The good news for those looking to reduce fuel consumption is that with a few adjustments to an organisation’s daily routine, elevated fuel charges can be bought down (in many cases by a significant amount). But there’s more to making this happen than simply instructing drivers to ease up on the pedal. The most successful way to achieve a modification in driving habits is with the help of technology.
Telematics can provide a fleet manager several different ways to decrease fuel consumption and operating costs, through this single resource.
With GPS location tracking, fleet managers can know where a vehicle is in real time. Combined with software that keeps track of weather and traffic conditions, managers and dispatchers can route the vehicle to avoid adverse conditions, saving fuel as well as shortening drive time. When the fleet has a number of vehicles on the road, dispatch can match a delivery destination to the nearest vehicle, further cutting down on miles traveled.
High speeds consume more fuel. Above 55 mph, each additional mile per hour decreases fuel economy by 0.1 mpg. A truck traveling at 65 mph loses a mile per gallon, and that adds up at the end of a trip, or a day. Telematics can monitor driver behavior to detect unsafe or overly aggressive driving, or excessive speed. This technology can send a driver an immediate alert to reduce speed, which will contribute to better fuel management.
Less engine idling
Traffic congestion or less-than-optimal routing on a job site will add to engine idle time. Some fleets have been found to run up idle numbers as high as 40 or 50 percent of operation. This means that up to half the time the engine is running, it’s burning fuel without any benefit. Again, telematics and improved routes can help, in reducing or avoiding the conditions that lead to excess engine idling.
Tire sensors and telematics data can alert a fleet manager when tire pressure is low. Underinflation can exert a serious impact on fuel consumption; soft tires may reduce mileage by as much as 10 percent.
A well-maintained truck operates at maximum efficiency, and that includes getting the most out of every drop of petroleum burned. Telematics solutions that offer maintenance monitoring can provide an automated service schedule so that owner-operators and fleet managers will stay on top of required care. As an added benefit, this will prevent excessive wear and prolong the life of a fleet’s most costly assets—equipment that is far more expensive to repair or replace than the price of a tank of fuel.