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Managing and improving your fleet’s fuel economy

Article provided by Netstar

No matter the size or type of fleet, fuel expenses always make up a large portion of the budget. With the exorbitant fuel prices South Africa and the rest of the world are experiencing, there is no better time than the present to invest in fuel-saving technology and practices.

By doing so, your fleet operation can improve its fuel consumption, which right now means big savings for your bottom line.

About fuel economy and fuel efficiency standards

Simply put, a vehicle’s fuel economy is nothing more than the distance it can travel on a certain amount of fuel. Many factors like weight, aerodynamics and engine technology play a role in determining this figure; with smaller cars more likely to have a greater fuel economy than a heavy truck, for example.

Many governments around the world have established fuel efficiency standards, with policies usually leaning towards decreasing vehicle pollution and carbon emissions in the hopes to fight climate change.

Thus, using the most efficient vehicles, in the most efficient way possible, is not only important for the environment, but could also help you steer clear of high fuel expenses and in some cases government carbon taxes.

What affects a vehicle’s fuel efficiency?

As mentioned, many factors play a role in how efficiently a vehicle uses fuel. Some of the most important factors, include:
• Vehicle type, weight, and aerodynamics
• Routing
• Driver Behaviour
• Maintenance

How does telematics improve fuel economy?

With rising fuel costs putting pressure on consumers and businesses alike, investing in a solution that can help reduce your fuel consumption can make a big difference to your operation.

A telematics or fleet management solution can go a long way in helping to make your fleet more fuel efficient:

Driver behaviour monitoring

By monitoring for bad driver behaviour using a telematics solution, inefficient fuel practices like excessive idling times, speeding and harsh acceleration can be identified and addressed.

Route management

Driving shorter or more efficient routes can help reduce your fuel bill. With the right telematics solutions, you can easily manage routes and drivers.

Fuel reporting

Being able to compile fuel usage reports can help to identify vehicles/drivers that need to improve, making it easier to know where corrective action is needed.

Maintenance scheduling

Properly maintained vehicles that are serviced at the correct intervals operate more efficiently. Using alerts and reminders, a telematics solution can help you stay on top of service schedules.

Other useful tips to improve fuel consumption

Driver training

Training drivers to look further ahead while driving and better predict the flow of traffic can help them minimise unnecessary braking and acceleration.

Fuel cards

Using fuel cards not only makes fuel purchases more convenient, but also helps fleet managers to track fuel spend more easily – which again could help identify inefficient vehicles in your fleet.

Lighter loads

By ensuring that your vehicles only carry what is absolutely necessary, you can keep their fuel economy at an optimal level.

Choose aircon over open windows

Driving with open windows above 80km/h causes more wind resistance, which affects fuel economy. Using the AC in this case would be more efficient.

Keep tires inflated correctly

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in terms of tire pressure to ensure the least amount of rolling resistance.

Change gears sooner

Keeping the engine RPM lower by changing gears sooner can also add to better fuel economy.

Telematics solutions to help you save

When you’re operating a fleet of vehicles, any and every cost saving is worth exploring. Small efficiency gains on one vehicle’s fuel usage can multiply into big saving across your entire fleet.

The first step to a more fuel-efficient fleet could be investing in a quality telematics solution that caters to your specific needs. Fleet management specialist, Netstar, could have the answer for you.

Their latest business fleet offerings provide solutions for small, medium and large fleets – with powerful web-based portals like MyNetstar and Netstar Fleet Manager to help you access all the driver behaviour data, maintenance schedules and fuel reports you want.

At this moment in time, a quality telematics solution, combined with the tips and tricks shared above, is all we can do to help counter excessive operating cost increases resulting from higher fuel prices.

Netstar is a proud Partner of the NSBC

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