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Fleets given fuel economy advice amid supply issues

Date: 05 October 2021   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Advice for fleets on saving fuel has been issued by software company Fleetcheck, in response to supply problems which are still being reported in some parts of the UK.

Managing director Peter Golding said the idea was to provide basic advice that company vehicle operators could adopt quickly and easily, as well as longer-term suggestions.

Golding said: "We've been discussing internally how we can help fleets through the current crisis and the fact is that there is no easy answer. If drivers simply can't get hold of the fuel they need, then there is no real solution.

"However, the advice we are providing here should help fleets to maximise mileage from the fuel that they can obtain and also to understand their fuel use better over time, in case similar situations arise in the future.

"There are measures that can be put in place quite easily, such as drivers using their vehicles in a more fuel-efficient manner and adopting more fuel-efficient driving styles, that can have a really positive and immediate impact on fuel consumption." 

Fleetcheck's five-point plan is as follows:

Encourage more economical driving: Ask employees to drive smoothly by accelerating and braking gently, taking maximum notice of what is happening on the road ahead. They should change up early and, as always, stick to the speed limit or lower - driving at 70mph can use up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph, according to The AA.

Explain to drivers how to prepare their vehicles: Some simple steps can have a positive impact on fuel consumption, Fleetcheck says. Remove roof racks or other heavy items from vehicles that don't need to be carried. Only use power-hungry devices such as air conditioning and rear window demisting when needed. Tyre pressures should be checked as they can have a significant effect. Also, don't leave the vehicle running before use.

Measure fuel use: A large number of fleets simply don't know how much fuel they use overall, per driver or per vehicle, according to Fleetcheck. The easiest way to put a monitoring system in place is to buy all petrol and diesel through specialist fuel cards. The data can then be accessed as software-generated reports.

Analyse fuel data: Fleet software provides the means to analyse information gathered, enabling fleets to identify drivers and vehicles that are not achieving the kind of fuel consumption that is expected.

Don't be afraid to challenge employees: The single largest factor affecting fuel economy in the real world is driver behaviour, with a disparity in fuel economy of more than 30% not unusual between drivers in identical vehicles on similar routes, Fleetcheck says. Let drivers know that they are being monitored, talk to those who seem to be using excess fuel, and offer help and advice.