Let’s face it: fuel is vital for fleet vehicles, but costly for fleet organisations. Fuel is often one of the costliest expenses for fleets today. Are you currently optimising your fuel? In this post, learn the top four tips for saving money while at the fuel pump:
Tip #1: Use less fuel with improved security and accountability
By tracking authorised vehicles and employees at the fuel pump, theft and misuse of fuel can be prevented or kept to a minimum. Technology, including a Keyfob or HID card, can verify who is using the fuel and the WAF (Wireless Automated Fuelling) establishes which vehicle is filling at the pump.
Fleet managers should consider running exception reports which help identify and address fueling transactions that appear to be outside of policy. Automated notifications based on these exceptions help give managers the data they need to promptly address questionable fueling activity.
Tip #2: Use different fuels by integrating alternative fuels
Using alternative fuels, like compressed natural gas (CNG), has a number of benefits for fleet organisations. Beyond having a positive impact on the environment, alternative fuels can also reduce operating costs.
Alternative fuel can be cost-effective in the long run, but there are other items to consider. Upfront expenses may be costly, including the price of fueling infrastructure. New or expanded facilities, like a CNG station, can cost upwards of $1.5 million! Depending on the types of alternative fuel used, organisations may face additional costs, like expensive fleet vehicles or engines, increased inspections of tanks or equipment, and additional training for technicians.
Tip #3: Use cheaper fuel with alternative purchasing and billing options
Fuel hedging establishes a contract that locks in a pre-negotiated price and quantity for months or years at a time. If the price goes up, the organisation is already contracted for a lower rate which saves them money. While fleets also run the risk of paying a higher rate if fuel prices drop, there is often a larger benefit- a stable, predictable fuel budget!
Many fleet organisations have centralised fuel purchasing for their organisation and then calculate an average cost for the various departments that use fuel. While this is a simple way to share costs, it is not always the most cost-effective. Directly billing departments for the fuel they use helps to retrieve correct fuel costs. This also provides an incentive for each department to improve upon its fuel usage for specific vehicles.
Tip #4: Save on maintenance with improved communication at the pump
Fuel pumps can be a communication tool between the maintenance department and vehicle operators. They can require vehicle operators to enter important data, like vehicle numbers and meter readings. In turn, drivers can receive data from the fuel pump when they stop to fill up, like alerts that preventive maintenance (PM) is due. Integrated fleet and fuel give management additional tools to streamline maintenance, like the ability to restrict fuelling if PM is overdue or if an invalid reading is entered.
Tip #5: Optimise preventive maintenance schedules
The main objective of a planned preventive maintenance (PM) schedule is to improve the overall safety and performance of fleet vehicles. While regular fleet maintenance may seem costly, responding to maintenance reactively typically costs fleet organizations more over the long-term. When fleet vehicles are properly maintained and running optimally, their fuel efficiency increases. Examples of PM work that improves fuel efficiency include: changing air filters, receiving regular oil changes (with the correct oil), and even cleaning out the vehicle.
Tip #6: Reduce idling with GPS/Telematics
GPS fleet tracking allows you to cut down on fuel costs by eliminating unnecessary bad habits like idling. Idling can eat up a gallon of fuel per hour. Over-idling not only eats up fuel costs, but it is harmful to the engine as well and increases the chances of unscheduled maintenance.
Tip #7: Avoid fuel costs altogether with an electric vehicle fleet
While it may seem obvious, if fleets want to save on fuel, moving forward with an electric vehicle fleet may be the best strategy. Overall, it is believed that EVs offer a much lower total cost of ownership when compared to ICE vehicles. Besides the obvious savings in fuel costs, EVs feature significantly fewer moving parts, no exhaust system, no oil changes, regenerative braking to extend the lifespan of the braking system, and higher safety ratings, along with advanced safety features, helping to prevent the likelihood of accidents.
Looking to improve your fuel management operations?
As fuel costs continue to fluctuate, it’s imperative for fleet managers to continue exploring how to save money. Today’s technology gives managers the tools, like improved communication, increased security and alternative fuels to creatively cut costs while moving their operations forward.
AssetWorks FuelFocus fuel management system helps organisations manage consumable assets across their enterprise. FuelFocus processes the issue, receipt and transfer of all fuel and fluid consumables, including commercially purchased fuel. When integrated with AssetWorks FleetFocus, data captured by FuelFocus (like odometer readings and hour meters) can be validated in real-time against values stored in a single, centralised database.