5 Ways Telematics Reduces Fuel Costs
One of the most significant and measurable ways telematics can impact your fleet's bottom line is by reducing fuel costs for your fleet. Fuel is by far the biggest ongoing cost for fleets. Ensuring efficient fuel usage for your fleet can be a huge savings for your business.
Although you have no control over the price of fuel and the market can be volatile, there are some things you can control that will help reduce your spend on fuel. A MiX Telematics solution can provide an average fuel savings of 10%. Here are 5 ways telematics can help you reduce fleet fuel costs.
1. Reduce Fuel Waste Caused by Driver Habits
Driving habits such as excessive idling and aggressive driving behavior can cause your fuel costs to soar. On average long-haul truckers may idle from six to eight hours a day up to 300 days a year. And if a driver suddenly increases or decreases their speed, their truck may use 20% more fuel. The cost of these fuel-wasting behaviors adds up to significant costs annually.
A fleet fuel telematics solution can give you insights into your fleet vehicles' fuel and energy use that you can use to help your drivers reduce excess idling and other habits that can cause them to waste fuel. Telematics tools let you pull reports on fuel usage and set up alerts that let you know when your drivers are idling, speeding, or otherwise engaging in aggressive driving behaviors. You can pinpoint problem areas and set goals based on what you determine will have the most impact on your business.
Common aggressive driver behaviors such as excess acceleration, harsh braking, coasting, cruising, and more will have an impact on fuel efficiency across your fleet as well as your bottom line. They may seem inconsequential when viewed by each driver, but in aggregate, they can significantly impact fuel expenses and vehicle lifespan. By tracking these driving habits, you can get insight into your fleet's driving habits, create driver training programs, and incentivize good behavior.
2. Decrease Fuel Theft
If your fleet vehicles are using more fuel than it seems like they should, you may be a victim of fuel theft. Telematics can help you track and see trends. You'll be able to see which vehicles fueled up at which stations and when they did so. This takes the guesswork out of confirming fuel purchases. Without fuel purchase history, suspected fraudulent expenses can be difficult and time-consuming to verify.
Telematics can also flag cases of fuel theft with alerts that automatically let you know when a vehicle fuel level decreases faster than expected. You can set up parameters that measure a predetermined percentage used in a specific amount of time. This can be extremely valuable when investigating whether theft took place. For instance, if the amount of gas pumped into a vehicle exceeds the capacity of your tank, it may be a case of fuel theft.
These insights of fuel usage can help identify inefficiencies across vehicles and drivers.
3. Monitor Diesel Exhaust Fuel Levels to Refuel More Efficiently
Making sure your fleet vehicles' diesel exhaust fuel (DEF) levels are properly maintained helps your fleet business avoid emission mandate violations. DEF is an ammonia-based liquid sprayed into the exhaust stream of a diesel-fueled truck to lower the amount of nitrogen emissions from diesel engines. If a vehicle's DEF level doesn't meet that of emission regulation, operation of that vehicle must stop until it is refueled. But avoiding violation is only one part of the picture. A lack of visibility into fuel usage and DEF levels can cause inefficiencies that prevent fleets from finishing jobs. When neglected too long, improperly maintained DEF can lead to expensive engine repairs.
To make sure your fleet maintains optimal DEF levels, telematics can offer real-time insight with alerts that let you know when DEF goes below a set threshold. When the alert goes off, your fleet vehicles can proactively refill, avoiding expensive maintenance, and ensuring their vehicles stay on the road.
4. Plan Proactive Maintenance Schedules
DEF levels are not the only cause of expensive maintenance for your fleet. The aggressive driving behaviors outlined above can cause excess wear and tear, causing vehicles to need maintenance sooner than expected. Vehicles that are not in good repair tend to use more fuel. By planning proactive and predictive maintenance schedules, your fleet vehicles run better and use less fuel.
Scheduling preventive maintenance won't impact schedules because it can be done during slower times or after hours. Telematics allows you to set up alerts based on time or mileage. And since telematics hooks up to your fleet vehicles' engines, it can alert you when an emerging problem needs to be addressed. This helps reduce the wear and tear that can cause excess fuel usage.
5. Route Optimization
By monitoring your fleet's movements and usage with a telematics solution, you can make sure they are taking the most efficient route. You can send drivers to jobs near their current location so that they won't waste time and fuel on long drives. By preplanning the best routes, your fleet vehicles can avoid heavy traffic and therefore avoid excess idling. And when your drivers have plenty of time to get to their job locations or destinations, they are less likely to speed.
Bonus Tips to Cut Fuel Costs
- Make sure the tires are correctly inflated–according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), for every one psi drop in tire air pressure gas mileage is lowered by 0.2%. This small percentage adds up over time. Correctly inflated tires not only get better gas mileage, but they also last longer and are safer for your drivers.
- Reduce air conditioner and heater usage by setting the temperature for comfort instead of keeping it on high.
- Minimize overloading by making sure your drivers adhere to the maximum payload their vehicles can carry.
- Eliminate personal and unauthorized vehicle usage by tracking drivers through a driver identification system.
- Make sure your vehicles use the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil, your fleet's gas mileage can improve by 1% to 2%.
- Cleaning your vehicles' air filters can improve gas mileage by about 10%, and it will take you 23 miles further on a typical tank of gas.
- Check your tire alignment, misaligned tires drag instead of roll freely, an issue that can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 10% (about 31 cents per gallon).
- Replace worn-out spark plugs — if they are worn out, it can cause misfiring, and a higher voltage is then needed to deliver a spark. And that, in turn, uses more fuel.
Start saving today with a fleet fuel telematics solution, contact us today.
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