If you are managing a large fleet then you have probably found that it is cost-effective to have a fuel storage tank on your property to handle some or all of your fueling needs.
Fuel costs are a major cost of doing business when operating a fleet of any size. Purchasing new vehicles can significantly reduce fuel cost, but can be prohibitive as a capital investment. Most fleet managers are unable to replace their entire fleet and may continue to operate older vehicles for some time. This means that proper maintenance to improve and maintain fuel efficiency is an important, and cost-effective, way of reducing overall costs.
Here are a few things you can do to maintain fuel efficiency in cars and trucks:
The Department of Energy (DOE) just released diesel fuel pricing data that has diesel fuel prices rising for the 10th straight week jumping 7.5 cents to $3.513. It’s the largest increase since December 6, 2010 early in this rise of fleet fueling prices for trucking. This increase puts the diesel fuel price 74.4 cents higher than this same time last year. Is there any good news in the fuel management world or is everything glum?
Well, some good news is that crude oil prices have come down over the past week. Things have settled a little bit in Egypt and it usually takes a solid week or two before diesel fuel prices catch up at retail locations as compared to the open market. In a nutshell, if nothing crazy happens, your diesel fuel prices should be going down to that $3.40 level soon. I know, it’s not great, but it’s still better than $3.513 for fleet fueling this week.
The key right now to most of your fuel management solutions is to get to the core of your fueling programs. If you feel like your fleet company’s understanding might not be up to par, then it’s time for a fuel analysis on the who, what, where, how and why of your fuel management.
Who?: Who is the person in your fleet company’s organization that really has his finger on this? Is it you? Is it the fleet manager? Fuel manager? (Maybe in title only.) Fleet fuel manager? Director? Or maybe, it’s really no one at all.
What?: As in– what does your fleet fueling program look like? “What does that mean?” you might ask. Do you have as many fleet cards or fuel card companies as you do locations? Are you using mobile fueling and not sure why? Or, do you think you should be using mobile fueling but don’t know how to do it? Do you have a fuel saving plan as part of the program?
Where?: Where do your trucks go to buy diesel fuel? Are you using truck stops, card locks or do you have a mobile fueling company coming on location to fuel your trucks where they are parked? How do you know what fleet management approach is best for your fleet company’s vehicles?
How?: How are you going to improve your diesel fuel buying if you already believe you are buying well? Another question is how do you know that you really are buying well? Who told you that? How can you be certain? How do your fueling purchases compare against other fleet companies? How are you going to change your fuel management system? It’s hard and even though it’s a big expense item most companies usually push it to the back burner. How do your fuel cards or fleet cards work? How is the fuel auditing being done on all your fueling transactions?
Why?: Why are diesel fuel additives so expensive? Why does your fleet credit card charge a fee? Why does your fuel inventory never match at the end of the month? Why don’t you see fuel savings when your fleet management keeps putting new fuel management systems in place?
These are very important questions that most fleet managers or someone in your organization should really be looking at. As I have said before, and it might sound crazy, but we talk with more companies that need our help than don’t need help. Most of us have heard the expression that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This is diesel fuel buying we are talking about. It’s not time to be dangerous, its time to be smart. Increase your knowledge and get the answers to your questions. There is safe ground to stand on and you can improve your company’s bottom line. Consult with a fleet fueling expert and start implementing a fuel management program that you can count on.