Ways to Reduce Fuel Costs with Telematics

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Fuel is one of the biggest costs for companies with vehicle fleets. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, fuel accounts for over a third of total operating costs for motor carriers. With fuel prices fluctuating and often on the rise, companies need ways to optimize fuel efficiency. This is where telematics comes in.

Telematics refers to solutions that collect data from vehicles through GPS tracking and onboard diagnostic devices. This data provides visibility into vehicle operations, driving behaviors, vehicle health, and more. Fleet managers can leverage telematics to implement fuel-saving measures in three key areas: routing, driver behavior, and vehicle maintenance.

Optimizing Routes and Reducing Miles Driven

One simple way to use telematics to cut fuel costs is by optimizing routes to reduce miles driven. The telematics system tracks vehicles in real-time and collects data on drive times between jobs. Managers can use this to build more efficient routes that minimize deadhead miles – miles driven without cargo or passengers. Scheduling tools can integrate the telematics data to create routes based on traffic patterns and driver hours-of-service.

Monitoring Driver Behavior

Another fuel saver is modifying driving habits that waste gas thanks to telematics systems like Surfsight. Actions like aggressive acceleration, hard braking, and excessive idling burn extra fuel. Telematics tracks these behaviors by monitoring rapid speed fluctuations, harsh braking incidents, and engine idle time.

Managers can coach drivers on gentler, more moderate driving with real-time feedback from the system. Over time, drivers improve fuel-wasting habits. Studies show smoothing out driving can improve mpgs by over 30%.

Promoting Proper Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance also impacts fuel efficiency, issues like under-inflated tires, dirty air filters, and unbalanced wheel alignment increase drag and rolling resistance – forcing engines to work harder and burn more fuel. Telematics automatically tracks mileage and engine fault codes, enabling managers to stick to optimal maintenance schedules. This keeps vehicles tuned up for better mpgs.

Implementing Fuel Management Best Practices

While the above measures focus on driving operations, companies need supporting policies and controls. Telematics fuel card integration links all fuel purchases to vehicle/driver data. Managers can detect unauthorized use, eliminate fuel theft/waste, and enforce limits. Analytics identify high-efficiency vehicles to standardize fleets for better economy. Data even connects fuel consumption to business metrics like profit per mile.

Using Gamification to Motivate Fuel-Efficient Driving

One way telematics systems help improve fuel efficiency is through gamification of driving behaviors. Fleet managers can use the data on acceleration, braking, speeding, and idling to create safe driving scorecards for each driver. Drivers see how their habits impact MPG performance.

To tap into the competitive spirit, managers can post scoreboards highlighting top performers in fuel efficiency. Drivers compete to improve driving scores and get recognised. Some telematics apps even allow teams or departments to compete. Setting team goals for fuel economy fosters peer accountability.

With rising fuel volatility expected to persist, telematics delivers measurable returns on investment through fuel savings – typically 20% or more. The systems pay for themselves within 6-12 months. As real-time data uncovers efficiency opportunities, companies better manage margins by controlling one of their highest expenses – fuel.

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