Many businesses across the UK are struggling with the increased cost of living, as goods are now more expensive than ever before and the price of fuel has been extremely unpredictable over the last year. According to Automotive Fleet, fuel costs represent around 60% of a fleet’s total operating budget, so it’s important for Fleet Managers to find ways to improve fuel efficiency and help limit costs.
We’ve compiled some top tips to reduce fuel consumption which, if implemented effectively, will help businesses to reduce costs and downtime, plus ensure that drivers remain safe on the road. By training your drivers accordingly, you can enhance the operations of your fleet and become a better Fleet Manager in the process.
Improve Driver Behaviour
Educating drivers is key to improving the fuel economy of your fleet as aggressive driving can affect fuel economy by around 31%. This includes rapid acceleration, excessive speeding, harsh braking and cornering. Fleet Managers should therefore advise their drivers to use hypermiling techniques which could save your business a substantial amount of money on fuel every month and can help to reduce the wear and tear on your vehicles.
The core driving techniques that will help to reduce fuel consumption are:
- Drive smoothly – Being aware of other road users and anticipating situations in advance can help drivers avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration which will increase your fuel economy.
- Avoid idling – Not only can drives risk being fined for idling, but they’ll be using more fuel than they would have if the engine was turned off. By encouraging your drivers not to idle on the roads, you can also reduce air pollution and help protect the environment.
- Plan routes in advance – If your drivers have planned their journey before they set off, they can ensure that they use the most fuel-efficient route possible and avoid potential traffic congestion. This can be achieved by using a new tool on Google Maps which is aimed at improving fuel efficiency.
- Remove extra weight – You can maximise the fuel economy of your fleet vehicles by getting rid of any unnecessary tools and materials, and removing external containers to lower wind resistance.
One of the easiest ways to monitor driver behaviour is to use a telematics system as this provides detailed information about the fuel efficiency of each vehicle and will flag up when your drivers are being inefficient. Fleet Managers can then use this insight to retrain drivers if necessary and ensure that their vehicles do not have any mechanical issues that may be impacting fuel economy. This will also allow you to check that your drivers are acting responsibly on the roads, helping to keep them and other road users safe.
Regularly monitor and maintain vehicles
It’s essential that Fleet Managers monitor and maintain their vehicles on a regular basis to extend their longevity and prevent costly repairs and breakdowns. Having a preventive maintenance schedule in place makes this process easier as you can set intervals for regular servicing, either by the age or mileage of your vehicles. By assessing your vehicles, you can catch potentially expensive issues before they arise, plus carry out essential maintenance to keep your vehicles as fuel-efficient as possible.
In addition to these checks, Fleet Managers need to ensure that all tyres are properly inflated in line with legal regulations. Driving with an underinflated tyre can increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption by 10% and cause wear and tear which will result in the tyre needing to be replaced. Fleet Managers can therefore save their business money by monitoring tyre pressure and keeping the rolling resistance at its most efficient.
Consider using alternative fuels
The price of petrol and diesel has risen considerably over the last 12 months, so many businesses are now starting to consider using alternative fuels for their fleets. These vehicles tend to be newer and have higher miles per gallon (mpg) ratings, making them a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly option for businesses. Clean air zones have recently been introduced in most of the larger cities in the UK, so using alternative fuels can save businesses money as drivers can enter these areas without being charged.
There is a wide range of alternative fuels available, including EV, hydrogen and HVO, however, it’s important to research your options before investing in new vehicles as each alternative fuel has its own benefits and challenges.
Apply for a fuel card
Fuel cards can significantly reduce fuel costs and provide Fleet Managers with an insight into all transactions, so you know exactly when and where your drivers are refuelling. You can place limits on what can be bought with a fuel card, reducing unnecessary spending and protecting your business from fuel card fraud.
We offer a wide range of fuel cards that are designed to make your fuel management more efficient and less time-consuming. Contact our friendly team at 0113 202 5110 to discuss your options, or use our comparison tool to receive an instant recommendation.