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Fuel prices go up in the summer, and so does fuel usage. While you can’t change the seasonal shift in the price at the pumps, you can take steps to reduce the amount of fuel your fleet is burning – and potentially losing to more nefarious practices like fuel theft. Try these tips to keeping tabs on your fuel costs while temperatures rise.
Plan efficient routes
Starting Memorial Day, congestion on the roads takes an uptick. Look ahead to the summer holidays that can cause more traffic and plan accordingly to reduce the number of times drivers are stuck in gridlock. Summer is also the season for roadwork, so re-evaluate your routes to roads where traffic is still flowing.
Reduce idling and air conditioning
As tempting as it is for your drivers to let their truck idle to keep the air conditioning running, both of these practices have a significant impact on fuel use. According to the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, Americans burn over 6 million gallons of fuel due to unneeded idling time. The average semi truck gets 6.5 miles per gallon, according to Popular Mechanics, so idling for a short time will suck up a lot of fuel very quickly.
Combine that with the main contributor to reduced fuel economy in the summer, air conditioning, and you’ll be burning through the dollars. Start by having your operators keep AC temperatures at a slightly warmer 72 degrees. Encourage the use of the vehicles fans over rolling the window’s down – that additional air drag also lowers your MPG.
Mitigate fuel theft
Higher prices at the pump mean a higher rate of fuel theft. The black market for stolen diesel is fueled (no pun intended) by both organized and local factors. Having a clear fuel purchasing policy in place and upgrading technology to Integrate your drivers’ fuel cards with a tracking system is the equivalent of having a set of eyes at the pump. Keep a lookout for organized thieves on your lots or at truck stops by being aware of loiterers and strangers around your fleets – especially overnight.
Practice safe driving
According to the Department of Energy, speeding on the highway can reduce fuel economy by as much as 33 percent. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking) also wastes gas. It can lower gas mileage anywhere from 15 to 40 percent depending on speed or stop-and-go-traffic. With the inevitability of stop-and-go traffic during the summer, give your drivers approval to keep calm and carry on. Slow and steady is better for fuel efficiency.
Lose the extra weight and drag
Get rid of excess, unnecessary weight, and drag on your vehicles by re-evaluating necessary cargo and redistribute weight for better aerodynamics.
Don’t overpay for fuel
Choose the lowest octane rating for your vehicles per their operating specifications. Lower octane fuel enhances profitability. Premium additives make fuel more volatile, not more efficient. Stick to regular fuel for regular savings.
Maintain your vehicles
Poor vehicle maintenance that decreases fuel economy like low tire pressure, dirty air filters, and incorrect oil all decrease fuel economy. High tire treads needed for winter driving will increase your fuel usage during the summer, so swap them out.
Carson has a variety of strategies and products to help you reduce your fleet’s fuel costs, including cardlock management technologies, onsite fleet-fueling and more. Contact us at 503.224.2400 to talk to a Carson fuel expert today!