Fuel holds a significant percentage of the operating costs for any business that runs a fleet of trucks. The fluctuating prices of fuel make it one of the most challenging expenses to manage. As such, even the smallest adjustments to fuel management can lead to big savings of unnecessary costs.
American Transportation Research Institute reveals that fuel is responsible for 24 percent of operating costs in 2018, which is a 2 percent point increase from the previous year. While it is true that 24 percent is low as compared to the years preceding 2015, it is most likely to increase as it continues the trend of gradual increase from 2016.
With the gradual increase in fuel costs, and the likeliness that the trend will continue, fleet businesses are looking at different options to minimize fuel use. These businesses are starting to consider solutions such as deploying hybrid vehicles or investing in autonomous truck technologies. While these solutions can be viable in the long run, it will take some time to implement. Moreover, it is not an immediate solution.
Companies can choose from a plethora of ways to minimize gas bills such as driver education, optimizing routes, proper vehicle maintenance, etc. The effects of these methods can quickly manifest by having a convenient way to track each unit of the fleet.
Can Free Apps Substitute For Truck Tracking Systems
Free GPS navigation apps such as Google Maps and Waze are undoubtedly advantageous when finding your way around unfamiliar places. These apps provide turn-by-turn directions and also provides information on current traffic conditions. Also, Waze has a feature that includes community-driven information, which allows users to submit information about route details and estimated travel times.
While it is true that these apps can provide turn-by-turn directions, it won’t help as much when planning for multiple jobs with multiple stops. Moreover, Truck tracking systems have more features to offer when it comes to optimizing routes as compared to navigation apps.
Truck Tracking Systems Provide A Convenient Way To Optimize Routes
Reducing the number of miles driven is one of the first methods to tap when starting a fuel-save campaign. Considering this, it makes sense why finding the most optimal route is an essential factor when managing fuel costs. GPS tracking provides an accurate way of locating vehicles in real-time, which allows dispatchers to manage routing and dispatching efficiently.
Planning the most effective route is a challenging task. There are plenty of factors to consider, and that includes traffic, weather conditions, and resource availability. The brainstorming and outlining is not as easy as simply finding the shortest distance between point A to point B.
Route optimization requires fleet managers to minimize driving time and distance from multiple stops. GPS tracking systems provide dispatchers a centralized dashboard where they can monitor the entire fleet operations at a single location. Not only does this allow them to plan out the best routes for each job, but it also takes into account the difficulties of each situation, such as vehicle capacities, customer time windows, and driver schedules.
Most tracking systems include a feature that keeps track of weather and traffic conditions. Dispatchers can use this feature to route vehicles away from adverse conditions.
Truck Tracking Promotes Ideal Driving Behaviours
Driving behavior is continuously overlooked by fleet managers when managing fuel consumption. The ability to track and monitor vehicle movement allows fleet managers to identify bad driving behavior and act on it accordingly.
These behaviors may include excessive idling, speeding, taking unnecessary side trips, etc. These issues can easily be identified and fixed by having the right truck tracking system.
The Road To Optimizing Routes
Trucking companies should make their drivers realize the importance of typical driving behaviors for saving fuel. Here are some of the factors trucking companies should consider when optimizing routes.
Aggressive speeding has several disadvantageous effects on fuel economy. There are plenty of studies conducted regarding this issue, with all suggesting that running at tremendous speed increases fuel consumption by up to around 30 percent.
Truck tracking systems have a feature that sends an immediate alert to reduce speed, which ultimately helps keep drivers at an ideal pace.
Staying at optimal shift points dramatically affects fuel economy. These optimal shift points may vary depending on the engine or gear. As a general rule of thumb, when the engine is revving faster than necessary, it should be the cue to move to the next higher gear. On the other hand, when the gas pedal has pushed close to the floor to maintain speed, it is time to move to the next lower gear.
When drivers do not follow this general rule, it is either they are lugging the engine or the RPM is too high. Both situations not only reduces fuel economy but also cause issues with the engine.
Fuel Card Programs
Most truck tracking system providers offer fuel cards that allow the fleet to purchase fuel at a bunker price. Bunker price means having bigger discounts on fuel purchases. A good fuel card program not only offers significant discounts on fuel but on other services as well.
Integrated fuel cards keep track of fuel card transactions, which allows managers to make informed decisions and make accurate adjustments on fuel cost management.
Fuel expense is a significant factor in a fleet business’s overall operating costs. Increasing fuel cost pushes fleet businesses to find ways on how to reduce fuel consumption. Investing in hybrid vehicles or autonomous trucks is not an option considering that the issue of increasing fuel prices requires a more immediate solution.
Deploying hybrid vehicles or investing in autonomous trucks takes much effort, time, and an insane amount of money as compared to investing in a truck tracking system. Truck tracking systems have a lot of features that are essential not only in reducing fuel costs but in the overall operating expenses.
There are a lot of tracking systems options with various features, which can contribute to smarter consumption of fuel. Check out some efficient asset tracking solutions available online.