75 ways to cut your fleet’s fuel costs

By CCJ Staff on

With the “new norm” cost of diesel at $4 per gallon, fleets should be looking at every possible opportunity to lower fuel consumption. Like no other time in the trucking industry, every drop counts.

A tractor-trailer combo or driver able to improve fuel economy by a mile per gallon gained is huge in savings terms. The difference between 6 and 7 mpg on a power unit operating 120,000 miles annually is nearly $12,000. Multiply that for a fleet with 100 trucks, and the savings come to $1.2 million per year.

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet or overnight solution when it comes to improving fuel economy. But by paying close attention to a number of small gains, fleets can find incremental ways to lower fuel costs effectively.

Understand that every aspect of a fleet’s organization can impact fuel costs – not just the driver. With that in mind, here are 75 useful tips that fleet managers, company drivers, equipment purchasers and maintenance managers can use to lower fuel costs.

On CCJ‘s Fuel Savings Tips page, you’ll find 75 tips for fleet owners to help their fleet maximize profitability and fuel savings, including tips for fleet managers, tips for drivers, tips for maintenance managers and tips for equipment purchases. Click here to see them.

6 comments
NoUnions
NoUnions

I deliver fuels in the area where I live, I haven't seen much by way of efforts to move in that direction. In fact, the only gas station that I know had it for sale converted the holding tank and went back to selling the usual products. I am surprised that trucking hasn't made more of a move towards biofuels (maybe I don't know enough about it).  I have to tell you, the only person I know of in our company was asked to deliver a load of biodiesel and we had to mix it to specs. We had to go to a different place for the bio and another for the regular diesel. That isn't a cost effective way to do things.

NoUnions
NoUnions

Anything new on biodiesel?

Jennifer Pipenger
Jennifer Pipenger

Nowhere in the list of "75 tips" is there any mention of utilizing a fuel additive to increase fuel performance.   Despite the impression of additives being little more than 'snake oil' there are a number of excellent products available.   At the correct treat ratio, a good additive should improve cetane by 3-4 points, include sufficient detergency (which would aid with Tip #38 -maintain fuel filters and #39 - maintain DPF) and possibly contain a lubricity agent.    

 

Some of the newer crude oils being processed have issues with producing an end product with much lower in cetane and cause injector and filter clogging IF NOT TREATED.    The refineries meet ASTM specifications with these fuels but there is room for improvement to save the end using trucker/fleet lost monies due to down time for maintenance and poor fuel consumption.   

 

If anyone wants suggestions, contact me privately.

Jennifer Pipenger
Jennifer Pipenger

 @NoUnions

The availability of pre-blended biodiesel can be dependent upon where you are.   Many terminals have the B99.9 at the rack to blend as requested.  Sounds like your area this is not the case or there were special circumstances with that order.  Perhaps special pricing for the individual components, RIN's, the rack was out of service, or there were contract obligations.     

 

Bio does not fair well in colder weather with out treatment.   It needs to be seasonally treated much sooner than straight #2 diesel.   Considering the historical price of kero/#1 for winter blending the cost savings with biodiesel quickly is lost as the weather gets cooler.   Additives CAN effectively (cost and performance-wise) treat biodiesel for winter in most circumstances but that requires effort and planning foresight to get it right (and nobody wants to be wrong and have operational failure.)  

 

I have heard of filter/injector clogging issues with biodiesel almost a decade ago.  Water is/was a concern with biodiesel.   Again, there are additives available to help alleviate most of the problems, but that means a little more work for fuel users to find the 'right' one that works for their situation.  Off the shelf applications probably will not fix it unless a buyer gets lucky.   The problem is people want things to be perfect from the get go and that is nearly impossible since there are so many variables with equipment manufactures, bio feed stocks, and #2 diesel producers.   

 

Hence, even ten years later, people are still hesitant to commit to biodiesel.  I spent nearly 10 years working for a petroleum wholesaler with a nationwide client base.  Biodiesel is out there.   It is available, but it may not be simple to procure everywhere.  Plus without a little foresight it may not be cost effective or performance ready for year round application.   

 

Out of respect for the CCJ forum I will not advertise my company's name, but we fix fuel problems for our clients.   That's my 2 cents.

Jennifer Pipenger
Jennifer Pipenger

 I certain there are.  What are you looking for regarding biodiesel?



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