It’s no secret that fuel is one of the fleet’s most significant expenses, especially with increasing diesel prices. In 2019, US Commercial Vehicles burned around 36.5 billion gallons of diesel fuel, spending around $111.6 billion dollars. Different types of fuel-saving initiatives have been introduced over the years, including monitoring driver behavior. Talking with your drivers about their driving behavior is an easy way to positively impact fuel costs. Here are some basic points you can touch on with your drivers that can make an effect on your fleet’s fuel consumption:
DRIVER BEHAVIOR TIPS
1. LIMIT SPEED & RPM
Not only is speeding dangerous, but it can waste unnecessary fuel. The ATA suggests one of the first steps in reducing fuel consumption is to reduce your speed, with a recommendation of not exceeding 65MPH. A general rule you can follow is increasing your speed by one mph will reduce fuel efficiency by 0.1mpg. If your truck has poor aerodynamics, this number can double.
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2. OPTIMIZE ROUTES
Some fleets travel 15% or more miles per year that are “empty” miles. Computerized routing and scheduling can help dispatchers to map out routes while considering factors that would impact the efficiency of the route. Proper fleet management will allow you to consolidate trips which helps to ensure drivers aren’t making unnecessary trips that use more fuel than needed.
3. MINIMIZING IDLING
A commercial vehicle that is idling consumes about $.0.8 gallons of fuel per hour, and a typical truck idles 1,800 hours per year, using 1,500 gallons of diesel. With today’s high price of fuel, that will cost that one truck $8,955 a year! Teaching your drivers to practice minimizing idling will help lower your fuel cost. Several technology options are available to help with idle reduction, such as automatic engine shutdown, auxiliary power units/generators, and direct fire heaters.
Not only are drivers the number one expense of trucking companies, but they also play a big part in controlling the number two expense for a fleet – fuel. TMC states that skilled drivers could produce 35% better mpg than less skilled drivers. According to EPA, a driver training program that improves fuel economy by 5% can save a fleet up to $1200 per vehicle each year. Driver education on performance through training programs is essential not only for new drivers but veteran drivers as well.
5. PLAN FOR TRAFFIC
Inefficiencies in freight operations can lead to fleets taking longer routes, congested routes, and potentially idle unnecessarily. On average, this can add up to 15,000 miles each year for a typical long-haul truck. In turn, this will lead to excessive fuel consumption. To help with this, there are different options with computerized routing and scheduling, such as ELDs and GPS tracking devices, that can optimize haul routes to avoid pickup and delivery schedules, hours of service, and more.
Implementing different ways to improve your fuel efficiency by even by a little bit can positively impact your bottom line. An easy place to start is with your drivers – and trying these simple steps!