Reducing fuel use and saving on fuel costs is not as simple as discounts or shop-a-dockets for most businesses. Like most areas, reducing usage comes down to some simple strategies. Here are a few to think about.
Fuel prices are hard to predict and even harder to understand for the average person. They are quick to rise with overseas changes. And, also slow to fall making it a frustrating exercise. Managing fuel as a business expense line can be even more so. This is especially true for businesses where fuel is a significant cost every month.
There is no cut and dried method that works for every organisation. Here are a few simple things to think about when deciding how to manage this cost in your business. The benefits of making some small changes can have an immediate bottom line impact. They can also help reduce your environmental impact.
Some simple ways to reduce fuel use
Plan trips smarter
Avoiding peak hour and visiting customers in areas on set days avoid a lot of unnecessary trips. While there will be exceptions, better planning can deliver reduced fuel use.
Consider flexible working hours
A flexible window enables your team to travel to work outside key peak hour times. A more lateral approach we use at Supply Clusters is to make use of cloud-based IT platforms. This empowers staff to work wherever they need. Thus avoiding some of the need for travel altogether.
Choose who gets to claim fuel costs and how often
Removing eligibility for fuel use could lead to some tough conversations. Consider limiting the number of claimable trips they can make. Staff may consider which trips they will take and which are optional.
Choose fuel-efficient cars
Let’s face it, a larger car is often more comfortable but they are not as fuel efficient as smaller or more modern cars. Up to date fleets or ensuring staff have up to date vehicles will improve the bottom line.
Use online meeting tools
Supply Clusters use online meeting tools including video & voice every day. This reduces our need to drive to meetings which means less fuel cost and more time saved.
Limit personal use
Another strategy to reduce the cost to your business is to limit personal use of work vehicles. The personal benefit of paid fuel may become an entitlement to employees over time. This often leads to abuse. Consider limiting outside-of-work use or consider removing the privilege.
Drive in an efficient manner
Drive smooth and steady rather than racing off at the lights
Heavy acceleration increases fuel consumption in any type of vehicle. It is also unnecessary, especially in heavy traffic. Consider driver training or coaching staff to drive in a conscientious manner. It will definitely reduce fuel use. With the added benefit of reduced wear and tear on vehicles and reduced risk to other drivers on the road.
Reduce the use of air conditioning
Use the air conditioner only when needed. It is both a drain on engine power and also fuel economy. The impact on fuel consumption is between 5 and 20%. This also depends on the type of vehicle and the way people drive. While you do not want your staff to swelter on a hot day it isn’t necessary to use it as a fan to circulate air. Consider also the temperature that is set in the car the same way you do in the office. The cooler you set the temperature, the more the air conditioning unit needs to work.
When a tyre is 4 to 5 psi below the recommended pressure, fuel use increases by 10%. It is that simple. Check the vehicle’s sticker for tire inflation pressures. Low pressures can also lead to a 15% reduction in tyre life over time so you can save there too.
Regular maintenance improves the performance of any vehicle. It provides a platform for ensuring that vehicles are running well. It is advisable to get a checkup every 6 months or more often depending on the kilometres driven. Servicing can also identify problems that may cause safety issues.
Pay less for what you use
The price of fuel moves up and down all the time. Buying at the right time of the cycle can save 15-30 cents a litre which can equate to $10 or more per full tank. While this is not always easy to achieve (if you need to fill up, you need to fill up) – following the fuel cycle can save significant amounts of money. There are many apps and websites that provide information on where the best fuel prices are. Check out apps like Motor Mouth, Gas Buddy and government websites.
Choosing the right type of fuel
Using a more premium fuel type in a car that does not need it, costs more and rarely delivers any benefit in city driving. Too often, the benefits in performance and economy do not match up to the increased cost.
Fuel cards with discounts attached offer a convenient way to save some money on fuel. Cards also provide detailed reporting by driver or vehicle on the fuel purchased. This data can be essential to check and improve on fuel cost use over time. Data is accessible and easy to get from the fuel card providers. You also reduce the administrative time of processing invoices, receipts or costs. We recommend the implementation of a fuel card rather than using a company credit card. Fuel cards are specific to a vehicle, reducing the chance of staff topping up their other car (we see this all the time). We partner with Caltex and Fleetcard to offer reduced card fees and discounts off the price of fuel. You can find more details here.
Reducing fuel use in your business
Because all businesses are different – there are many solutions. Reducing fuel costs to your business is best achieved through a combination of factors. You need to manage what fuel staff buy as well as vehicle maintenance and driver behaviour. If you want to talk to an expert or would like any further information, contact us today via the form below.