Plan now. Save later.

Posted by GreenKey - 20/05/11 at 02:05 pm

As fleet managers strive to find the lowest operating cost of their fleet, identifying opportunities to keep fuel expenses in line with projected budgets becomes difficult. With average national fuel prices fluctuating and in some cases projected to be greater than $3.50, it’s necessary for those who are in charge of fleet operations to create a strategy now to offset high fuel costs in the future.

The EPA states that driver behavior contributes to as much as 33% of a vehicle’s fuel economy. Driver behavior training in combination with telematics and GPS reporting provide the “one-two punch” that can reap the best benefits right now to reduce mileage consumption, increase productivity, and increase efficiency while reducing fuel consumption and spend. Some telematics devices can be easily installed into your existing vehicles, and training your drivers is perhaps the most cost-effective, short-term solution. Programs such as GreenDriver® and DriverPoint™ Telematics can help address these issues.

Optimizing your vehicle selection can lead to the most dramatic increase in overall fleet fuel economy and therefore reduction in fuel costs. Without jeopardizing business application, ensure your drivers are utilizing the most efficient vehicle to meet their job responsibilities. For instance, consider switching from a sport utility vehicle to an intermediate sedan. And while less dramatic a change, rightsizing a V6 cylinder vehicle to a 4-cylinder vehicle can also yield potentially large increases in fuel efficiency.

Consider the use of a hybrid vehicle when possible. Many popular vehicles today come in a similar hybrid version. For example, as Tom Sloan noted in his January GreenKey Blog, “The Ford Escape Hybrid and Mazda Trib­ute Hybrid both have fuel effi­ciency rat­ings over 30 MPG.” Hybrid vehicles are a great solution for fleets looking to reduce fuel spend and carbon emissions without relying on one energy source.*

Consider the use of alternative fuel vehicles when possible. A wide range of alternative fuel vehicles exist today in all segment classes. While there are pros and cons to each fuel, it’s important to evaluate each as an opportunity for your fleet. Existing infrastructure is being expanded all the time to meet the increasing demands of diesel, natural gas, propane, and electricity.

With current Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards, vehicle manufacturers are required to consistently increase vehicle fuel efficiency over the next five years. Simply replacing older, less efficient vehicles with new models can lead to an increase in vehicle efficiency. Most vehicles will realize an increase of 2-3 miles per gallon from 2007 to 2011. Work with your consultant to determine if vehicle cycling is an opportunity your fleet can benefit from.

Combining rightsizing, the use of alternative fuels, telematics, and vehicle cycling can help you hedge against increased fuel costs. Establishing a strategy to implement a change to fleet policy now can reduce increased costs in the future. If you’re a Donlen customer, contact your consultant to help you develop your comprehensive strategy for the future. One – or all – of these changes to your fleet will help you prepare for the future.


*Please note: given the recent supply chain disruption, there may be a delay in the production of some of the vehicles mentioned above. Please refer to our fleet update page, to identify any production delays.

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