So you probably already know this. But do you actually take steps to ensure you and your drivers are using best practices to generate efficiencies and cut costs where possible?
Better yet, are you continually monitoring, measuring, correcting and implementing what you learn?
Gathering relevant fleet/driver data can give you an accurate representation of what you and your drivers are doing and provide you with the opportunity to correct, modify and correct. This is one of the core benefits of implementing a GPS/AVL fleet management system.
And while gas prices are not currently as high as they have been – it’s always good business to strive to achieve maximum efficiency whenever possible. By changing your driving habits you can improve your fuel economy up to 37% immediately – making adjustments now will only help you in the long run and perhaps provide that competitive advantage when you need it most.
Here’s a quick refresher:
Keep Calm and Carry On
Accelerating quickly or too slowly can limit your fuel economy and when it comes to braking, less is more. When it comes to acceleration you should aim to take 15-20 seconds to get to 50mph from a stop. Braking takes kinetic energy and turns it into waste heat. Anticipating road conditions and coasting in gear to a stop will make the most of your momentum. Tests conducted by Edmonds.com reported calm and measured driving provided an average fuel savings of 31%.
Consider your Speed
Gas mileage typically peaks at speeds between 40-55 mph and significantly declines after 60 mph. Oak Ridge National Laboratory research further indicates fuel economy drops 12% with speeds in the 50-60 mph range, 25% with speeds in the 50-70 mph range and by 36% with speeds in the 50 to 80 mph range. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that by watching your speed, you can lower highway driving fuel costs by 33% and city driving costs by 5%.
Cruising to Save
Using cruise control on the highway has a noticeable effect on fuel economy. Edmonds.com conducted their own tests using a Land Rover LR3 and a Ford Mustang. The Land Rover got almost 14% better mileage using cruise control set at 70 mph compared to user-controlled speeds between 65 and 75 mph. The Ford Mustang got 4.5% better mileage.
Cruise control cuts down on unnecessary speed changes and prevents “speed creep” – both behaviors can cause excessive fuel usage.
Note: if you are in a mountainous area – it’s best to turn off cruise control as your vehicle will burn extra fuel trying to maintain the speed you’re set to cruise at.
No Need to Idle
Edmonds.com again ran their own tests and were surprised to discover just how much idling costs the average user. While idling varies per vehicle, Edmonds.com reports a 19% savings from avoiding excessive idling on the vehicles they tested. The recommendation is that if you are stopping for longer than a minute, you should turn your vehicle off. And according to the Environmental Defense Fund, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting your engine.
This is only the tip of the iceberg really. A fleet management solution can help you save fuel costs (as well as many other fleet operation costs). It’s all about the data. Do you have a means of gathering the relevant data from your fleet? Do you have the ability to extract the information how and when you need it in a format that suits your business best? Can you monitor, measure and correct on the fly? Can you use your fleet data to make better, smarter, more strategic business decisions to help you achieve your operational goals? If it doesn’t, we can certainly help.
Here’s how some of customers are using fleet management to reduce fuel costs.