As of summer 2022, the average cost nationwide for a gallon of diesel fuel is $5.28—$2 higher than this time last year. In some states, like California, the price hike is even higher, with diesel prices reaching an average of $6.40 a gallon.
For owner-operators and others who foot the bill, this equates to $600 more spent every time a driver fills up, assuming 300-gallon fuel tanks. (We’ll let you do the math and multiply that by the number of trucks in your fleet…)
We understand that cutting costs is top priority these days. Here’s a roundup of practical ways fleets can reduce fuel costs and combat rising fuel prices.
Improving your drivers’ routes can reduce time spent in traffic, stops at stoplights, and miles driven—all of which conserve fuel.
One of the best (and perhaps obvious) ways to optimize routes is by using a GPS vehicle tracking solution. They’ve proven to help fleets reduce fuel costs by up to 25% and total miles driven by up to 10%.
Plus, depending on the tracking system, some allow you to track how much fuel each truck uses in gallons or dollars, as well as coach drivers or recommend engine tune-ups.
Reduce Out-of-the-Way Stops
When nature calls, it doesn’t check for optimal stopping points first. Depending on your truck drivers’ routes, finding a convenient place for bathroom breaks can be a challenge.
Instead of driving miles out of the way or sitting uncomfortably until the next on-route stop, drivers can find comfortable, convenient relief by using the Brief Relief portable Briefcase Commode. It’s compact, easy to store, and quick to set up.
Paired with the Brief Relief Privacy Shelter, the Briefcase Commode allows truck drivers to “take care of business,” no matter where your company’s business may take them.
Keep an Eye on Tire Pressure
When not properly inflated, tires flex more under load. This produces heat and increases rolling resistance. (We didn’t say it—the US Environmental Protection Agency did!) Also according to the EPA, for every 10 pounds per square inch (PSI) below the recommended air pressure level, underinflated tires reduce truck fuel economy up to 1%.
In layman’s terms: your fleets are wasting fuel with underinflated tires.
The solution? Install tire maintenance management systems to ensure drivers and maintenance personnel check tire pressure frequently. (Doing this electronically and automating it makes things even easier).
Watch the A/C
In addition to record gas prices, record heat is in the books for this summer. That means increased A/C usage.
While fuel consumption in semi trucks using A/C hasn’t been widely studied, it’s known that in cars, A/C can increase fuel consumption up to 20% due to the extra load on the engine.
Rolling the windows down and using portable fans can only help so much. A cooling towel like Heat Relief gives drivers an additional way to beat the heat. They’re lightweight, versatile, and use the latest hyper-evaporative technology that allows wearers to find reprieve from hot weather while on the go.
Cut Down on Idling
Leaving a truck idling leads to a whole slew of problems.
For starters, when a truck idles, it burns through a gallon of fuel an hour—all while covering no distance. This decreases overall fuel economy by 1%. Translation: Profit loss.
Idling also accelerates engine wear and tear (as seen by warranties applying to “hours operated” instead of “miles traveled.”) Translation: Unnecessary maintenance costs.
And to put the cherry on top, rest-period idling results in emission of about 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, 55,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 400 tons of particulate matter annually. And that’s just in the United States alone. Translation: Environmental costs.
While there’s no standard solution to reduce truck idling, here are a couple that could work for you.
Introduce a company-wide policy change, using a fleet management system that logs idle time and notifies drivers of when they’re reaching the recommended limit.
Or install Automatic Engine Start/Stop (AESS) systems on your fleet. As the name suggests, they can automatically stop a truck’s engine if it’s left unattended for a certain period of time.
The Ultimate Key to Reducing Fuel Costs? Be Mindful and Proactive
Unfortunately, you can’t stop rising fuel prices, nor can you abruptly halt trucking operations. But you can intentionally decide which measures to take to save on fuel this summer—and going forward.
We covered just a handful of ways to reduce fuel costs. But what’s the best way? Whatever works for your drivers and fleets and you can stay accountable to. (After all, there’s no use installing the latest technology, only for it to collect “dust” on the dashboard, going largely unnoticed after the novelty wears off…)
Start with one method. When your drivers have mastered it, move onto the next.
Baby steps and consistency will get you to where you want to be: less overhead, more profits.
At Brief Relief, we’re in the business of offering comfort and relief for all mobile workers—whether that’s providing privacy through our travel lavatory systems or a respite from heat through our cooling towels. Contact us today to learn more about our suite of products and how we can serve your team.