"Fleet owners often hear how much fuel they can save by driving conservatively or using cruise control, and indeed these two tactics can reduce fuel consumption by up to 25%," says Eppinger. "But there are many other steps owners can take that cumulatively have just as much value—and also extend the life of their vehicles, These include not only better maintaining their vehicles but also implementing tracking and reporting systems that keep them apprised of fuel efficiency breakdowns."
In a 30-vehicle fleet with an average MPG of 27.3 (the corporate fuel economy standard in 2011) and an average mileage of 25,000 per vehicle per year, a one-dollar increase in gas prices equates to nearly $28,000 yearly in added fuel cost. Improving that number of 15% nets the fleet owner more than $4,000 in lost revenue, Eppinger points out.
"Some methods of improving mileage may appear negligible, given the amount of manual effort they require," says Eppinger. "However, dismissing these "lesser" improvements can be a fleet owners' biggest and most expensive mistake."
Eppinger offers these advanced strategies for fleet owners alarmed by the spike in fuel prices:
- Look at MPG reduction potential cumulatively, not individually. The MPG loss from an out-of-tune engine (4%), under-inflated tires (1.5%), and the wrong oil (1.5%) combined is greater than driving at high speeds 20% of the time (6%). Run with increased rolling resistance tires and you’ll net another 4% increase in MPG for a total of 11%.
- Evaluate fleet vehicles as a group and not just individually. Rank vehicle fuel economy (compared to what you expect) and then examine the worst underperformers more closely. If two 2006 Ford Econoline vans are 25% apart in fuel economy, the poorest performer—or its driver—needs serious help.
- Track mileage with each fill-up individually, not just averaged over time, to pinpoint the underlying causes of bad fuel economy. Reasons for poor MPG can be very specific. For example, a driver who fills in on the weekends may have a lead foot or not know how to use the GPS efficiently, throwing off a vehicle’s figures for the entire week.
- Get help in the form of tracking software. It's not easy to stay on top of fuel-saving strategies unless you run an easy-to-use (preferably mobile) vehicle maintenance and management solution. The best programs not only track mileage and remind you to do important maintenance; they also generate reports that help you identify problems.
About Ownersite Technologies
Ownersite Technologies, whose customers have maintained 225 million miles of records using the solution to date, provides comprehensive web-based and mobile solutions to enhance the safety, reliability and value of its customers’ personal and commercial assets and vehicles. Our low cost asset management tools put the advantages usually reserved for large fleet owners into the hands of small business owners for a fraction of the cost. Ownersite.com is distributed directly to businesses and consumers online as well as through our channel of financial service and insurance providers, automotive service shops, and enthusiast networks. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Roswell, GA, Ownersite Technologies is a privately held technology company formed by the original creators of http://www.F150online.com. For more information, visit http://www.ownersite.com.