One way companies can lower annual fuel costs by 10 to 15 percent is to employ on location-based technologies, says Mark Wallin, vice president of product management at Telogis (www.telogis.com) – a company that provides a cloud-based location intelligence software platform to help businesses optimize their mobile assets and critical data. These technologies provide visibility into three key areas that potentially have a significant effect on the cost of fuel: speeding, idling and vehicle maintenance.
REDUCE EXCESSIVE SPEEDING
The fastest way to save money at the pump is to reduce excessive speeding, Wallin says. He cites data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that shows that for every 5 mph driven over 50 mph is equal to paying an additional 24 cents per gallon for fuel.
To identify where excess speeding is a problem, location intelligence software can detect and record vehicle speeds and compare them against posted speed limits, he explains. With the software, managers can take the following measures to address driver behavior:
- Set speed limits on roadways and freeways.
- Set up alerts that let supervisors know about any speeding events over the posted and set speed limits.
- Coach drivers on the importance of slowing down and watching rpm to increase mpg.
- Reward and commend drivers who stay within the speed range.
CURB UNNECESSARY IDLING
Wallin says location-based software solutions provide detailed reports to pinpoint when trucks are unnecessarily idling – a fuel-wasting practice. This allows companies to set rules to bring excessive idling under control.
Taking a proactive role goes a long way to help increase savings at the pump, he says.
Proper maintenance is also important in the fuel economy equation.
Keeping vehicles operating optimally at all times can improve fuel mileage by an average of 13 cents per gallon, according to the DOE, notes Wallin. This can make a huge difference when multiplied across an entire fleet.
He says among the most important maintenance areas that affect fuel economy are:
- Maintain proper tire inflation pressure and check for tire wear.
- Replace fuel filters at the proper intervals.
- Keep all axles aligned to minimize rolling resistance.
- Repair vehicle body damage (streamlined vehicle shape reduces fuel usage).
- Use recommended grades of motor oil.
An integrated location intelligence platform can help automate regular preventative maintenance service – without workflow disruption – by providing real-time maintenance alerts on vehicles, he says. With route planning tools, routes can be adjusted to make up for vehicles out of service for maintenance or repair.