Fleet Fuel Management Solutions – How Technology Can Help
Fleet management has become simpler than ever before in today’s data-driven world. Technology allows companies to not only track the precise location of their vehicles, but also keep up with everything from maintenance to usage times. Quality fleet management systems (FMS) can also allow you to reduce fuel consumption and cost in a few very interesting ways.
Route Planning and Navigation Assistance
When you can accurately track the position and route of each vehicle in your fleet using high-accuracy GPS technology tied to a cloud-based FMS, this can assist you with route planning in a few different ways:
- Reduce time spent idling. Time spent idling in thick traffic equals unnecessary fuel consumption. By reviewing your drivers’ routes, it may be possible to help them avoid such traffic. Not only does this reduce fuel consumption, but it also increases efficiency and productivity.
- Less stop-and-go driving. You already know that fuel efficiency is much, much better out on the open road or highway than in stop-and-go traffic. By planning your drivers’ routes based on the information you gather via your FMS, you can help them avoid frequent stops and boost overall fuel efficiency.
- Reduce backtracking. Backtracking can be a big problem, even with drivers who are familiar with the local area and their routes. For example, backtracking could be the result of an inefficient route planned to accommodate vendor or client availability.
- Helpful real time updates. In the event of a major accident in your drivers’ paths, it can save you a great deal of fuel and time to keep up with traffic conditions in real time. This way, you can easily route your drivers around the accident and help them use less fuel.
Tracking Drivers’ Behavior
Driver behavior can also play a role in your fleet’s fuel economy, and for this reason, many companies reliant on large fleets operate under the principles of “ecodriving.” The term ecodriving can be defined as a modern set of driving skills designed to maximize fuel economy, safety, and speed while minimizing harmful emissions. According to the Ecodrive website, the following are considered “Golden Rules” of ecodriving:
- Anticipating traffic flow: When drivers can anticipate how the traffic ahead will move, they can more easily coast, accelerate, and brake effectively. Ultimately, drivers should use momentum and even topography to their advantage whenever possible – and whenever traffic allows.
- Maintaining a steady speed in the highest possible gear: To save fuel, each of your drivers should limit braking and acceleration to maintain a steady speed, and they should do so in the highest gear possible to keep RPMs low. Cruise control is a great choice for this.
- Upshifting early on: For vehicles with manual transmissions, accelerating at lower RPMs and shifting up earlier can save a great deal of fuel.
- Maintaining proper tire pressure: At least once each month, your drivers (or your maintenance team, depending on how you delegate the responsibility), should take the time to ensure your vehicles’ tire pressure is correct. Believe it or not, tire pressure can have a huge effect on the amount of fuel consumed over the course of a year.
- Limit weight and extras: Everything from excess weight in the cab or trunk to excessive use of the air conditioner or even an open sunroof can increase fuel usage. Minimize these wherever possible to save money.
Fortunately, when you choose the best possible hardware to use with a quality FMS, you can track everything from traffic and idle time to shifting habits and other driver behavior. When you can optimize each of these things, you can save a great deal of money over time when it comes to fuel costs.