Mike Waters' Blog: 16 February 2010 - Prudent at the pumps
16 February 2010
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
Fuel makes up a quarter of the cost of vehicle ownership making it a significant burden that fleets and their drivers must manage carefully.
While many drivers seem resigned to fuel spend being a necessary evil, this stance fails to recognise that drivers can have a direct impact on their fuel consumption and costs.
Walking or taking public transport are two fuel-saving options that should always be considered. However, quite often they aren't practical so let's put them to one side for the sake of this blog because while drivers can't eliminate the need to refuel, here are some of the methods they can use to reduce costs:
Select the cheapest sites - significant savings can be made by consistently filling up at the cheapest fuel sites. The price differential between the most expensive and the cheapest fuel forecourt at any given time can be several pence per litre. While some drivers may not be able to get to the cheapest sites, for example on a motorway, they should be encouraged to only take enough fuel to get to a cheaper fuel station where they can fill up.
Plan journeys wisely - journey planning is something that every driver should do before they set off. Cost savings can be made by considering the quickest and cheapest route to take, when to travel to avoid congestion and whether anyone else is taking the journey at the same time making car share a viable option.
Driving style - the way that you drive affects how much fuel you use and by driving less aggressively, so accelerating and braking in a smooth manner, drivers have the potential to save between 10 and 15% of fuel consumption, translating into savings at the pump.
Vehicle selection - choosing a vehicle is the ideal opportunity to cut fuel costs. By selecting efficient vehicles with low CO2 emissions and high MPG performance it is possible to shave chunks off your fuel bill. With the manufacturers making great strides in these areas, you don't even have to switch to a small car with a small engine (although if you really want to save, it helps).
Look after your vehicle - well maintained vehicles keep running costs to a minimum. Regular servicing, correct oil levels and tyre pressures can all make a difference to the fuel consumption of your vehicle.
By far the best way to reduce fuel costs is to eliminate journeys. With the use of tele and videoconferencing becoming more widespread, plus more awareness around car sharing this is becoming easier to do. However, if you have to drive, think about the steps outlined above and fuel your costs could start to shrink.