10 easy steps to reduce fleet fuel bills
As diesel prices race skywards in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, fleet managers have a series of short, medium and long-term tools to mitigate the inflation in costs
1. Minimise unnecessary journeys
Ask drivers to reflect whether their business journey is truly necessary, or whether they could communicate with customers and suppliers via video-conference. Fewer journeys and lower mileages deliver direct savings.
2. Encourage cheaper fuel purchases
The price of petrol and diesel can vary significantly depending on both the filling station and its location. Supermarket outlets tend to be cheaper than oil company stations, and town-based stations are cheaper than motorway stations. Explain to drivers the impact of pump price rises and urge them to fill up at the cheapest stations.
3. Make vehicles more economical
Simple steps such as checking that tyres are correctly inflated, unnecessary loads removed from boots and vans, and roof racks taken off cars when not in use can all deliver instant improvements in a vehicle’s fuel economy. Encourage drivers to undertake these checks.
4. Improve driving behaviour
The single biggest determinant of the fuel economy of a vehicle is its driver. Accelerating harshly and speeding both burn significantly more fuel than a gentler (and safer) driving style. Telematics systems can deliver detailed insight into individual driving styles, allowing fleet managers to coach the worst performers, but even in the absence of telemetry it is worth reminding drivers that their action have a direct consequence on costs.
5. Audit fuel cards
Staff change duties, jobs and even employers, so make sure you are not continuing to pay for fuel used by a driver who is no longer on your fleet or in your company.
6. Analyse fuel card data
Most employers only pay for business miles, so scrutinise management information from your fuel card supplier for exceptions. Is the driver of a petrol car buying diesel? Is a driver buying more diesel at a fill-up than the capacity of their fuel tank? Are drivers’ mileage claims reasonable – expense claims where the distance of every business trip ends in five or zero indicates a driver may be rounding up their journey distances? This may not seem like much, but multiplied across hundreds of vehicles it all adds up.
7. Stop idling
This may be more of a problem for truck fleets than cars or vans, but drivers who leave the engine running while a vehicle is parked are simply wasting fuel and achieving zero miles per gallon. Engines should be turned off, even if this means turning off the heating system, when a vehicle is idle.
8. Introduce new technology
Systems such as Lightfoot monitor driver behaviour in real-time and provide immediate feedback to drivers in the form of green, yellow and red lights. This instant reaction prompts drivers to adopt a more sensitive driving behaviour, reducing fuel consumption.
Discover how telematics could support your fleet at the Connected Fleets Conference on 28 & 29 March in Amsterdam.
9. Gamify fuel performance
No one wants to be the worst driver in a fleet, so use fuel data (and telematics information if available) to create a driver league table of fuel economy. This ‘gamification’ of driving can nudge drivers to improve their performance in order to beat their colleagues.
10. Electrify your fleet
Whether peak oil has been reached or not, the trajectory of petrol and diesel prices is only going upwards as shortages become more acute and governments levy higher fuel taxes in order to discourage vehicles with internal combustion engines. The energy cost of electricity per kilometre is substantially lower than the price of petrol or diesel, so the long-term answer to high fuel prices has to be fleet electrification.