Good news for small fleet owners: Monitoring three simple metrics for your fleets can lead to significant dollars saved on fuel.
There are many, many, many factors that contribute to fuel economy of the cars we drive everyday. Everything from how much load the car has to how warm it is outside can have an impact on fuel economy. How do you know what to focus on, and what not to when it comes to trying to reduce your fuel costs?
While you could spend time trying to decide which factors were under your drivers control, and of the ones that we’re, which ones would have the most impact…we’ve done the hard work for you.
We’ve found that by monitoring just THREE metrics can have a significant impact of your fuel expense:
*Time at idle
Let’s take a look at each of these, why you want to monitor them, and how big of an impact it can have on your fleet’s operating expenses.
Aggressive driving is a large contributor to reduction in fuel economy. While the term aggressive driving is a a very broad term covering everything from hard acceleration and hard breaking as well as behaviors like quick lane changes and following too closely we’re going to focus on a more narrowly defined definition for this discussion: Hard acceleration and hard breaking.
According to the EPA hard acceleration and hard breaking and account for a 33% decrease in fuel economy at highway speeds and up to 5% when driving in the city.
That’s the equivalent of between $0.15 and a whopping $1.01/gallon in fuel spend by reducing this metric alone!
Time at Idle
According to National Resources Canada idling 10 min per day will cost you 5% more in fuel. If your going to be stopped for more than 30 seconds, and you’re not in traffic, shut off your car! It takes less fuel to restart a car then it does to run it for 10 seconds at idle, so being in the habit of shutting the car off instead of idling while waiting can really add up.
The California Consumer Energy Center puts it another way…Idling for one hour burns approximately 1 gallon of fuel. Results can very, but for drivers that spend a considerable amount of time at idle while making a delivery or waiting on a client, the impact fleet wide can be dramatic.
Busy drivers hurrying between appointments can have a tendency to speed to make up time. The few minutes that they make up by speeding…just a little bit.
The implications of speeding in regard to tickets, increased risk of accidents, and potentially higher insurance are obvious to most, but what may not be as apparent is the cost in terms of fuel consumption.
Cars built for sale in the US are built to achieve maximum efficiency at between 50 and 60 miles per hour. The graph below shows and average car efficiency band in relation to MPH.
For every 5 mph over the speed of 60, you normally lose between 7% and 23% depending on the vehicle. That equates to paying an extra $0.21 to $0.71 PER GALLON of gas!
The impact of these 3 metrics:
Armed with this data, the question becomes “How do I put this in practice to save my fleet money?” The answer is simple: Monitor and manage these three metrics for your fleet vehicles.
Monitor drivers performance, share that data (and it’s impact) with them and make them aware that small change can have a big impact on their bottom line, and train them on ways to use their knowledge to help the bottom line.
In the coming weeks we’ll do a deep dive into each of these metrics to help you understand how they can be applied to your business!
What other tips do you have to reduce fuel costs? Please share in the comments below:
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EPA.gov – Driving More Efficiently
EPA.gov – Fuel Economy Graph
California Consumer Energy Center – fuel consumption at idle
National Resources Canada – fuel consumption at idle
Photo Credits: Speedometer and Fuel Gauge pictures from Nathan Earl Photography via Flicker