Fuel is a large yet inconsistent expense for fleet managers to handle. According to some studies, fuel costs can consume about 20 percent of a trucking company’s budget. Also, there is very little anyone can do to affect the price, which is determined by governments, countries, and corporations. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t good practices you can use to reduce the cost of fuel for your fleet. This post will go over these tips and tricks and how you can incorporate them into your operations.
Drive the speed limit
Every vehicle is different and you should consult the operations manual for the trucks in your fleet. In general, every vehicle has a top speed at which it is the most fuel efficient. For most trucks, it is 50 miles per hour, and after that, there is a steep decline in fuel efficiency. You can increase fuel efficiency (and safety) by encouraging your drivers to keep to the posted speed limits. Adjusting your delivery schedules to accomplish this goal while accommodating your clients’ needs can help.
Promote defensive driving
In addition to following posted speed limits, you should also encourage defensive driving (i.e., avoiding erratic and aggressive driving). Steady driving in which your drivers accelerate and decelerate at slower speeds can help you save significantly on fuel costs. In the long run, your fleet will save money on repairing vehicle wear and tear as well. Doing this increases safety and protects your drivers from preventable accidents.
Do not idle engines
One of the biggest fuel costs comes from idling engines. On average, commercial vehicles will consume approximately 0.8 gallons of fuel for every hour that they sit idle. It is estimated that voluntary idling consumes about 1 billion gallons of fuel every year. Train your drivers to be aware of the costs associated with needlessly idling their engines.
Plan routes for fuel efficiency
You can also save significant sums by optimizing your routes. Your drivers likely lose thousands of dollars in fuel and man-hours in traffic and other issues that are easily avoided with better routes. You can combine trips to reduce extra back-and-forth trips. All this will help you save on fleet fuel costs.
Keep up with vehicle maintenance
Maintenance is a crucial aspect of any healthy fleet. Your trucks should get regular tune-ups, including tire pressure and wheel alignments. Little issues can add up to thousands of dollars in lost fuel efficiency due to rolling resistance over time.
Tricks to regulate costs
First, figure out your fleet’s fuel needs, specifically how much is needed each month. You can work with your supplier and buy fuel in bulk, monthly increments to partially shield your company from price swings in the market. But, that also means your drivers need to be adequately trained to ensure that they don’t exceed their allotted fuel for the month.
Signing fixed-price contracts can also help protect your fleet from shifting fuel costs. These contracts guarantee that you will get fuel at an agreed price, regardless of what the market says.
Benefits of on-site fueling
Finally, it is cheaper and more efficient for your trucks to refuel on-site whenever possible. Some companies allow their drivers to fill up at retail locations, but on-site bulk fueling will enable you to save money and time.
You save time because your vehicles are fueled all at once and your drivers aren’t required to wait for a spot at the retail location. You save money because you can buy your fuel in bulk. Your supplier should be able to work with you to block days or times on the schedule to ensure that your entire fleet is fueled at once. You also save money because you can track individual usage of fuel, allowing you to identify inefficiencies and correct them.
Finding the right bulk fuel supplier for your fleet
If your business is in need of wholesale fuel or if you have any questions about any of our products and services, the experts at Kendrick Oil can help. We distribute a wide variety of wholesale fuels, including diesel and unleaded gas. Give us a call at (800) 299-3991 or Contact Us by email for more information about our Services and Products. We have locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Louisiana.