Every business is affected by increasing fuel costs to a greater or lesser extent, whether you run a fleet of heavy goods vehicles or simply have a couple of sales staff driving around the country for client meetings. In these challenging economic times we should leave no stone unturned when it comes to seeking areas for cost savings. Here are some simple but effective ways to drive down fuel costs.
Use a fuel card
If you are still asking staff members to buy fuel using either their own money or a company’s credit card and then to put in an expense report, you need to get into the 21st century. A fuel card provides access to the best prices while improving transparency and reducing admin and hassle. There are plenty out there to choose from, so weigh up all the options. This card from Emo Oil, for example, promises the best prices, delivers all the invoices online to simplify tax returns and has no fixed contract. There really is no downside.
In careless hands, a motor vehicle can be a deadly weapon, and we are all aware of the potentially tragic consequences of speeding. Those driving a company vehicle are almost twice as likely to break speed limits as people in their own cars. But as well as endangering lives, property and your business’s reputation, there is also a fuel cost associated with driving at excessive speed. For example, in one study, the Freight Transport Association found that reducing average speed from 56mph to 50mph will result in a five percent improvement in fuel consumption.
Look after your fleet
Sticking to the prescribed service intervals and carrying out regular checks on oil, coolant, tyres and so on makes sense on every level. It reduces depreciation on your fleet, means there is less risk of unexpected breakdowns and all the associated cost and inconvenience, and not least, makes the vehicle more pleasant and safer to drive. On top of all these factors, it also reduces fuel usage. If a car, van or truck is driving around with under inflated tyres and clogged fuel filters, petrol or diesel consumption will increase significantly. Follow proactive servicing and maintenance practices, and the savings will certainly outweigh the costs in the long run.
Cut out the unnecessary miles
There is an old saying among hauliers that the most expensive mile you ever drive is the one you don’t need to. Cutting down on what are called out of route miles can save a business thousands of pounds over the course of a year. This is not to suggest that drivers are cruising the streets for the sake of it, but inefficient routing and failure to take into account local conditions can all contribute to unnecessary miles and more fuel being burned. This is where technology can be a big help when it comes to planning delivery schedules and optimising routes to avoid traffic jams, road works and the like.