Rising fuel prices are putting the pinch on businesses everywhere. Many businesses and fuel procurement offices assumed that if they could weather a few tough years, fuel costs would eventually stabilize. That assumption is providing to be incorrect. For better or worse, high oil prices are here to stay.
For fleet managers and independent owner-operators everywhere, effectively managing fuel costs will be critical to maintain profitability in 2012. Luckily, companies have a few options on the table to help coping with the rise in fuel prices. Here are three strategies that companies can use to minimize the impact of high fuel prices on their bottom line.
Improve Fuel Purchasing - In addition to the price of oil rising, the market has also become increasingly volatile. Swings of five pence per litre in a day are fairly common these days. Building some predictability into fuel procurement can help fleets make smarter buying decisions. There are a number of options to accomplish this but one that can help smaller fleets is the Forecourt Fuels Fuel Card. This card offers a guaranteed 3pence per litre off pump prices at over 5000 stations nationwide. If you are looking to lock in fuel prices, 360 offers a fuel price protection program that can also help you save thousands at the pump.
Drive slower and smarter - Easing your foot off the accelerator is a guaranteed way to reduce expenses. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 costs you an additional 24p per litre, the Department of Energy estimates. That’s because the faster you go, the more work your engine has to do to propel your vehicle.
The sweet spot for fuel efficiency on the motorway is about 55 mph. But slowing from 70 to 60 can help a lot. Doing so on an average 20-mile motorway commute saves about 1.3 litres of Petrol / Diesel in a five-day work week, according to the A A.
Drive more smoothly around town, too — avoid fast acceleration and quick stops. Aggressive driving can lower a vehicles fuel economy significantly.
Plan Routes More Intelligently - A final way to save on fuel costs is to better plan the way that shipments are delivered. This boils down to delivering along more efficient manner routes as well as shipping loads more efficiently. There are a variety of route planning technologies available in transportation management systems. One of my favorite examples of how effective route planning technologies can be is how UPS saved on fuel costs by minimizing the number of left-hand turns drivers make. While this was just a minor change in the way UPS delivered their packages, it ultimately wound up saving them more than 10 million litres of fuel.
Skip premium fuel - Unless your vehicle absolutely requires premium petrol / Diesel, don’t spend the additional 15 to 30 pence per litre.
Consumer Reports says motorists should not waste money on premium if their owner’s manual says the vehicle takes regular — the car won’t run better. The higher-octane fuel is designed to improve performance.
“In most cases, using a higher-octane Petrol / Diesel than your owner’s manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit,” according to the Trade Commission. “It won’t make your vehicle perform better, go faster, get better mileage or run cleaner.”
An exception would be if your engine starts to knock or ping when using a lower-grade fuel.
These are just a few ideas on how to save on fuel costs. What strategies are you seeing work ?
www.forecourtfuels.co.uk can show you the best deals based on your individual requirements, from your estimated fuel spend to the size of your fleet.