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Fuel is the burning question: Private fleet poll
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., (May 27, 2005) -- Private trucking fleets in the U.S. say escalating fuel costs is their number one concern. Unlike the for-hire sector, private carriers don't have the option of raising rates to mitigate the impact of fuel price hikes, making fuel economy and cost control the paramount issue at their companies, says a survey commissioned by First Fleet Corp. -- a provider of asset management support to private truck fleets. "The hottest topic in the trucking industry is finding new solutions to reduce fuel consumption and ways to lessen the impact of soaring prices on fleet profit margins. In the ongoing cost control war, private truck fleets are constantly looking for new ways to rein in operating expenses. First Fleet advises our customers, based on extensive research, to review operating methods to lower current fuel consumption and adjust the specs on their new truck orders to counteract the impact new engine emissions standards will have on their fleet operating costs," said John Flynn, President & CEO, First Fleet Corporation. The survey, which polled fleet operations managers for Fortune 500-level companies, says that in order to manage costs 48 percent of those polled said they are using on-site fueling stations, while 38 percent have negotiated rates with oil companies. In addition to fuel management, the survey addressed two other industry issues -- maintenance service, being one. Fleet managers said that maintaining their truck fleets at optimum operating condition is a major focus; the most important concern is how and where maintenance is performed. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said they have on-site maintenance facilities, with 23 percent outsourcing maintenance and repair services to contractors' facilities. Forty-two percent of the respondents solved this challenge by using a balanced combination of company-run shops and outside facilities. The survey also posed a question about the reliability of new equipment purchased in the last two years compared to older equipment. This resulted in a dead heat: 38 percent of respondents believe newer trucks are more reliable, while 38 percent said new trucks are just as reliable as older trucks. Only 15 percent thought new trucks are less reliable than older ones. Survey respondents were very upfront with their written responses when asked about the most critical issues facing fleet management today. Maintenance and fuel conservation were top concerns. In addition, the ongoing shortage of qualified drivers and the resulting rising cost of drivers' salaries, a topic on First Fleet's previous survey, was a concern that inspired written comments on many survey responses. For a full summary of the First Fleet National Survey of Fleet Managers, visit the Web site: http://ffcsurvey.starmark.com.
 
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