A single truck tacks on nearly 100,000 miles per year and with rising fuel costs, it’s no wonder why businesses are cutting costs wherever they can. On average, long-haul trucking operations spend nearly half a million dollars each year on fuel costs alone.
When you start to consider these extraneous costs, inefficient processes or methods can really make or break a transportation business.
You may think that these are the unavoidable costs of being in the transportation business, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are five tips to help you start reducing fuel costs with fleet management software.
1. Reduce Unnecessary Idle Time
The US Department of Energy states that trucks use more than 685 million gallons of fuel per year while idling. On average, a single long-haul truck spends 6-8 hours a day idling, translating to $60,000 annually per truck. So what actions can your business take to drastically save money from unnecessary idling?
With systems that plug into a trucks’ OBD-II port, you can monitor when, where, and how long idling is taking place. This allows you to customize alarms based excessive idling. For example, after a truck has been idling for 45 minutes, a text message or email will automatically alert you. With this data, you can access unnecessary, prolonged idles and take corrective action.
2. Coach Driver Habits
Good driving habits are one of the biggest ways that a company can save on fuel costs. When a driver speeds to his next location or has a lengthy idle at a job site, fuel consumption rises and takes more money out of your pocket.
Fleet management software systems provide reports on drivers’ speed and performance, and allow you to compare driver actions to the posted speed limits.
Personalized alarms can be configured to notify you if a driver surpasses the speed limit, so you can take corrective action.
Another measure that can be taken to keep fuel costs down is encouraging drivers to utilize cruise control. When a vehicle keeps RPMs at a consistent rate, versus continually revving the engine to keep up speed, less fuel is burned.
Lastly, small things like making sure the gas cap is on tight and the tires are full can go a long way. Without a gas cap, fuel slowly evaporates. This causes the money you spent to literally disappear into thin air. Additionally, having full tires can improve gas mileage by over 3%.
3. Decrease Out-of-Route Miles
There are many instances that can lead to out-of-route miles, including drivers stopping at home, failing to plan out trips well or taking those extra miles to stop at a favorite restaurant or gas station. Fleet tracking systems allow you to see where, when, and how long stops are taking place.
When drivers continually stop at an out-of-route location, customize landmarks can be created to instantly notify you of these events. Fleet tracking systems also you to map out the most efficient route and give your driver turn-by-turn directions.
Finding a route that cuts even 10 miles out of a trip adds up over time and can reduce your fuel costs dramatically.
4. Improve Routing
The majority of long-haul, over-the-road trucks get between 8 and 10 miles per gallon. If your drivers aren’t taking the best possible route, then you could be spending thousands of unnecessary fuel. Using fleet management software to dispatch and route drivers can create a more efficient and productive operation.
With this technology, you can map out a driver’s trip, giving them the most efficient route possible to a job or delivery site while ensuring clearance heights and weight limits are met. From there, drivers can utilize in-cab devices that provide turn-by-turn directions, reducing any unnecessary miles taken.
If you need to update a stop, then you can simply send drivers a safe, simple message directly on their device.
5. More Efficient Dispatching
Relying on drivers to pick up their phones and tell you their location is very inefficient process that can lead to increased fuel cost and unhappy customers. Being able to locate your vehicles on a single screen and then dispatch the closest driver can save you time and money.
One of our customers, Minnesota Valley Irrigation, saves 12 unnecessary trips each month because they can now see locations of vehicles across multiple branch sites. Not only will a dispatching solution help you locate your drivers, but it offers two-way communication between the home office and field workers.