Remember the good old days… about a year and a half ago? Prices at the pumps were hovering below one dollar per litre and they stayed the same for weeks. Well, the good old days are gone forever and today we live in a world where fuel prices seem to go up by the hour. You can’t control the price of fuel, but you can control your fuel consumption. The answer is Fuel Management. Here are …
Ten Ways to Cut Fuel Costs:
1. Train and educate your drivers: It starts with the people who have their foot on the gas pedal. Your drivers can control fuel consumption each time they fire up their engines, and proper training can improve fuel efficiency, economy and emissions. Hard acceleration, speeding and idling are the biggest causes of fuel waste. Initiate a training course for drivers and reward participation.
2. Decrease Idling: Be aware of the time engines idle. No longer can we leave machinery and equipment running all day long. Stop your engines! Excessive idling adds to your fuel costs by as much as 50 per cent and can shorten the life of engine oil by 75 per cent, adding more costs. Initiate a campaign to reduce idling time and reward participants. Allowing an engine to idle more than three minutes causes expensive damage which harms efficiency, shortens engine life and increases maintenance costs.
3. Start off slower: This is another lesson your drivers must be taught. Jackrabbit starts waste fuel and save less than three minutes per hour driving, but can result in using 40 per cent more fuel and increase toxic emissions by 400 per cent! What’s the rush? Ease up on the gas pedal and your efficiencies will improve.
4. Slow down: Speeding is dangerous, it wastes fuel and creates higher levels of toxic emissions. Speeds over 100 km/hour drastically impact fuel efficiencies — cars travelling at 120 km/hour use 20 per cent more fuel. Trucks travelling at 120 km/hour use 50 per cent more fuel and they also emit 100 per cent more carbon monoxide, 50 per cent more hydrocarbons and 31 per cent more nitrogen oxides.
5. Lose Weight: Excess weight places unnecessary strain on your vehicle’s engine and greatly affects its fuel efficiency. By removing as little as 100 pounds you can significantly improve your gas mileage. Check each vehicle and pitch out that unnecessary weight!
6. Use a Fuel Management System: This is the most powerful way to lower fuel costs and increase productivity. Available systems range from basic onsite refueling (which saves up to 20 minutes in wasted time and fuel each day, per vehicle) to automated fuel tracking (which details every litre pumped into every vehicle by date, time, quantity and fuel type) to telematics (which measures overall fuel efficiency, vehicle performance, tracks fuel waste due to idling, speeding, etc., and identifies critical areas to improve efficiency and reduce fuel costs and emissions.) The technology exists so you can become a Fuel Manager and stay on top of your fuel consumption, one vehicle at a time.
7. Upgrade your Fleet: Whenever possible, invest in modern, fuel-efficient vehicles. Modern diesel engines are far more fuel-efficient and perform better with modern diesel fuels such as ultra low sulphur diesel and biodiesel. Though it may seem expensive, new diesel vehicles can save thousands of dollars in maintenance, fuel and productivity per vehicle. Measure each piece of equipment for fuel efficiency and get rid of the bad ones! Replace and upgrade your equipment regularly. It may hurt now but it will pay you back.
8. Tune-up vehicles regularly: Do you have a stringent, well-managed maintenance policy? Many companies “fix it when it breaks.” This attitude costs too much in wasted fuel. A well maintained vehicle performs better, improves fuel efficiency, reduces toxic emissions and, in the long run, will cost less to maintain.
9. Pump it up: Proper tire inflation improves gas mileage. At 4Refuel our statistics show improperly inflated tires can cost up to two weeks worth of fuel per year! How big is your fleet? Two weeks per year per vehicle adds up to thousands of dollars in lost profits! In addition proper inflation results in improved vehicle and braking performance, and increases tire life.
10. Implement Advanced Mobile Asset Management Technology: Wow, that’s a mouthful! You can measure and manage your fleet better when you have the right information. Tracking miles traveled, average speed and engine efficiency is critical to cutting fuel costs. This information will help your drivers and managers optimize routes with better planning. Mapping software and GPS will eliminate thousands of unnecessary miles per week. Less time on the road means less fuel consumed, less wear on vehicles, decreased expenditures and overall increased productivity, plus lower toxic emissions!
Jack Lee is the President and CEO of 4Refuel Canada Inc in Vancouver, BC. Contact Jack firstname.lastname@example.org