Fuel management is never far from the thoughts of fleet managers. As a major component of any trucking company’s overhead expenses, any efforts toward fuel savings can have a significant effect on their bottom line.
Luckily, there are many ways to control fuel usage and spending. By approaching the issue from a few different angles at once, you can minimize your fleet’s fuel consumption and cut costs for your company.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective means to do so:
1. Educating your drivers
One of the simplest ways to start conserving fuel is to implement a driver education initiative. Share tips with your truck drivers for keeping their fuel usage at a minimum. Avoiding double-clutching and revving, using the exhaust brake as opposed to the foot brake, cutting down on gear changes, and adjusting air deflectors to move air correctly over each new load, for example, can make a real difference.
But you can encourage drivers to go even further than that and, each day, try and incorporate a few new fuel-saving tricks into their drive — such as taking their foot off the accelerator and relying on their momentum as often as possible, or coasting to a stop at lights instead of braking. Even a detail as small as where they park overnight can mean the difference between simply pulling out onto the road again in the morning, or wasting time and gas maneuvering out of a tight spot with a cold engine.
2. Controlling fuel purchases
When it comes to buying fuel, there are also plenty of opportunities for cost cutting. Fleet managers can research fuel prices along routes and specify certain brands or locations to buy from. Another tactic is to place a limit on the amount that can be spent on fuel for any given trip, to encourage comparison-shopping. And a simple reminder to drivers not to overfill their tanks can go a long way — overfilling can cause some fuel to spill out once it heats up, and all those little spills add up.
3. Fleet management software
The most dramatic fuel savings by far, however, come through the use of fleet management software. Specific, individual solutions to monitor fuel levels, such as Omnitracs’ Exact Fuel, can do just that. Driver performance software can also have a significant impact on fuel consumption, as fleet managers can see which behaviors might be costing the company money, and perform targeted driver training to correct those behaviors.
Ideally, these three approaches to fuel management can be used in tandem, each complementing the other. The fleet management software can provide the comprehensive foundation that starts every trip with an eye on fuel management. Drivers can be given fuel-saving and fuel purchase guidelines as they depart. And finally, the real-time feedback from the software can be used to further educate and train drivers, resulting in a cycle of constant improvement — and ever-improving fuel savings.