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Discover why fuel efficiency is important financially and environmentally and learn how you can improve your fleet fuel economy with our helpful tips.

One of your challenges as a fleet manager is to make your vehicles more productive. After all, any efficiencies you make could save your company money and improve your profit margins. Improving fleet fuel economy not only saves on costs for your business, it also minimises your fleet’s impact on the environment, making your entire operation both leaner and greener.

A good place to start is to analyse how fuel-efficient your vehicles are, both from a performance point of view and in terms of how effectively your drivers are operating them.

Promoting good driving practices, carrying out regular maintenance and making impactful vehicle modifications can make your fleet’s operations more streamlined to save fuel and money. When looking to maximise fuel savings, you’ll need to consider:

  • What factors affect fuel efficiency
  • How Big Data can boost fuel efficiency
  • What actions you can take to maximise fleet fuel savings

Improve your fleet fuel efficiency to reduce costs and have a more positive environmental impact.

Why is it important to increase fleet fuel efficiency?

Having trucks on the road that are fuel-efficient means your fleet is more productive and cost-effective to run. This makes it a worthwhile investment in both time and resources to get your vehicles performing at their optimal level. Long-term, an economic fleet will have several benefits for you and your business, including:

Cost savings

Optimisation of your overall transport strategy can help you save money through maximised fuel economy. Smart-route planning means drivers cover fewer miles and spend less time and money filling up, while avoiding journeys with empty loads and ensuring to always refuel at the best and least expensive times can also make for a leaner fleet overall. This can be the difference between your business being profitable or not and help you meet your KPIs, as cost savings can be highly measurable.

Greener credentials

Pollution continues to be an environmental problem across the globe, with government reports showing the huge contribution the transport sector makes towards the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.[1] By running a more fuel-efficient fleet, your customers can be sure your business is playing its part in reducing our collective carbon footprint. It should improve your reputation, helping attract new and retain existing customers by being greener. Plus, if government regulation changes to force transport companies to reduce CO² levels then your business will already be prepared.

What factors affect fuel efficiency?

Both internal and external factors come into play when determining how fuel-efficient your fleet is day-to-day. Internal factors, which you can usually control, are often either vehicle determined such as:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Cargo load
  • Tyre pressures and rolling resistance coefficient
  • Engine technology (petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric)

Others are more driver-influenced, such as:

  • Driving style
  • Speed

Fuel theft falls under both, as vehicle safety can be improved with the addition of security parts and driver training – although the risk of an attempted theft is out of the fleet’s control.  External factors such as the weather and condition of the road can also affect fuel economy. However, by carefully controlling internal and driver-influenced factors, you can help minimise the impact of external ones.

Improve your fleet fuel efficiency to reduce costs and have a more positive environmental impact.

How Big Data can boost fuel efficiency

Your vehicles hold the key to a very valuable asset you might currently be overlooking or figuring out how to utilise better – data. Collecting, analysing and storing facts and figures from your drivers’ and vehicles’ journeys could quite quickly reveal some simple solutions that will improve efficiencies.

Sensors and devices fitted to your trucks can be used to collect this information on every journey. From there, the use of fleet management software allows you to extract this Big Data, analyse it effectively and make reasoned choices to bring about fuel savings.

Devices analyse information such as:

  • Driving style – how well trucks are being driven by your team
  • Fuel vs distance covered – the amount of fuel used for the distance a truck has travelled
  • Refuelling – where refuelling transactions took place and if cost savings could have been made
  • Average speed – for individual trucks and drivers
  • Vehicle status – a summary of truck and trailer components and their operational status, including any parts that can improve aerodynamics
  • Vehicle performance – an outline of how a truck and trailer has performed over a certain time period, taking into account cargo load and tyre pressure

By harnessing the power of Big Data, fleet management solutions clearly lay out all the statistics you need to improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicles and drivers, ensuring an easier decision-making process to facilitate change.

Software such as TX-FUELCOMPASS, then uses this data to present a complete overview of your fleet’s fuel costs to make recommendations for improvements. Next to this, TX-FUELCOMPASS also addresses fuel prices and policies. It draws in Big Data to provide context, such as a truck’s itinerary, remaining fuel level and other stations on route, to show how fuel efficiency can be improved.

Both internal and external factors come into play when determining how fuel-efficient your fleet is day-to-day.

What actions can you take to maximise fleet fuel savings?

There are several ways you can maximise fuel savings for your fleet. All it takes is a few changes to your business practices and the vehicles you manage:

Provide advanced driver training

You could book your drivers onto an eco-driving course that promotes fuel efficiency and improves safety. Being skilled at early gear changing and braking, so drivers change speed gradually, makes a more efficient journey experience.[2]

Install tyre pressure monitoring systems

Low tyre pressures can contribute to high fuel usage, increased emissions, impact safety and lead to unforeseen downtime – causing a surge in tyre rolling resistance. Installing tyre pressure monitoring systems on your vehicles will inform you when they need inflating and can even detect leakages.

Retrofit smart tools or parts to improve your vehicle aerodynamics.

Optimise your trailers

Retrofitting your vehicles with aerodynamically-engineered components can dramatically reduce fuel costs. This is an aerodynamics solution for trailers with a modular design that means only a few fixing points are required. It can be door mounted, with no need for extra connection points and saves up to 1.1 litres per 100km of fuel at highway speeds.

Cargo load and position has as big impact on fuel usage as factors such as driving style. Fuel Saving Suspension technology helps to optimise your trailer performance by recognising when the chassis needs to be compensated to maintain its driving height and stability, reducing CO² emissions and fuel consumption. Lift Axle Control also measures the cargo load and automatically lowers or lifts the trailer’s axle depending on its weight to gain a similar effect.

Implement fuel policies

Setting a fuel policy for your fleet is a common way to try and ensure costs stay low and within budget. As fuel prices fluctuate, this can be a challenge, as can monitoring what your drivers are spending. TX-FUELCOMPASS provides great levels of transparency to ensure the policy is being followed and recommends refueling stations to help your drivers choose the most cost-effective option.

The changes you make now can pay financial and environment dividends in the future for your fleet. Discover how WABCO’s fleet solutions can transform your team’s efficiency and productivity today, making your operation leaner, greener and safer.