and saving your bottom line.
As with idling and speeding, telematics can track this behavior and help you nip it in the bud. You can also employ technology like Azuga Coach. This program uses data from Azuga Coach to determine what issues drivers are having and provide targeted coaching explicitly based on the issues drivers are having. This means that drivers can focus their energy on improving where they need to improve. Once your drivers have eliminated idling, speeding, and other dangerous driving behaviors, you’ll find that you’re saving a lot of money on fuel.
Keep Vehicles Well Maintained
It’s no secret that one way to save fuel is to ensure that your vehicles are running efficiently. If your vehicles have malfunctioning parts, you may run into issues where your fuel is simply going to waste. Tires are of particular concern when you’re worried about fuel economy. When tires aren’t correctly inflated or aligned, trucks require more effort to travel and, therefore, more fuel to keep moving. That’s simply a waste, and it’s such an easy fix.
With fleet maintenance software, you can get scheduled maintenance alerts to tell you exactly when your vehicles have issues that need attention. For example, if your tires are not correctly inflated, you’ll get an alert so you can rectify the problem right away. Furthermore, scheduled maintenance helps you keep up with your vehicle’s regular maintenance appointments, so they never fall behind and into disrepair that costs your business more money. Keeping your vehicles in good shape saves your business money by promoting good fuel economy and protecting you from costly repairs that may crop up later down the road.
Use a Fuel Card
Fuel cards give fleets a much-needed break on their fuel costs in various ways. A fleet management gas card helps fleets by allowing them to both manage what drivers spend at the pump and to obtain discounts. There are several advantages to gas cards that lead to savings on fuel. We will go over them in this section.
Whenever you obtain a fleet fuel card, it comes with a network of gas stations where your card will get your drivers a discount on fuel. This discount can be anywhere from three to ten cents per gallon, depending on the card that you choose for your fleet. It may not sound like much, but when you have dozens to hundreds of drivers filling up trucks or semis, you’ll find that those savings add up very quickly. Make sure you do your research before picking a card for your fleet because some cards may cost up to $10.
Of course, you never want to babysit your drivers, but the fact remains that sometimes drivers steal from their employers. Over time, this can end up costing you a lot of money. There are a few ways employees can steal from their employers at gas stations. They may siphon gas from the company vehicle for personal use or overfill into another container or buy fuel directly for an unauthorized personal vehicle. It may even be as simple as purchasing unauthorized snacks and drinks from a gas station store.
Luckily, fuel cards can prevent all of these manners of theft by helping you monitor how money is spent at the pump. You can even add a layer of security by having drivers enter their identification numbers to make a purchase. These features make it easy for you to track all necessary data in the fuel card’s app or website.
If you’ve been trying to keep track of your receipts and credit card statements for all of the vehicles for your fleet, you know how hard and tedious it is to do so. You have plenty of other tasks on your hands without having to worry about tracking down little pieces of paper or scouring through endless lines of data on a cluttered credit card statement. Your business simply may not have the time or resources to handle that kind of task anymore, and if you can’t track what you’re spending on fuel costs, you certainly can’t begin to save. Luckily, fuel cards track all of that data for you in one simple, easy-to-access mobile application or website. You can go back as far as you need with just a few simple clicks or swipes. There’s no more need to spend hours of wasted labor or hound your drivers for a missing receipt. You’re saving on fuel costs and the administrative costs it took to track all of that.
As we mentioned in the last section, to begin saving money on fuel, you need to know what you’re spending. This is where fuel card reports can help. Fuel cards help organize data regarding where the fleet’s money is going into comprehensive reports that answer any questions you may have. These reports summarize any aspect of spending that you would want to understand. For example, purchase activity reports tell you how much you are spending on fuel and maintenance for any number of vehicles. You can even customize reports to include exceptions, transaction summaries, and transaction details. If your business is tax-exempt, you can view your tax information at a glance as well. This makes it easy to find where funds may have been misused, track previous purchases, and view fuel expenses.
Start Taking Steps to Save Money on Fuel Today!
There are many options to help your fleet save money on fuel. Since fuel prices likely aren’t going to go down until some time well into 2022, it is a good idea to begin looking into options to lower your fuel consumption today. Fuel cards are an excellent place to start. Combine them with telematics technology and see how much you can save and how quickly you can begin to save! Try a demo of our fleet technology on our website. Be sure to follow our blog for more updates on fuel management, fleet technology, and the latest in the fleet industry.