Tracking dozens of fleet vehicles at once is a tough job for any fleet manager. Upcoming vehicle emissions regulations in California are making the job even more challenging, especially because the logistics of ensuring that a non-California truck doesn’t end up on California roads incurring fines could be quite difficult. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is currently debating a diverse set of regulations that will have a significant impact on fleets operating in California. CARB actually fined several California companies for failing to inspect their diesel trucks. Fleet management should be aware that currently eighteen other states are considering vehicle emission regulations similar to the CARB rules.
Fortunately fleet managers, fleet vehicle owners and truck drivers have an ally on their side – the NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA). NAFA is working hard to ensure its members’ needs are being considered in CARB’s decision making process. NAFA recently formed a new sub-committee of NAFA’s Fuels & Technology Advisory Council called the CARB Advisory Council. The primary purpose of the NAFA CARB Advisory Council is to give input to the CA Air Resources Board on regulatory decisions that impact fleet managers in California. The new council plans to meet with CARB leaders on a regular basis in order to promote NAFA’s position of supporting emissions reductions and fuel efficiency instead of mandates that are financially infeasible. In addition, the council will keep NAFA members current on any new or potential legislation that could have an affect on them.
For fleets having a tough time managing the strict emission requirements, they should consider investing in a green fleet GPS management system that can stop wasteful driving habits and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Excessive Fuel Reports can calculate how much money this is costing and shows how much CO2 is being emitted due to poor driving habits. FieldLogix Green Reports give each vehicle a Green Score and ranks each driver by who is the most efficient. In addition to cutting fuel costs, a GPS tracking system can increase workforce productivity, improve customer service, and helps you to do your part to protect our planet while saving time and money. Each year fleet vehicles burn close to $9 billion of fuel annually due to unnecessary idling and speeding. Chances are each of your fleet vehicles burns up to 800 gallons of fuel per year due to unnecessary idling alone, which costs about $2400 per fleet vehicle annually.
A recent report from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office included recommendations that will save NYC taxpayers an estimated $71 million in fleet management cost over the next four years by streamlining government fleet management, centralizing fleet operations, cutting vehicle fuel use, and decreasing the number of fleet vehicles. It’s part of the Mayor’s overall plan to save taxpayers over $500 million over the next four years by significantly increasing government efficiency.
According to the NYC Mayor’s Office report “the city spends approximately $667 million annually on fleet operations — this includes $283 million on maintenance, $120 million for fuel, $14 million for fuel tank compliance, maintenance, and spill remediation, and approximately $250 million for vehicle and equipment procurement. Maintenance expenditures consist of salary, which includes overtime, differential and fringe benefits; overhead – including building maintenance and rent; and vendor expenditures, including parts and maintenance services. Salary alone represents 70% of the NYC’s expenditures for maintenance.”
Bloomberg’s administration wants to centralize the city’s fleet operations. The report showed high quantity of decentralization across the city’s fleet operations which is not very efficient. The city employs more than 1,500 fleet management people that repair vehicles at 126 shops, each with their own set of equipment, staff, and parts inventory. Based on these numbers alone, it is clear that there is room for improvement in the fleet operations department.
Fleet GPS tracking data combined with tax software can ensure private fleet operators in the US that you aren’t overpaying on your International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) taxes. For most fleet managers, calculating IFTA taxes is a tedious but necessary administrative task. The good news is that this process can be automated if a fleet manager uses GPS tracking/telematics devices in its trucks, along with fuel cards and IFTA tax reporting software (or a tax service professional that uses this kind of software). Then the mileage driven in each state and fuel expenses for each vehicle can be automatically uploaded into the software and the proper IFTA paperwork can be printed out.
Using a GPS Tracking System combined with proper tax software can make this process much more manageable and less labor intensive. If you have a large fleet of over 50 vehicles, then there is a good chance you have an employee whose only job is to handle this paper-intensive task. If you are paying an administrator say $38,000 year to manage this process, investing in a Fleet GPS Tracking System is a no-brainer. While a fleet operator would probably never buy a telematics solution solely to eliminate an administrative position, it can contribute to the ROI offered by fleet telematics solutions.
Since truckers typically operate across state lines they often need to calculate their usage in various locations. GPS position reports are a good way to do this as not only would it report your GPS location but it would also report the exact time for each position report. Ideally, you could automate this process with reporting transmitted in real-time as you go.
Controversial regulations in Florida are now allowing trucks to be able to run 8,000 pounds heavier on non-interstate highways. Despite opposition from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the new regulations say tractor-trailers may weigh up to 88,000 pounds on designated routes while fleet loads on interstate highways would continue to be restricted to 80,000 lbs. Several major trucking lobbyists claimed that the trucking industry needed this weight expansion in order to cut high fuel costs and create stability in a tough economy.
The new fleet legislation, signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist, began taking effect in July 2010. Many opponents to the new laws say claim that the legislation, attached to general transportation bills House Bill 1271 and Senate Bill 2362, were moved through the legislative process with no outreach to the local communities in which these heavier fleets would travel. Previous regulations stated that the trucks be must be 4 tons lighter in order to travel safely on Florida roads and highways.
Among the concerns cited by OOIDA are premature highway deterioration, increased maintenance costs, and truck driver safety concerns. Opponents claimed that allowing more weight is dangerous and damaging to local roads. Heavier trucks are harder to stop and accelerate which can cause more accidents. According to their estimates, heavier trucks could cost local and state governments more than $150 million per year to offset additional highway maintenance.
