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Fuel Management Systems and Fuel Cards For Fleets

fuel monitoring and fuel management

When finances are tight, and every penny counts, it might not seem like a good idea to spend your hard earned cash on a fleet vehicle fuel monitoring system.

However, every fleet operator knows that fuel costs form a large part of your business costs. Anything you can do to manage and reduce your fuel consumption will benefit your company in the long run.

Modern vehicle tracking systems can help you:

  • track fuel usage for different routes
  • tackle poor driving behaviour
  • reward individuals with good driving habits
  • plan your operations to be the most cost effective
  • ensure your fleet runs with maximum efficiency

Fuel Monitoring Systems And Fuel Management

Since only the most advanced fleet management systems and telematics solutions come with fuel monitoring functions it generally only makes sense for companies with fleets of over 10 vehicles. But for these businesses, the savings can be huge.

Fuel efficient drivers can be easily spotted and rewarded. Fuel wasters can be coached or eradicated. With the price of fuel seemingly always on the increase this can help to control costs. In addition, routes which are the most fuel efficient can be identified.

Greater fuel efficiency can be achieved as a result. Businesses fleet operations therefore become more efficient as a whole, which has a positive impact on productivity and profits.

Alongside fuel management systems there are also a number of other fuel management solutions, which can bring huge cost saving benefits to businesses operating fleets.

Fuel cards, for example.

Best Fuel Cards For Businesses

A great way to reduce fuel costs is to use company fuel cards for your fleet. With business fuel cards, you will often get savings on pump prices, massively reducing your fuel costs even while fuel usage stays the same.

In addition, many fuel card providers offer a fuel card management system that lets you see how much fuel your drivers are purchasing. This is not the same as a vehicle tracking system- that lets you see how much fuel is being consumed by the vehicle. However, the results are similar, with fleet managers being able to gauge fuel consumption of individual vehicles and address any issues of vehicle maintenance or driver behaviour.

Tracking fuel consumption through fuel cards is a great first step towards a comprehensive fuel management system, and a great way to reduce your fuel costs in a short time.

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Effective Fuel Management: How to Reduce Fuel Costs

fuel management system

The main culprits of fuel wastage are idling, driving behaviour, and poor vehicle maintenance.

Reducing Fuel Costs Caused By Idling

It has been estimated that most commercial vehicles will burn an average of 1 gallon of fuel for every hour that the engine is left idling. Although this may seem trivial on an individual basis, with only a few minutes of idling time wasted per driver, it can have a significant negative impact when multiplied across an entire fleet.

This loss of productivity could have a catastrophic effect on any UK haulier, large or small, jeopardising current operations and putting future growth at risk.

The excessive idling of HGV vehicles will waste not just fuel and money, but will also impact significantly on the wider community. This is because large idle vehicles contribute to poorer air quality and noise pollution; they damage the environment as a whole.

The design of most modern fleet vehicles is such that the costs involved in turning off the engine and restarting will be less than leaving the engine switched on and idling. A standard heavy duty truck left ticking over will have a car fuel consumption of approximately 2 litres per hour will also be contributing in excess of 5kgs of CO2 emissions over the course of the hour .

Simple Steps to Reducing Fuel Costs Caused By Idling

Drivers can be encouraged to reduce their instances of idling by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Always switch the engine off when the vehicle is stationery in non-moving traffic (providing it will not be compromising road safety)

  • Switch off the engine when the vehicle is parked or when the driver is on a break
  • Do not be tempted to leave the engine idling to warm up the cab in cold weather as this will also impact on fuel consumption and costs. The installation of a time controlled heater in the cab will provide a cheaper option and be better for the environment as well as the haulier's overheads
  • Try not to use the air conditioning unless conditions make it absolutely necessary as this will also impact negatively on fuel consumption and overall costs

Driving Behaviour

The way in which your vehicles are driven can have a massive impact on your fuel consumption - some estimates put the potential savings at around 60%. Poor habits such as fast acceleration, braking harshly, cornering fiercely and speeding all add to the use of fuel. For example, cruising at 80-85 mph rather than at 70mph can use around 25 per cent extra fuel, as well as being illegal.

Encouraging positive behaviours such as changing gear at the optimum time and looking ahead to anticipate traffic conditions, thus avoiding excessive braking, will help save fuel. Vehicle tracking can monitor drivers individually, allowing you to manage specific issues directly.

If you are interested in monitoring driving behaviour specifically, you should look at getting a telematics system for your vehicles. While GPS vehicle tracking focuses on mileage and other journey data, telematics trackers will relay data about driver behaviour such as harsh braking and fast acceleration.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicles which are not properly maintained could also be adding to the amount of fuel you use. Issues such as under-inflated tyres mean that your vehicles could be consuming more fuel than necessary, so having a regular maintenance schedule is an important aspect to managing your fuel efficiency.

Vehicle tracking can also be used to plan your maintenance cycle to ensure that your fleet is completely up to scratch, thus saving you money.

Fuel Management & Vehicle Tracking

Research within the haulage industry has found that, if all of the 4.5 million commercial vehicles on UK and Ireland's roads were to adopt GPS tracking technology, an astonishing 2,434,681,400 litres of fuel consumption could be saved annually at a cost of £3.3 billion.

The adoption of a GPS tracking system can help businesses to identify those areas of their operation where savings can be made by flagging up incidents of excessive periods of idling and allowing them to offer their employees incentives to reduce the amount of time they keep their engines idling in the course of the day.

Fleets which have no GPS tracking installed report an average time of 96 minutes per-vehicle-per-day in idling times. This can be reduced by 25% when GPS is adopted.

Next Steps

Nowadays, modern fleet vehicle fuel monitoring and tracking systems allow you to maximise the efficiency of your whole operation by encouraging positive driving habits, effective route planning, ensuring correct data, minimising unauthorised use and timely planning of your vehicles.

With so much to gain, why not consider installing vehicle tracking in your fleet? To find out which solution is the best for your business, complete our simple form, and our trained staff will contact you to discuss your requirements.