Owners Guide To Saving Fuel & Tracking Fleet Productivity

Owners Guide To Saving Fuel & Tracking Fleet Productivity

Managing a fleet of heavy-duty diesel trucks is never an easy thing to do. You will have to pay attention to numerous factors. Out of them, fuel efficiency holds a prominent place. Along with that, you will also come across the need to track your fleet’s routes, fuel consumption and maintenance requirements. 

Fuel remains the most significant operational expense for a fleet. As a result, fleet managers are constantly seeking fresh approaches to cut down on fuel use. Here are some helpful suggestions to help manage your fleet’s fuel expenses. 

Monitor drivers’ habits

It is common knowledge that driving habits, including speeding, excessive idling, forceful braking, and abrupt acceleration, increase fuel consumption and negatively affect MPG. Almost all fleet managers have instructed drivers to refrain from these actions, and many have even provided in-person training for drivers. However, fewer people are using technology that enables them to keep an eye on driving behavior while they are behind the wheel. 

Onboard computers (OBCs) and fleet management software provide automated monitoring for dangerous or fuel-wasting actions and notify drivers and supervisors when an incident occurs. Software may be set up to inform drivers verbally when they drive in hazardous ways (such as when their speed approaches or exceeds the stated speed limit), allowing them to promptly self-correct their actions. Managers may then use the information to continue coaching drivers by keeping track of warnings and occurrences. Managers may utilize the data to recognize safe driving even better. According to MiX Telematics, several fleets have discovered that incentives like awards work better to encourage safe and fuel-efficient driving than sanctions like fines. 

Fuel consumption savings of 10-15% have been recorded by fleets using this strategy, which might amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for a big fleet. 

Establish an idling policy 

For heavy-duty and light-duty vehicles, one hour of idle time uses around one gallon and a half of fuel, respectively. If each vehicle in your fleet idles for an hour every day, that's hundreds of gallons of lost fuel per day (and thousands of dollars). Additionally, excessive idling extends the time engines run, increasing wear and tear and maintenance expenditures. Fleet managers should put an idling policy into place and then actively monitor it using the OBCs in their fleet, which may be set up to gather engine data. Most state and federal rules call for a five-minute idle time restriction, which is what many fleets use, and the idle time restriction in school zones may be one minute or less. 

Companies may need to modify their idling policy to consider the necessity for heat or air conditioning for drivers at rest or install axillary batteries or climate control systems that allow for comforts to be had without engine idling. 

Enable speed restrictions 

You can establish and oversee high-end speed restrictions for roads commensurate with the vehicle's maximum fuel efficiency. Manufacturers of vehicles and engines may suggest enhancing speed and fuel efficiency. 

Fleets can gain around 1% in fuel efficiency for every 2% decrease in aerodynamic drag. Each 1 MPH increase in vehicle speed above 55 MPH results in a 0.1 MPG reduction in fuel efficiency. A truck's fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every PSI that the tires are underinflated. Fleet managers may use fleet management software to monitor for speed and alert drivers when nearing or exceeding a local speed restriction or a company-defined maximum speed limit. They can also build regulating systems that enable them to limit an engine's speed. Managers may use monitoring to identify patterns, provide drivers with necessary coaching, and recognize safe driving behaviors. 

Keep an eye out for high engine RPMs 

Excessive RPMs may make it difficult for a driver to manage a heavy-duty diesel truck and are bad for engines. They also waste fuel. To decrease this habit, keep an eye out for it and provide drivers feedback immediately. Managers may utilize the data to instruct drivers on effective gear-shifting techniques. 

Reward your truck drivers 

Design incentive programs based on metrics that drivers may manage to encourage them to increase fuel efficiency. We've seen numerous fleets arrange competitions among drivers to determine who can demonstrate the safest and most prudent driving practices. Gamification may be a fantastic incentive. Set quantifiable objectives, such as a 10% gain in MPG over six months or a 5% decrease in fuel use. As awards or incentives, distribute the benefits of these efforts. 

Keep an eye out for fuel theft or shrinkage 

Commercial fleets report a monthly fuel decrease of 1-4 percent on average. By setting up fleet management software to provide fuel-level information directly to fleet managers, fleets should keep a close eye on their fuel supplies. This information may be used to spot fuel level differences that can point to theft or miles driven off-route. 

Due to ELD regulation, several fleets are in the process of modernizing their in-cab electronics. If your fleet falls into this category, be sure the solution you choose can enable monitoring the criteria above. A solution that can accomplish this might be slightly more expensive initially. Still, fleets quickly make up the difference through lower fuel costs, in addition to all of the other advantages (financial and non-financial) that come with raising the fleet's safety profile, most importantly lowering crashes, which saves lives.

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