Eco-Living Magazine

5 Simple Ways to Cut Fuel Costs Across Your Entire Fleet

Posted on the 29 July 2013 by T_mackinnon @tedmackinnon

Since setting the transportation industry’s first fuel efficiency goal in 2008, FedEx has improved its fuel use across the entire fleet by 22 percent, exceeding its initial goal of 20 percent. Wal-Mart, with its fleet of nearly 7,200 trucks has improved its fuel efficiency by 15 percent. This increase in fuel efficiency accounts for an extra mile per gallon per truck, adding up to between $35 million and $50 million in savings per year.

Cutting fuel costs for your fleet not only saves you money, but has positive effects on the environment as well. How are big companies improving their fuel efficiency? While some of the savings are from the help of fuel additive mixes and using more fuel-efficient tires, some of the best ways to save fuel are the easiest – and likely won’t cost you any money at all. Check out these 5 ways you can start cutting fuel costs for your fleet.

1. Avoid sudden starts and speeding: Use cruise control. Abrupt starts, or jackrabbit starts, can burn as much as 40 percent more fuel. Speeding away from red lights in a heavy truck requires more fuel and saves little driving time. Similarly, speeding on the interstate, or driving more than 60 miles per hour, uses 50 percent more fuel and creates twice as much carbon monoxide emission. Using cruise control set at 60 miles per hour is a great way to stay at steady pace.

2. Don’t idle. Leaving the truck to idle for excessive amounts of time burns 50 percent more fuel and can reduce the life of the engine’s oil by as much as 75 percent. If a truck idles for more than 3 minutes, it’ s best to turn off the engine altogether.

3. Eliminate excess weight and check tire pressure. Hauling around unnecessary weight creates more work for your engine, which requires more gas out of the tank. Even cutting the truck’s weight by 100 pounds can improve your miles per gallon significantly. Remove any extra tools, parts, equipment or products that aren’t essential for the route. Be sure to keep an eye on tire pressure. Tires that are underinflated can cost as much as 2 weeks’ worth of fuel per year. Proper inflation can also lengthen the life of each tire and allow for better braking capabilities.

4. Use fleet management to chart more efficient routes. If you’re not already measuring your fleet’s distance, fuel usage and average speeds with fleet management technology, it’s an essential tool for making cost-effective changes for your fleet. Fleet management and tracking equipment can help with fuel management by showing you all the numbers you need to make better decisions. You can also use fleet management to chart more efficient routes, see where all your trucks are and make plans that can save you serious money in the long run.

5. Make sure trucks undergo regular maintenance. Poorly maintained trucks burn more fuel. Make sure each truck undergoes regularly scheduled maintenance. A poorly maintained truck requires more fuel, produces more toxic emissions and can eventually lead to expensive fixes down the road.

These simple tips can help you decrease your fleet’s fuel costs while increasing efficiency. Set a goal for fuel efficiency improvement and do everything you can to work towards it. You’ll save money, save the environment and possibly even lengthen the life of your business.

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5 Simple Ways to Cut Fuel Costs Across Your Entire Fleet

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