Advanced technology such as route optimization software can help fleet managers at businesses of any size set realistic goals for reducing overhead fuel costs. The U.S. energy economy has become more dynamic in the last few years. Not only have producers started developing a wider variety of alternative fuels, such as natural gas, wind and solar, but federal and state governments have also taken the initiative to draft new regulations that curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Reducing spending and avoiding the growing threat of global climate change are the major factors leading to an increased interest in using less fuel. However, small and medium-sized fleet owners may not necessarily have the resources available to make major changes to their current operations. While U.S. automobile manufacturers have released more efficient car and truck models, many of these have a large price barriers. In most cases, the only thing a transportation business can do to conserve fuel is to make behavioral changes at the driver level or find ways to increase overall efficiency.
Small changes go a long way
According to John Voelcker, a guest blogger for The Christian Science Monitor, there are a variety of misconceptions surrounding the most effective ways to limit pollution. For example, many people falsely believe that boosting the fuel economy of a truck that already gets poor gas mileage doesn't do enough to truly save costs in any meaningful way. In reality, these smaller changes ultimately have the largest impact on any firm's fleet operations.
"Boosting the gas mileage of the lowest-efficiency vehicles displaces a lot more gas than taking a high-efficiency vehicle higher," Voelcker explained.
In other words, it's entirely possible for managers to uncover huge savings by taking small steps toward greater fuel efficiency. Taking advantage of delivery routing software can even allow businesses to witness real results without even making any new truck purchases. Most vehicles in a private fleet complete a large number of trips on any given day. When drivers repeatedly go back and forth from their warehouses, stores or distribution depots between trips, they may be wasting more fuel than necessary. Any technology that allows companies to plan ahead and schedule multiple deliveries in one trip will go a long way toward reducing overhead costs in the future.
Anticipating larger savings in the future
This focus on technology and making small changes to business operations will deliver the most immediate savings for small and midsize fleets. Alternative fuels have yet to fully reach the mainstream market. A recent article from Oil & Gas Journal said U.S. production of natural gas has increased at a rapid pace since 2005. However, consumption of this cleaner fuel hasn't kept up at the same speed. As the economy continues to boost its domestic energy initiatives, the price of these alternatives will eventually decline. However, this process could take several years, meaning fleet managers must find ways to save money in the meantime. With the right logistics software, businesses can operate at full speed without wasting fuel or adding any unnecessary costs.