Some people think of fuel costs as a “necessary evil” — after all, if you’re running a business that depends on a stable fleet of trucks, there’s little that you can do to avoid that expense. However, even though the price of diesel may be beyond your control, you can improve how your trucks use fuel to reduce your overall costs.
In this post, we’ll talk about how fleet fuel management reduces fuel waste, increases efficiency, and gives you greater insights into day-to-day operations.
What Is Fleet Fuel Management?
Fleet fuel management is the systems, processes, and procedures that monitor the way a fleet consumes fuel. That may involve manual data entry, cost forecasting, and the planning and oversight of truck maintenance.
What Are the Challenges in Fleet Fuel Management?
These are some of the most common challenges that fleet fuel management professionals face:
In order to guarantee proper recordkeeping, drivers need to be able to log fuel usage properly. Not only is manual tracking difficult, but it is also a process prone to human error or even simple misunderstandings.
Another major challenge that a lot of organizations face is fuel fraud. Fleets are becoming an increasingly popular target for fuel theft because anything obtained by someone with malicious intentions can be resold at a profit. Fuel theft can amount to as much as 10% of an organization’s overall fuel budget — hardly a “cost of doing business” at that point.
Nationwide, approximately 81% of fuel theft happens within the company. Drivers could be siphoning diesel fuel from their work trucks for personal use, or using their employer-issued fuel card to buy fuel for their own vehicles. Fleet managers need a way to identify this type of activity — or prevent it from happening in the first place.
Overseeing Maintenance Schedules
Fleets must be maintained to increase the longevity of each truck. Keeping track of every truck’s maintenance schedule can be a major challenge, but without regular maintenance, truck fuel efficiency declines.
Even something as seemingly simple as not putting enough air in the tires can cause trucks to use more fuel than they should. The same is true of a truck’s HVAC system during the hot summer months. The harder the HVAC system has to work due to inefficiencies, the more fuel the truck will use. Multiply that by the total number of trucks in the fleet, and you begin to get a sense of just how costly things can quickly get.
Fluctuating Fuel Costs
With the price of fuel totally outside the control of a business, and with prices fluctuating wildly throughout the year, it makes it difficult to accurately forecast fuel costs.
Solutions for Fleet Fuel Management
Thankfully, there are a variety of different fleet fuel management solutions that can help you manage costs. You may want to use a combination of these methods to help generate as much operational savings as possible.
While your organization will pay for the service associated with mobile fueling, it still brings with it a wide range of different cost-benefits. For example, your drivers don’t have to waste fuel (or time) by diverting from their route to fuel up, and you can fuel trucks during scheduled downtime.
With mobile fueling, you know the exact CPG for every truck, which is a big advantage over diesel costs that vary based on the location of fuel stations.
There are many different fuel apps to choose from depending on your needs. Typically, drivers get a fuel card, a sticker, or some type of contactless payment method that links to an app. When they purchase fuel, that information automatically syncs to the app. Fleet managers can see and manage fuel costs within the app, as well as set spending limits in real time.
Fleet Fuel Management Software
A fleet fuel management system helps to automate a lot of the processes outlined above. It helps monitor fuel usage for individual trucks and the fleet as a whole. This gives organizational leaders access to the accurate, actionable insight they need to cut fuel-related costs and boost efficiency.
Routing software optimizes routes and reacts in real time to unexpected road closures, traffic, and hazards. That means drivers have instant access to the most efficient route and spend less time idling (and wasting fuel).
Fleet fuel telematics solutions are also a great way to gather insights into how your vehicles are using fuel and energy. Telematics can identify fuel-wasting habits like idling, speeding, and abrupt braking.
You can also use telematics to monitor diesel exhaust fuel (DEF) levels. Maintaining the appropriate DEF level is important for compliance with emission regulations and avoiding mechanical breakdowns.
Improving aerodynamics through attachments on the side, the underbody, and on other areas of a truck can improve fuel efficiency.
TruckWings is one such product. It’s a tractor-mounted aerodynamic device that closes the gap between the cab and the trailer to reduce drag and improve stability, generating fuel savings of between 3% and 6% on average.
That savings can amount to thousands of dollars per truck, or millions of dollars per fleet.
See the Results
One of the largest fleets in North America used TruckWings to decrease its fuel costs and improve operational efficiency. Learn more about how this 235,000-truck fleet got results with TruckWings.