Every fleet manager lives to cut down on fleet costs without taking money away from important upgrades or training initiatives. That’s why, when presented with an opportunity to trim fuel costs, any manager would leap at the chance to save a dollar on the always-increasing cost of gas. While most fleet managers might feel that they’ll never have a ton of control over gas spending per mile and per job, it’s not the whole truth. There are tons of smaller ways to save gas which, if implemented in a smart way, can help save a fleet tons of money each quarter. From investing in WatchCard fuel cards to optimizing driver efficiency, there are a lot of different ways to get around the high price of gas in a way that helps the bottom line. If you’re looking for ways to save on your fleet fueling costs, here are some helpful tips to remember.
Use Fleet Fuel Cards
Never underestimate the savings you’ll reap from being able to stop worrying about gas spending. With gas prices remaining in flux all over the country, having your fleet use fuel cards will cut a lot of the guesswork out of planning out your budget for the year. You won’t just be able to play a flat rate per mile no matter where your drivers are on the road, you’ll be able to exercise maximum control over each driver’s spending with a fuel card. Many card options allow your drivers to only fill up their tank and not charge anything else on their visit, which easily decreases spillage and unnecessary spending. It will also help encourage accountability for your drivers. When each driver knows the exact price of a filled tank for each vehicle, they’ll know what’s expected of them in terms of optimizing the trip.
Use the Right Apps
Thanks to recent technology, you can follow along with your drivers every step of the way through electronic driver logs and tracking devices for your fleet. Part of your work as a manager has to do with recognizing expensive trends and finding creative solutions for them. This doesn’t just mean managing maintenance and cutting down on gas costs. It means actually paying attention to what your drivers (and your cars) do on the road that could be avoided. Many tracking programs or fleet optimization technologies will allow you to receive a comprehensive report via email after every ride, breaking down driver performance, average speed, idling time, and gas usage. With this information, you’ll be able to create a weekly summary of how each driver is performing and use your reports to create customized plans for better service. When your drivers know they’re being monitored, they’ll want to perform better. If you have the technology to show them what mistakes they’re making on the road, as well as insights about the best routes to take to decrease idling and the best driving practices to use on the road for fuel optimization, you’ll be able to create a consistent, optimized fleet in no time.
Cut Down on Idling
There’s nothing worse for your cars than huge chunks of time spent idling on the road. While in the past idling might have seemed like a necessary evil, thanks to modern technology, no one has to deal with wasted gas and unnecessary time in traffic. Not only can fleet managers use the best GPS apps to help drivers avoid traffic and unexpected slowdowns, they can set up alerts through their fleet optimization software to notify drivers of time spent idling over 15 minutes. They can even program cars to turn off after a period of time. While this might seem like an extreme step, consider that the average amount of time fleet drivers spend idling can add up to an hour a day. At that rate, it doesn’t take long for idling to start seriously cutting into your fuel budget.
Keep Cars Up to Speed
Your cars are your most important asset outside of your drivers. If you’re not doing the most to keep each car clean, thoroughly inspected, and up to FMCSA compliance standards after each ride, it could seriously take a hit on your wallet. When it comes to maintenance, think in terms of prevention, not repair. Doing the bare minimum in terms of repairs could lead to dirty engines, fraying parts, and less-than-optimized gas mileage on the road. Be sure your drivers are filling all fluids before each job and checking under the hood to make everything is in the best possible shape. Taking a preventative approach to maintenance won’t just help you save on gas. You’ll be able to cut downtime in half.