Did you know that after depreciation, fuel is your company’s next largest vehicle fleet expense? And considering its significance, it’s a good idea to have controls in place to keep costs manageable.
The truth is, rising fuel prices, combined with the pressure to keep costs down, means rising stress and increased work for fleet managers. The good news is, there are specific actions you can take to better control your fleet’s fuel costs.
In today’s blog, we’ll outline three key strategies to reduce fleet fuel costs for your business:
- Changing driver behavior
- Improving fuel expense management, and
- Choosing the right vehicles.
Improve Cost Reduction by Changing Driver Behavior
One important action you can take to keep fuel costs down is to encourage your drivers to make smarter fuel purchasing decisions.
For example, it’s not uncommon to see a 10, 20, or even 30-cent variance in fuel prices within the same zip code. With gas prices constantly creeping up, it is even more important to find the location with the lowest prices. Paying too much at the pumps can have a negative impact on your bottom line, so be proactive when it comes to ensuring your drivers are purchasing fuel at the best price. A general rule of thumb is to encourage drivers to choose tier-2 suppliers over tier-1 suppliers, which will result in lower prices at the pump.
Monitoring driving can also lead to significant savings for your business. For example, fleet management best practices including proper route planning, encouraging drivers to reduce idling, avoid harsh stops and starts, and maintaining the speed limit will all result in less wasted fuel and an improved bottom line.
Read more in: Reduce Fleet Costs With These 3 Proven Strategies
Improve Fuel Expense Management with a Fuel Card Program
If you don’t have a fuel card program in place, the truth is, you’re likely spending more than you should on fuel. Fuel card programs are great for avoiding added expenses in a variety of ways. Did you know that, on average, for businesses not enrolled in a fuel card program:
- 3% of annual fuel costs are unauthorized fuel purchases?
- 15% of annual fuel costs are unnecessary premium fuel purchases?
- 2% of annual fuel costs are non-fuel purchases (lunches, snacks, soda, etc.) that are added to the bill?
For companies without a fuel card program, fuel purchases are often reported on an expense report or arrive as a line item on a statement. Therefore, you may not have the ability to detect unauthorized transactions.
Unfortunately, most businesses don’t even realize they have a spending problem. The results only show up when they see a significant drop in fuel expenses after implementing a fuel card program. In fact, on average, businesses that move from no program to a managed fuel program realize savings of up to 15% on their overall fuel management costs.
So how does a fuel card program work?
A fleet fuel card is accepted at 98% of stations across the US, so drivers don’t have to waste time and fuel driving around looking for a specific vendor. Fuel cards also come with built-in controls that allow you to set spending limits, and you’ll receive real-time alerts if a suspicious purchase is made. Additionally, a fuel card will reduce the administrative time required to monitor and process fuel receipts.
Rather than spending time reconciling invoices from each employee, you’ll receive a single detailed, annotated invoice every month that you can quickly review. You’ll also have access to a secure online portal where you can monitor your fleet’s overall fuel spend with ease.
In summary, a fuel card program saves a significant amount of time for fleet managers, simplifies gas purchases for drivers, provides better fuel cost tracking, and facilitates better controls and cost savings amid rising gas prices.
Choose the Right Vehicles and Manage Them Properly
One of the best vehicle fleet management strategies you can use to keep fuel costs low is to choose the right vehicles for the jobs at hand.
When looking for a new vehicle, first consider the right “fit-for-purpose” model you need for the job, then look for the best fuel efficiency within that category. Do not get stuck with the wrong vehicle that isn’t fit for the job you need it to do, simply because it has the best mileage.
Properly cycling into new vehicles is also an effective strategy to lower your overall costs. If you keep vehicles in your fleet for too long, you miss out on opportunities to run the newer, more fuel-efficient models that are continually coming onto the market.
Additionally, regular vehicle maintenance will help improve your fuel efficiency. Things like keeping your engines tuned, tires properly inflated, and using the proper motor oil all contribute to better efficiency.
Improving driver behavior, implementing a fuel card program, and choosing the right fuel-efficient vehicles all lead to substantial fuel and efficiency savings for your company. Whether you choose to implement just one of these strategies, or all three, you’ll be well on your way to lowering your fuel costs and improving your bottom line.
Would you like a free, personalized cost-savings estimate for your fleet? Check out our fleet cost calculator tool underneath the author section below. It takes about five minutes to complete, and you can do it all on your own, right here on our website.