According to Company Bug, business mileage is the largest single expense for businesses in the UK, with over 2 million employees making mileage claims for a total of 10 billion business miles every year. A 2019 study by Flexed revealed that over 89% of those claims are inaccurate, costing companies £1.6 billion every year. This sum doesn’t even account for the amount of money employees rack up through inefficient driving.
Whether you manage 10 or 10,000 vehicles, it is important to look out for where you can make savings within your business, starting with fuel costs. The following tips will help you to keep your fuel costs down whilst maximising efficiency, productivity and driver safety.
Monitor and Improve Driver Behaviour
Fleet tracking is an incredibly useful tool that allows you to keep an eye on your vehicles at any given time. Fleetsmart vehicle tracking provides real-time GPS updates, routing, vehicle reports and journey replay which can be used to review driver behaviour. Inefficient driving leads to loss of money, so ensuring your drivers aren’t making unnecessary stops, idling for too long or being heavy on the brakes and accelerator is key to keeping costs down.
Driving style can have an enormous impact on the amount of petrol or diesel used. Running your engine at idle consumes a great amount of fuel in the long run and according to Confused.com, for every minute spent idle, the driver could be burning between 1.077 to 2.13 ounces of fuel, which adds up to around half a gallon to a gallon of fuel every hour.
Similarly, drivers who accelerate and brake too harshly and rapidly use more fuel than those who drive smoothly and vehicle tracking can identify when drivers are being heavy on the pedals through accelerometers. This information can be found in the detailed vehicle reports, which also show idle time, overspeeds, start and stops and much more.
With the information received about your drivers’ behaviour and habits, you can take the initiative to give your drivers extra training, where needed, to reduce instances such as harsh braking, setting off too quickly and speeding, all of which make your vehicles less fuel efficient. According to the Energy Saving Trust, through higher productivity and increased vehicle utilisation, operating costs can fall by 10% every year and fuel use by 15%.
Fleetsmart offers the most flexible fleet and asset monitoring solutions available and are guaranteed to reduce fuel costs, improve service and boost productivity.
Monitoring Fuel Costs
By using vehicle tracking, you can see a driver’s/vehicle’s route as well as where, and how often they are filling up with fuel. By taking the time to plan shorter routes, you can save on fuel costs as well as cutting carbon emissions.
Fleetsmart offers detailed reports to understand the complete picture of a fleet’s activities. The information about your vehicles is kept on a large database, so you can go back and view historical data, from anytime since the tracking device was installed. This can show you fuel costs in a range of timescales, including per day, per month and per year. If a vehicle doing 12,000 business miles per year reduces its mileage by just 10%, almost £1,300 could be saved in fuel costs alone.
The reports can also help you to see where drivers are filling up too often or using fleet fuel cards for private purchases. According to a study by Shell in 2014, 93% of fleet managers believed some of their employees were committing fuel fraud.
Unfortunately, this is a very reasonable belief as a 2017 study by Allstar Business Solutions revealed that 41% of employees felt there wasn’t anything wrong with over-inflating fuel expenses and 17% admitted that they deliberately inflated these expenses for their personal gain, even though this actually constitutes fraud.
By using vehicle tracking to calculate more accurate mileage (as opposed to just rounding up) and setting clear lines between private and work-related journeys, your business could be reducing fuel expenses by up to 20% every month. HMRC class business mileage as:
- Trips that are required to complete work e.g. deliveries and pickups
- Trips between two workplaces for the same job
- Trips from an employee’s home directly to a client
- Trips to a temporary workplace e.g. client’s office
Generate Vehicle Maintenance Schedules
Every now and then, your fleet vehicles will require maintenance checks and fixes for safety reasons as well as to prevent any costly issues developing, however, these checks can also help to cut your fuel costs. Minor issues such as low tyre pressure can have a significant impact on fuel consumption due to the need for more acceleration when tyres aren’t inflated to the correct pressure.
With regular checks such as tyre pressure and other preventative checks, you could avoid much larger problems that increase your MPG by finding them earlier. You can use your tracking software to manage and schedule vehicle maintenance, so you don’t need to rely on your drivers to keep you updated.
Replace Inefficient Vehicles
When purchasing fleet vehicles for your company, you should consider more than just the purchase price. In some cases, you may purchase a lower priced vehicle that actually costs more in the long run due to maintenance, fuel consumption, tax and insurance. If you currently have inefficient vehicles which cost a lot in repairs, fuel and insurance, it is worth considering replacing them for the reasons listed above, as well as to reduce your carbon footprint. Click here to read our guide on the Best Fleet Vehicles on the market.
Whether you require trackers for cars, vans, heavy machinery or your entire fleet, Fleetsmart can provide you with an outstanding service. Get in touch here.