Did you know that the Federal government produces more greenhouse gas pollution than any other company or organization in the US? The US government is actually the single largest energy consumer in the entire country. The federal government’s annual utility and fuel bill in 2008 was over $24.5 billion. Because the government is responsible for such a huge portion of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, President Obama recently created an Executive Order on Federal Sustainability called Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. His ambitious new policy, announced in July 2010, will reduce greenhouse gas pollution from non-direct sources such as employee commuting and travel by 13% by year 2020.
These new regulations demonstrate the level of Obama’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by federal government operations. This all-new commitment further increases the government’s greenhouse gas reduction goals set in January 2010 which are expected to reduce the government’s greenhouse gas emission by 28% by 2020. The goals set in January are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution produced from direct sources such as Federal fleet vehicles and buildings. The government owns 600,000 fleet vehicles and manages nearly 500,000 buildings. Clearly Obama is trying to set a good example for the entire country and is trying to create a green fleet for America.
Fleet managers who want to save money on fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve their environmental image should consider becoming a certified partner of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay Program. Participation in the EPA’s program is completely voluntary and helps fleet operators and truck drivers to save fuel, save money and help the environment at the same time. Sounds like a win-win for fleets looking to cut costs and go green at the same time. The SmartWay program is a collaboration between the freight industry and the federal government to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, improve fuel efficiency and strengthen the freight industry as a whole.
The EPA’s SmartWay program identifies products and services that that reduce transportation related costs and emissions such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Certification in the SmartWay program requires fleet vehicle operators to use verified low rolling resistance tires, such as GoodYear’s Fuel Max technology tires or Dunlop’s FM series. According to GoodYear, both of these lines of tires can improve fuel efficiency by up to 4%.
GPS fleet management systems are designed with one primary goal: to save business managers time and money. There many benefits to using a fleet GPS management system. Here is a list of the top 10 reasons.
1. Increased Profits and Performance
Access to vehicle efficiency and driver productivity data helps a company manage the costs related to fleet operations. There can be a significant reduction in employee overtime costs and driver down-time; reduced maintenance costs directly affect the bottom line. Plus improved route efficiency and fleet metrics allow for expanding customer base. GPS truck tracking saves approximately $5,484 per employee annually.
2. Improved Fleet Operations
GPS tracking systems enable real-time decision making plus enhanced accountability of drivers and assets. Fleet managers will no longer have to rely on driver log sheets, service forms and truck maintenance records to keep track of fleet vehicle operations. Instant access to vehicle efficiency and driver productivity data can help a company better manage the costs related to fleet operations. GPS vehicle tracking allows companies to add more jobs to each work day. Companies typically see a 25% increase in work orders completed after implementing a GPS tracking device.
3. Reduced Fuel Costs and CO2 Emissions
Poor driving behavior such as speeding and unnecessary idling wastes fuel and can be identified with a GPS fleet tracking system. Fleet vehicles can use up to 800 gallons of fuel per year due to unnecessary idling alone, which costs approximately $2400 per vehicle per year. Every unnecessary mile you eliminate will reduce your carbon footprint and can make your entire fleet more productive and environmentally responsible.
Fleet managers are constantly trying to figure out ways to increase productivity while cutting costs. The global economic recession combined with rising fuel costs has made fleet management more challenging than ever. With fuel topping $3 a gallon or more in some regions, fleet operators are searching for ways to make their drivers more efficient, while also abiding by strict legal requirements that restrict vehicle idling and hours of service. Considering the current economic times, even a small decrease in costs can mean the difference between a profit or a loss for many fleet operators.
The challenges facing fleet managers are becoming increasingly difficult. A fleet tracking system that lowers operating costs can help many companies to not only survive but thrive in today’s tough economic climate. A fleet tracking system can provide a return on investment in approximately four to nine months, depending on your industry. Modern fleet tracking and management systems are making it possible for managers to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, while simultaneously improving safety and legal compliance, and optimizing vehicle and driver operations. A GPS tracking system helps dispatchers to route the nearest vehicle to a specific location, navigate the best route, and minimize maintenance costs. Fleet managers can also reduce truck driver overtime and administrative costs by automating fuel costs and tax reporting with electronic truck driver reports.
According to a recent research report published by IE Market Research (IEMR), the global market for GPS navigation and location based services will increase to $13.4 billion in 2014, a compound annual growth rate of 51.3%. In the USA and Canada, the GPS navigation and location based search market will increase to over $4.3 billion. The USA and Canada will represent nearly one-third (32.4%) of the world market share for GPS navigation and location based services spending over the next 5 years. The USA will still be one of the largest single markets for location based services in the world with a compound annual growth rate of 37.5% forecasted over the next five years. The full IEMR report (single-copy) costs $2,995.
The adoption of GPS in mobile handsets is largely being driven by smart phones. Given the proliferation of smartphones these figures are not all that surprising, despite moderate industry growth in the past. GPS-enabled smartphones such as the Apple iPhone and Google Android are playing a huge part in the GPS technology revolution that IEMR is forecasting. Google now includes free GPS navigation for its smartphones and Apple’s iPhone app store is filled with dozens of free and low-cost navigation applications. in 2009, more than 40 percent of all smartphone owners used their mobile devices to get turn-by-turn directions, according to data from Compete, an industry leading web analytics firm. For iPhone users, the figure is even higher at over 80 percent. After all, smart phones are, well, smart. It’s convenient to not only use your phone to take make calls, but also to send SMS text messages, take pictures, send emails on the go, search the web, listen to music, and yes, even to get turn-by-turn directions.
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