Anyone running a commercial fleet will know how expensive fuel costs can be. Fleet managers, big and small, have reported spending on fuel accounts for up to a quarter of their total costs. Effective and efficient fuel usage can be challenging task but, offers huge saving potential to companies.
Minimising the potential burden of excessive fuel costs can be made easier by integrating sophisticated fuel management systems into fleet operations. They can help companies maximise productivity and lower costs by identifying inefficiencies in their fuel usage.
What Is A ‘Fuel Management System’?
Fuel management systems are used to monitor and control fuel consumption, usage and expenses. From drivers checking fuel gauges more frequently to fleet-wide, real-time fuel analytics. Fuel efficiency is usually measured by a vehicle’s fuel economy, or kilometers per litre travelled. Improving efficiency is the primary goal of a fuel management system.
Bettering a fleet’s fuel efficiency will largely depend on the type and age of the vehicles in that fleet. Newer cars, trucks and buses will maintain a higher fuel economy than older ones. However, there is a limit to those benefits and the addition of interventions like regular maintenance, better fuel practices or safer driving habits can have a major impact.
Automated systems have become more common in recent years and are pushing efficiencies even further with real-time alerts and fuel tracking for seamless monitoring. Adopting a fuel management system provides companies with valuable usage metrics and fuel data that allows them to manage fuel-related costs and cut unnecessary ones.
5 Ways Fuel Management Systems Benefit Vehicle Fleets
Improving the fuel efficiency of an entire fleet helps free up money and other resources. This can be used to invest in all kinds of new technologies and other fleet-wide improvements in the future.
Here are five ways fuel management systems help driving businesses improve their operations and efficiency, and lower their costs.
1. Better fuel economy
Lowering the cost of fuel is best performed by improving the way that fuel is used. There are many ways a fuel management system can facilitate improved fuel economy for vehicle fleets. For example, cars and trucks have engines that are optimised for driving the speed limit and exceeding 80kph, progressively, decreases their fuel economy.
Monitoring real-time events and tracking vehicle performance provides invaluable information to fleet managers who are able to promote good driving habits across their fleet. Fuel management systems help identify speeding, harsh braking events, abnormal routes and idling.
The updates and information provided allows businesses to improve fuel economy across their fleet which can accumulate to massive savings. Fleet managers are able to measure changes over time and incentivise good fuel-conservation practices while identifying bad driving behaviours and recognising drivers who need additional training.
2. Timely vehicle maintenance and care
It can be a lot to expect all drivers in a company to track their vehicle’s maintenance consistently and address problems on the road perfectly. Getting timely vehicle care and maintenance done is vital to improving a fleet’s efficiency.
A vehicle running at optimal performance will have a lower fuel consumption than one performing poorly. Fuel management systems can run real-time diagnostics on the health and performance of a vehicle’s engine and take the guesswork out of vehicle maintenance.
Having a regularly-serviced car or truck is necessary for maintaining engine health which is a good proxy for fuel efficiency. This includes more regular vehicle care too, like what petrol is used, tyre pressure and alignment, and oil changes.
Managers can become more proactive in the upkeep of their fleets while avoiding unexpected expenses and repairs.
3. Fewer losses due to theft and waste
Unnecessary expenses can take unexpected forms, like a fuel tank leaking petrol or theft by way of fuel skimming. A card reader can be replaced with a skimmer and use captured card data to perform fraudulent transactions which look normal to the driver.
A fleet management solution will often make use of real-time, GPS tracking that can be used to compare a vehicle’s location to abnormal gas purchases. If a manager or driver receives a card charge when no vehicles are at a petrol station, they will know that a card has been skimmed.
This can help in reporting fraudulent charges and making their reversal less time-consuming. Not to mention that fuel management systems can alert companies when fuel is decreasing sharply due to a substantial leak or, worse, thieves attempting to siphon petrol.
4. Sustainability and the environment
Making vehicle fleets more sustainable is not only beneficial to bottom lines but to the environment more broadly. Having automated fuel management systems allows for better fuel efficiency and will help lower a fleet’s impact on the climate.
Customers care about the environmental impact of the goods and services they consume and reducing your carbon footprint can improve customer retention. Being environmentally conscious will show employees and customers your investment in the future of your community.
The fact is that sustainability is a cost-related concern but, mostly, an ethical one. Digitising the processes by which fleets are run and maintained as well as transitioning to electric-powered vehicles are great ways to save the environment and avoid volatile petrol prices, too.
5. Making fuel tax reporting simpler
Significant expenditure on petrol means that fuel levies and tax reports can require serious attention. Fortunately, fuel management systems make it much easier to regulate and monitor the petrol a fleet is using over the course of a year.
Filing returns requires extensive information about when and how far vehicles in a fleet have travelled that year. Keeping track of all this information is difficult but, by automating the fuel management process, fleet managers are now able to streamline the reporting fuel usage for tax purposes.
Fuel management systems give fleets a chance to improve their efficiency and cut back on costs. Fleet managers are able to focus on their vehicles, operations and drivers rather than their expenses, to ensure optimal performance. With actionable information provided by real-time data, managers can reduce costs, save time, improve driving behaviour, streamline tax reporting and reduce their carbon footprint. These systems are a simple change that can transform any fleet around the world.