Many industries have to deliver or receive goods regularly as part of their operations. But to do that, they’ll need a commercial fleet’s services to help them transport these goods. Some commercial fleets are owned by a company itself or operated by a different owner and become a third-party provider. As projected, the market for fleet services is expected to grow to over USD$1,700 billion in 2029.
But while the demand for fleet services is growing, the commercial fleet industry is also continuously facing complex issues regarding fuel efficiency and economy. Fuel makes up a massive portion of the commercial fleet’s overall operating costs, considering that the fuel price is regularly increasing. Thus, most fleet owners are actively finding ways to improve fuel efficiency and operate a more sustainable commercial fleet business that can save money.
So, if you’re looking to reduce your operational costs and make the most of your fuel, this article will give you a few tips to make your commercial fleet fuel-efficient.
1. Perform Regular Vehicle Inspection
Like any other thing, your vehicles need regular maintenance to prolong their lifespan. But other than that, routine vehicle inspections are also necessary to detect engine problems that could cause high fuel consumption.
For example, suppose the NOx (nitrogen oxide) sensor of one of your vehicles was damaged, and you weren’t able to detect it for a few days. This damage can adversely affect your vehicle’s overall performance and fuel efficiency. The motor will start running rough, and its fuel consumption will excessively increase. And if this goes on long enough, your driver will be surprised that the vehicle will stop running and break down altogether.
That’s why you need an NOx sensor that’s functioning efficiently as it helps detect nitrogen oxide emissions from your vehicle and regulate it to ensure it conforms to the emissions standards. At the same time, a well-functioning NOx sensor will also keep your vehicle’s fuel consumption and efficiency in check.
2. Plan For More Efficient Routes
Are your fleet drivers always driving around the state, passing through different traffics and busy roads? While these are all part of the job, letting your drivers go through busy and high-traffic streets can lead to more idle time on the road, increasing fuel consumption. For maximum fuel efficiency, plan your drivers’ routes before letting them drive to their assigned destinations. Check for any possible busy roads and point them to alternative roads with less traffic.
You can invest in GPS tracking technology for all your vehicles. This will help you track which drivers are closest to the next client location and assign them to drive to that particular destination. That way, your drivers won’t have to drive back and forth the entire day.
3. Reduce Engine Idling
As mentioned, more idling time can cause your vehicle to use more fuel. Idling doesn’t only happen when your driver is stuck in the middle of heavy traffic. It can also occur when done intentionally by your driver. For example, it is considered idling to stop on the roadside to eat food, talk with random people, or take a bathroom break while the engine is on. When this goes on regularly, your vehicle’s fuel consumption increases without you knowing it.
With your GPS tracking, you can use it to check heavy-traffic routes and monitor your drivers’ idle time. You can see where your drivers are idling and for how long. This will give insight into how much fuel has been consumed or wasted within that idling time frame.
Educating your drivers about how their idling time can impact your vehicles’ fuel consumption is also recommended. Idling for even as quick as 10 seconds is enough to waste unnecessary fuel. If they need to stop on the roadside for personal reasons, they must turn off the engine to save on fuel.
4. Regularly Check The Tire Pressure
If you’ve experienced driving a bike with a flat tire or low tire pressure before, you know it needs a lot of time and effort to paddle it up to speed. The same goes for your fleet vehicles. When one or more of its tires have low tire pressure, expect that the engine will work twice harder to get it up to speed, leading to an excessively increased in fuel consumption.
Therefore, inspect your tires daily or weekly and see that the pressure reaches the required PSI (pound per square inch) levels. Also, ensure the tires aren’t punctured or close to becoming flat. Avoid over-inflating your tires over the recommended pressure, as this can decrease your tire’s life.
5. Use A Practical Fuel Type
For long-term fuel efficiency, consider switching to a more practical fuel type. There are other alternatives other than diesel and gasoline for your fleet vehicles. Using the right fuel can help reduce your fuel costs and, at the same time, reduce your carbon emissions.
Here are some practical fuel types to consider:
- Natural gas
Remember, some of these fuel types only work on specific classes of trucks, so be sure to identify which fuel works best for your operations.
6. Conduct Driver Training
The most common measure to maximize fuel efficiency is training your drivers. They are the ones who are fully in control of how much fuel your vehicle consumes every day. Thus, you must train them about healthy driving habits and good practices that promote fuel efficiency. For example, drivers must only drive at the appropriate speed, as too much speed can increase fuel consumption. When all your drivers have good driving behaviors, you can see a significant reduction in fuel usage.
Many factors can influence your fleet vehicles’ fuel consumption and efficiency. Although no one can control the dynamic increase of fuel prices, implementing these tips and strategies will help you maximize your commercial fleet’s fuel efficiency, reducing your operational costs. Best of all, making the most of your fuel also means your commercial fleet is proactive in preserving the environment.