How to Reduce Your Commercial Vehicle Fleet’s Fuel Consumption and Save on Petrol

There are a variety of reasons why a vehicle fleet company would invest in fleet management systems and vehicle telematics. Primarily, the goal of these new technologies is to optimise the business operations of any vehicle fleet. One of the best ways to improve your fleet operations is to introduce fuel management systems that help you track, optimise and manage your fleet’s petrol usage.

Any fleet manage worth their salt will know that fuel consumption can account for up to two-thirds of a fleet company’s annual budget. By integrating fuel management tools into your larger fleet management system, you can reduce your overall fuel consumption and save money on your fleet’s operating costs.

Here are some of tips, tricks and tools that fleet companies can use to begin reducing their petrol consumption and improve their overall fuel management practices:

Conserving Petrol When You Are Running Low

One of the best ways to improve your fuel consumption numbers is to address certain driving behaviours that expend unnecessary fuel. It is especially challenging to keep your vehicle going on long-haul trucking routes when your fuel gauge is almost red. Consider these tips for saving fuel while you and your vehicle try to reach your destination or the next petrol station.

Do not speed up

It is always tempting – when your petrol meter is running low – to try and race to the next petrol station. You want to get there quickly and fill up as soon as you can, but this can be detrimental. In general, the faster a vehicle travels, the faster that vehicle will consume its fuel. To save on petrol, drive steady and stick to the speed limit.

Turn off the AC

It can be tough on hot summer days or cold winter nights, in South Africa, to reduce your AC (air conditioner) or heater usage in your truck or car. When you are in a pinch, turn off your vehicle’s AC (and radio) to help you reach your destination. Being cold or sweating for a few minutes may be just the trick you need to get to next petrol station.

Close the windows

You can save a significant amount of petrol by ensuring your commercial vehicles are as aerodynamic as possible. When traveling at high speeds, wind resistance can cause your truck to work harder to maintain its speed. Close your windows, pack the bed well and do not overload your vehicle, these can create drag, reduce aerodynamics and increase fuel consumption.

How to Save Petrol as A Driver

Being a driver for a fleet company is a big responsibility. You are responsible for a high-value and critical asset to your fleet company’s business operations. Here are a few ways commercial drivers can reduce their consumption and save on petrol costs.

Monitor tire pressure

Ensuring that your vehicle’s tyres are correctly inflated is a simple and effective means of reducing your fuel expenses and improving fuel efficiency. If your tyres are overinflated, it can lead to less traction, wheel shape distortion and increased wear and tear. Underinflated tyres will cause increased wear and tear on your tyres and drag on your car. These, inevitably, increase fuel and maintenance costs.

Always drive smooth and steady

Good driving behaviours are a cornerstone of effective fuel management for fleets. Varying speeds wildly, braking harshly, accelerating aggressively, turning sharply and navigating poorly can cause you to waste petrol. For example, varying between 75 and 85km/h a few times a minute can increase petrol usage by up to 20%.

Maintain your vehicle’s aerodynamics

As mentioned, ensuring good aerodynamics on your commercial vehicle can help reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency, especially when travelling at high speeds. Whether you drive a large truck, small mover, taxi or car; your vehicle has been designed to minimise wind resistance. Do not open windows, overload and poorly pack your vehicle in order to maintain its aerodynamics.

Check traffic conditions and stick to your routes

Modern technologies, such as GPS navigation, fleet management systems and fleet fuel monitoring apps, have allowed drivers to pick the routes and times for their journeys more carefully. Drivers need to monitor traffic conditions and avoid heavy traffic, which could lead to increased idling time and, therefore, fuel consumption. Route optimisation is a primary focus of modern fleet management.

How to Save Petrol as A Fleet Manager

Fleet managers will, obviously, play a critical role in improving fuel efficiency and optimising fuel consumption fleet-wide. Modern fleet management software and vehicle telematics are making it easier for fleet managers to monitor fleet operations, driver behaviour and petrol usage.

Optimise vehicle routes

Optimising vehicle routes is a sure-fire means of improving your fleet’s fuel efficiency. Picking the shortest and fastest routes to a destination requires an understanding of the route, traffic conditions and fuel usage. ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) use GPS tracking and video telematics to help managers optimise their drivers’ routes and reduce petrol consumption fleet-wide. Making it there quickly only helps if drivers can do it safely and efficiently.

Reduce idling

Vehicle idling is one of the most common ways that a company will increase their annual fleet fuel consumption. Sitting in heavy traffic, leaving the truck running while at a rest stop and any other time your vehicle is idle and running – you are wasting petrol. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but modern fleet management solutions help detect excessive idling, monitor petrol consumption and improve driver training.

Invest in fuel management solutions

Modern fleet management systems are designed to provide fleet managers with a concise and up-to-date view of their fleet operations. Fuel management solutions can be integrated into your larger fleet management system; helping you increase fuel efficiency by improving driver behaviour, vehicle maintenance, detailed fuel usage data and route optimisation. These intelligent systems are built to give you the competitive edge over fleet companies operating with traditional fleet management systems.

If you are looking to invest in the latest fleet management solutions and vehicle telematics or to integrate a fuel management system into your fleet operations, speak to one of our expert consultants at Landmark Tracking.