Gas Guzzling, Be Gone: Reduce Fuel Costs With Fleet Management Software

Business.com / Business Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

What is the number one budgeting concern most fleets have to address? The answer, no matter what fleet you talk to, is the same.

What is the No. 1 budgeting concern most fleets have to address?

The answer, no matter what fleet you talk to, is likely fuel costs. Fuel costs are constantly changing, even when budgets are fixed, and those changes are rarely positive for the fleet.

If your fleet is looking for a way to lower costs, then consider installing fleet management software. With fleet management, you can easily lower fuel costs consistently, helping control your expenses a bit in an area where control is difficult.

Related Article: Debunking Common GPS Fleet Tracking Myths

1. Avoid High-Traffic Areas

Similar to idling, when your trucks are stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you are using fuel ineffectively. Fleet management software can help. GPS tracking technology allows these systems to monitor traffic patterns, helping drivers and fleet management professionals avoid heavy traffic or unexpected traffic delays.

The right fleet management software program can show you where traffic concerns are on your route, and allow you to route drivers accordingly. You can also learn when peak travel times on major roads are, and find ways around those. Avoiding traffic will increase your fuel economy, and also help get your drivers where they need to be more quickly.

2. Curbing Negative Driver Behaviors

How efficient are your drivers? If you don't know, you could have increased fuel costs because of poor driving behaviors.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that improving driving behavior can boost fuel economy by 10 percent, and up to 20 percent if drivers are particularly aggressive. Hard stops and starts, excessive idling and speeding can all attribute to excess fuel usage.

What types of driving behaviors can you improve with fleet management? Consider:

  • Reckless starts and stops
  • Speeding
  • Excess idling
  • Hard braking 

Often, drivers are not aware of the impact these behaviors have on their fuel use, and fleet management software allows you to educate those who need a little bit more education.

3. Choosing the Most Efficient Route

The most efficient route from one location to the next is not always the most obvious route. Fleet management software lets you automatically send your drivers on the most efficient route.

UPS already does this. According to Fleet Equipment Magazine, a decade ago, UPS designed its routes using GPS technology, to have as few left-hand turns as possible.

Why? Because turning left often means waiting for oncoming traffic, and waiting means increased idle time. This route plan has saved an estimated 10 million gallons of fuel over the years, and any UPS customer will tell you it has not impacted the timing of deliveries.

4. Improved Maintenance to Boost Efficiency

Vehicles that are properly maintained are more efficient than those that are not. Tire pressure, for instance, greatly impacts a car's efficiency with every 1 pound per square inch drop adding up to a 0.4 percent drop in fuel efficiency.

Today's fleet management programs allow drivers or fleet managers to schedule maintenance alerts and even motion vehicles for signs of efficiency problems. By using these tools, you can ensure that your fleet is working as resourcefully as possible, and limit the chances that you will overlook important maintenance accidentally.

5. Choosing the Right Driver

For service-oriented fleets that regularly dispatch drivers to their customer locations, fleet tracking is vital. Fleet tracking programming allows these fleets to choose the right driver when a service need arises.

By simply selecting the driver that is closest to the next service location, fleets can significantly reduce the amount they spend on fuel.

6. Cutting Unauthorized Miles

When drivers leave your facility, do you have confidence that they are only traveling to the location you are sending them to, and not making personal stops? Those additional stops yield significant fuel costs.

Remotely tracking your vehicles allows you to know when they are being used outside of your requested routes. Putting a stop to this behavior means better fuel efficiency.

Running a fleet is a costly endeavor. Fuel efficiency is one area where, with the right fleet management programming, you can lower some costs. Consider adding fleet tracking to your fleet's operations, and watch as the fuel savings start to add up.

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