Fuel Savings

Idle less, spend less

Most fleet operations managers are going to look towards fuel savings as a significant part of their initial ROI case. After all, regardless of what kind of fleet you are operating, fuel ranks in the top 3 or 4 cost areas in any case.

Implementing a Telematics system can improve efficiency, but it enables it based on creating changed and adopted driver behavior. Fuel savings of 10, 20, or even 25% are possible. Best practices established today call for positive reinforcements, from proactive coaching, driver rewards programs for example via travel / air miles, all the way to embedding driver behavior into performance based pay.

Speeding and aggressive driver behavior, as well as idling on stops, waiting for loading and unloading is the biggest contributors to fuel waste. Indirectly speeding and aggressive driving contribute to a higher insurance risk as well as higher maintenance cost for the vehicle.

Programs can include a scorecard with six to eight metrics, including safety, compliance, on-time service, fuel economy, idling, load acceptance and the accuracy of drivers’ planned time-of-availability messages sent to dispatch.

By using integrated systems to score driver performance and deliver scorecard analytics in a timely manner to drivers, fleets can create trustworthy pay-for-performance programs. All drivers, regardless of tenure, have an equal chance to boost their pay.

Other incentive ways could be that drivers with higher scores will be given more driver-friendly freight as a reward. The scores also could be used to prioritize driver-load assignments based on customer service needs. Drivers with higher scores would be assigned to customers with more time-sensitive freight.

Its best to have automated way to frequently update the driver about their performance, some systems allow that to happen when logging in for shifts and or directly on smartphones or in-cab mobile data devices. Some companies also publish driver compliance and scores in driver lounges and or via electronic newsletters.

By using the latest trends in technology convergence between the office and cab, fleets can give drivers an equal opportunity to view their performance and make necessary course corrections. 

The EPA Smartway program * provides some guidance around speeding and idle. For vehicles on the highway, one of the most effective ways to improve fuel efficiency is to reduce maximum speed to 60 mpg or less. There is a direct correlation between speeding and fuel economy. If you are currently averaging 5.75 mpg on the highway, reducing average speed from 62 mph to 61 mpg would result in a 0.12 improvement of mpg. A good rule of thumb is a 0.1 mpg improvement for every 1 mph reduction in speed over 55 mph.

According to the EPA Smartway Program:

  • Idling times should not exceed 12%.
  • An achievable target for idle time is 5 to 7%.
  • Small occurrences may occur dependent on driving conditions.
  • Each 1 mpg increase = about 2% lower mpg
  • At speeds over 60 mpg, fuel economy loss is greater than the time savings
  • Higher speeds increase engine and tire wear

There are also various Eco-Driving programs available, varying in length and time commitment from a few days to comprehensive 12 week programs. Divers taking these not only noted significant improvement in fuel economies but also their overall stress-levels being reduced at the same time.