Fuel costs are one of a fleet manager’s largest expenses. Applying the best fleet fuel practices such as idling reduction efficient routing are highly effective approaches to reducing fuel costs. Using a web-based fleet GPS management system, purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles, and relocating a key fueling station are also ways to reduce fuel consumption and employee hours.
Fleet Managers should apply the following basic principles of good fuel management because these are proven to be the most effective approach trimming fuel costs and consumption. Once these “best of” fleet management practices are implemented and consistently executed, innovative solutions can further promote control of one of fleet’s most expensive operational costs. The Best Fleet Fuel Management Principles include:
- Right-sizing fleet vehicles.
- Idling reduction.
- Fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Consistent scheduled maintenance.
- Eco-Smart driver education.
- Tracking fuel expenses.
- Efficient route planning.
For example, the State of Colorado Department of Fleet Management created a culture that recognizes petroleum-use reductions as a top priority. In 2009, the State achieved a petroleum reduction of 11.6-percent toward a goal of 25-percent overall reduction. With the current petroleum reduction of 300,000 gallons, the State cut its greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 6 million lbs., according to Art Hale, state fleet manager.
Progress toward the goal was made through replacing fleet vehicles with hybrid vehicles, increasing use of alternative fuels, using fleet GPS tracking system together with their in-house Web-based data management system, MyCARS (Colorado Automotive Reporting System), to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Colorado’s State Fleet is using a telematics GPS fleet tracking system to measure real-time fuel-consuming driver behaviors, including idle time, speeding, and erratic driving. According to Hale, each state vehicle reported in a state analysis driven 10 fewer miles per week would cut nearly 2 million annual VMT, saving 115,000 gallons of fuel each year.
In the first two quarters of 2010, the State of Colorado received $379,716 in fuel reduction rebates. Most state agencies plan to invest these funds toward green fleet activities to further enhance petroleum reduction even further in 2010. The State of Colorado currently operates over 1,200 flexible-fuel vehicles and 500 hybrid-electric vehicles in their Fleet Services Department.