Controlling Fuel Costs “Key” for Fleets During Economic Recovery
Now consider that commercial fleet vehicles are driven further (on average twice as many miles per year), they have to drive to stay in business (not really an option to stop driving), and fleet size can range from less than a dozen vehicles to thousands. The “power of scale” creates HUGE incentives for companies to take control of their fuel spend and improve their fuel efficiency.
Fuel remains one of the most costly items on a fleet’s bottom line – typically ranked number two, right behind driver wages and benefits – so carriers are deploying an ever-widening variety of methodologies to keep fuel costs under tight control…
…During a presentation here at Manhattan Associates “Momentum 2010” user group meeting, Braslavsky and Nick Cook, vp & CIO for refrigerated carrier FFE Transportation, stressed that even tiny savings in fuel costs on a per-gallon basis can reap big savings for fleets.
CalArk, for example, operates 650 tractors and 2,000 trailers nationwide – consuming roughly one million gallons of diesel per month. Braslavsky said just saving one penny per gallon translates into $10,000 in savings per month on the company’s fuel bill….
…Such fuel and route optimization methodologies are going to become even more critical in the future, Braslavsky pointed out, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 program kicks in.
“There was a time when it was taken for granted that you could tell a driver to get there and he’d make it – those days are long gone,” he said. “Now we must be really, really creative with the time constraints put on our drivers – and better routing is the key to that.”
He also said new functionality such as actual loaded weight is being added in as well to allow for even more accurate fuel accounting. “We all know pulling 80,000 pounds consumes more fuel than pulling 45,000 pounds,” Braslavsky added. “The next level of optimization is going to take that into consideration.”
Source: Fleet Owner
“Eco-Driving” training should be a part of any fleet’s effort to save fuel costs, since saving 5% is generally considered the minimal savings a fleet can expect with a fairly minor effort. Fleets that are more determined to change company culture and commit to fuel efficient driving at all levels save 15% or more.
The most successful are those innovative fleet managers have incorporated employee-incentive programs to reward drivers who deliver measured fuel-efficiency improvement. Of course you need to be able to track and measure driver performance – what you can’t measure, you can’t manage – or reward.