With spiralling pump prices and an uncertain economy, managing the cost of fuel for their fleet has become a priority for many SMEs. While there is little that can be done to stem the rising prices at the pump, businesses can make changes to the way they buy and use fuel to ensure they operate their fleet as efficiently as possible:
It’s impossible to implement strategies for saving fuel unless you first understand exactly how much fuel you are using. Most fuel card providers offer reporting that shows how much fuel is being consumed, at what cost and by whom. Through monitoring consumption, businesses can easily detect and address any inefficiencies. For example, a heavy-footed driver can be identified and then provided with training to improve their driving style.
2. Invest in driver training
Driver training should be a tool used for fleets regardless of size or the presence of obvious heavy-footed drivers. Research has shown drivers trained in driving efficiency techniques can save up to 20p off a litre. On top of this, trained drivers have lower carbon dioxide emissions and an improved safety record. While fuel saving initiatives is a priority, if employees are likely to be driving as part of their job, ensuring safety should also be of paramount importance.
Better driving can save £300 to £400 per driver per annum. Many drivers are conscious of the need to conserve fuel and providing incentives for best practice is a great way to reward this behaviour. Consider introducing league tables with a prize for those who drive most efficiently each month.
4. Maintain, maintain, maintain
It’s important to bear in mind areas of inefficiency are not necessarily caused by poor driving or fleet mismanagement. Make sure the vehicle is thoroughly checked for any issues that may be causing excess fuel consumption. An average tyre five psi under inflation can increase fuel consumption by 10 per cent or more. That’s the equivalent of paying an extra 14p per litre at the pump.
5. Buy fuel at the right price
Pump prices vary significantly between sites across the country, but drivers are often creatures of habit, using a limited number of sites time after time. A driver education programme, designed to regularly remind drivers to buy fuel at low-cost sites and avoid allowing the tank to approach empty, will achieve immediate cost savings.
☛ John Pout is head of corporate sales for Allstar