Driving down fuel costs

FUEL remains the highest operating cost for fleet operators, contributing as much as 48% of total fleet costs. As such it has become imperative to implement measures to effectively drive down fuel costs.

“Fleet operators have no control over the fuel price, but they can manage reporting systems, budgets and driver behaviour,” says Murray Price, MD of Eqstra Fleet Management.

Eqstra Fleet Management offers fleet operators the following tips to assist them to decrease fuel spend.

Fuel cards: customise fleet cards with additional security features such as limited daily or weekly limits, fleet card profiles and driver identification. By taking advantage of these additional features, fleet managers can limit the risk of unauthorised and unnecessary expenditure.

Fuel card reporting: carefully analyse fuel card reports to determine the fuel consumption for each vehicle by calculating a monthly fuel cost per kilometre and then compare that to benchmark figures. Correct report analysis will highlight whether the vehicle is fuel efficient and is being used for the correct application. It will also identify drivers with bad driving habits.

Use a comprehensive tracking system: ensure your tracking system offers comprehensive fleet reporting, driver identification, route management and online monitoring, all of which allow fleet managers to manage their fleets in real time. Using these systems efficiently will allow fleet managers to highlight which drivers are driving poorly and take steps to change the driving style.

“Few drivers are aware that driving habits directly affect fuel consumption,” said Price. “A study by the US Department of Energy proved that a mid-size petrol vehicle increased fuel consumption by 20% when speed increased from 72 to 120 km/h. Quick acceleration, speeding and harsh braking all contribute to increased fuel consumption.”

Careful route planning to ensure minimal kilometres driven is another useful tool which can be used to reduce fuel consumption.

Tyre maintenance: correct tyre pressure not only optimises performance, it also results in fuel savings. Under-inflated tyres increase the rolling resistance of tyres which leads to higher fuel consumption – studies have shown that a car with under-inflated tyres (1 bar less than the recommended tyre pressure) will increase fuel consumption by as much as 6%.

“We advise all fleet managers to review their current procedures and to implement new processes and controls which will increase vehicle fuel performance,” concluded Price.

For further information, please contact Murray Price on (011) 458 7555.