Fleet fuel management
The cost of fuel is one of the most significant operating expenses for mobile service truck fleets, in some cases comprising more than half of the budget. The larger the fleet, the faster your fuel costs add up.
You can’t control the price of fuel, but as fleet manager you can make sure your service technicians and trucks use fuel more efficiently. Fleets of all types and sizes can reap the benefits when they choose solutions and technologies that reduce fuel usage. Stop wasting fuel with these five tips for improving efficiency and reducing spending in your service truck fleet.
1. Pay attention to preventive maintenance
Maintenance is an important part of keeping your truck running optimally and efficiently. Cleaning the air filters and diesel particulate filters (DPF) regularly, changing engine oil and keeping tire pressure at recommended levels all play a role in fuel economy. For example, under-inflated tires can reduce gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1-psi drop in the average pressure of all tires. A dirty DPF increases the need for greater engine output that burns more fuel. DPF-related increases in fuel consumption can range from 4.5% to 7%. The bottom line? A well-maintained truck is a more efficient truck.
2. Stop unnecessary truck engine idling
Turning off truck engines on the jobsite can deliver significant fuel savings. Running these high-horsepower engines to drive your air, hydraulic or other power needs is extremely inefficient — decreasing the truck’s overall fuel economy and eating into profit. For example, engines in these typical truck configurations can burn up to 0.9 gallons of fuel per hour while idling. This may not seem like much, but the extra fuel adds up. A PTO-equipped system uses 34% more fuel on average to supply air, hydraulic and other power needs compared to an APU (auxiliary power unit) system.
3. Choose truck equipment and technologies wisely
Select fuel-efficient equipment and technologies. Using APU-type equipment to run your tools, such as air and hydraulics, is one of the easiest ways to minimize fuel spend. But not all of these systems are created equal. Look for solutions with technologies that maximize their fuel efficiency, such as equipment that automatically shuts off when not in use. Some equipment also matches engine output to the load — so it’s not constantly running at the highest rpm and burning more fuel. These technologies can pay for themselves quickly, usually in less than one year. When specifying the truck, don’t just consider the acquisition cost; it’s also important to think about your long-term ROI.