At any given time, drivers can get stuck in heavy traffic or at construction zones, or they can park their trucks with engines running, without thinking about the fuel they’re burning.
“These situations can result in big reductions in fuel economy,” says Dan Fehrenbacher, sales solution engineering manager for Zonar (www.zonarsystems.com), a company that provides electronic inspection, tracking and operations solutions for public and private fleets. “Without an effective telematics system, fleets wouldn’t know about these costs.
Fleets can use telematics systems to improve fuel economy and reduce fuel costs, he says.
ROUTE OPTIMIZATION AND FUEL CONSUMPTION
By using a full-featured telematics system, fleet managers can optimize vehicle routing, identify unauthorized use of vehicles and track what happens on their vehicles and when, explains Fehrenbacher. With geofencing features, fleets can establish geographic boundaries where, for example, drivers should or should not drive.
“A national fleet study indicated that for every 30 vehicles operated, on average, a fleet will experience 40 miles of unauthorized use on a weekly basis,” he notes. “It’s only 1.3 miles per vehicle per week, but it adds up.
“The average cost to operate a commercial vehicle is $1.70 per mile when you consider all of the costs associated with that use. Projecting that cost over 100 trucks is almost $12,000 per year.”
With the geofencing and alerting feature, if a vehicle enters an area that is restricted, such as a hazardous railroad crossing, the dispatcher can be instantly advised. Conversely, if a dispatcher needs to notify drivers of road closures or construction delays, he can alert the drivers and send that information to their in-cab navigation system.
The feature can also help drivers and fleets identify the right routes to get from Point A to Point B based on actual travel times and historical traffic patterns, says Fehrenbacher. That can greatly impact a fleet’s fuel economy, particularly in parcel, pick-up and delivery and food and beverage operations, where frequent stops are common.
IDLING, OVER-SPEED AND ACCELERATION REDUCTION
With fuel cost a paramount concern for fleets, it’s become critical for fleet managers to get drivers to reduce or eliminate their idling, speeding and rapid acceleration habits.
A good telematics system can help fleet managers identify those drivers who need additional training, Fehrenbacher says. It can also provide fleets with an effective real-time notification tool that can encourage drivers to adjust their own behaviors.
“Telematics technology helps fleets by reducing their fuel costs associated with out-of-route miles and excessive idling, and by reducing the risks and liabilities and the costs associated with lead-footed drivers. These are just a few of the operational efficiencies fleet operators can realize with the right telematics system.”