One of the best practices for a fleet manager should be to ensure the drivers utilize the best and proper fleet fueling practices for the vehicles. These will save time, money and stress for everyone.
So this week we talk to all the fleet managers out there and offer a few handy tips that managers can share with drivers to improve fuel mileage and also to reduce maintenance costs.
You would think that making sure the tank was filled with the right kind of fuel would be second nature to professional drivers. But a surprising amount of damage is caused each year from that basic mistake. The tally nationwide is about 300,000 vehicles sidelined and $250 million in unnecessary damage and expense.
Fleet managers aiming to optimize fleet performance also should worry about the correct fuel octane or cetane rating. The best practice is always to follow what's recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Using fuel with too-low octane or cetane rating will most certainly cut into fuel efficiency. Using fuel with higher-than-recommended octane or cetane rating is also wasteful (in most cases) because these fuels improve performance as much as one might think. That is to say, if a vehicle is engineered to run well on 91 octane gasoline, using a 93 octane is going to cost more but isn't going to be of much benefit. So fleet managers should balance these considerations in their decisions.
Low and High Tech Tips
To reduce the chance of drivers fueling incorrectly, here's a couple of low and high tech tips:
LOW TECH - something as simple as a visual reminder in a visible location can be very effective. Posting reminder in places like the interior of the driver's side door or the location of fleet fuel card storage, those are inexpensive and have been shown to be pretty effective at reducing stupid mistakes when refueling. Also, a simple verbal reminder for the driver of what kind of fuel they're going to fill up with.
While we can't tell you where to get these, now there are fuel safety programs that utilize the fleet card to ensure the correct fuel is being used. A driver might swipe the fleet card, which is pre-programmed to transmit data back to a system at headquarters. The system can detect what kind of fuel is being selected and will deactivate the pump remotely if it detects the wrong fuel being used.
Every little bit helps, right?
You may be interested in these posts:
- Fleet Fuel Management Systems Help Save $$
- Fleet Eliminates Diesel Fuel Gelling and Cuts Downtime
- Heavy Truck Fleet Maximizes Fuel with Mix-I-Go and Dee-Zol
This post was published on June 13, 2013 and was updated on May 5, 2014.