By Glen Sokolis
When it comes to the cost of running your fleet, there are few factors that matter more than fuel. Fleets can save on fuel by finding ways to increase fuel efficiency, and one of the ways to make fleets more efficient is to change the way drivers drive.
Figures from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) say drivers can save nearly one-third of their highway fuel consumption just through less aggressive driving. But that may be easier said than done, especially when working with employees who have been driving for years, if not decades.
Here are a few ways to introduce change to your fleet to increase fuel efficiency.
Fuel Card Programs
Fleets are looking to reduce fuel costs simply by spending less, through finding rebates from retailers and by implementing fleet fuel card programs.
Fuel cards can protect you against fraud or misuse, but they also offer a way to keep track of a driver’s daily route. Drivers and fleet managers can use this data to plot out better—meaning more efficient—driving strategies. Your company can also use fuel cards to keep track of maintenance costs, giving your drivers even more incentive to drive with more care.
Create New Policies
If your current rules aren’t working for you—or if you don’t have rules to begin with—make new ones. Set new standards requiring drivers to meet certain safe driving metrics. Fleets can also create policies that reward drivers who help save costs. They’ll be more likely to drive more efficiently if they know it can affect their year-end bonus.
Provide More Training
It’s important that drivers adopt new skills, but those skills can only be mastered with a lot of practice.
Remember that the industry will always be at work finding new ways to make drivers more efficient while lowering costs. By offering ongoing training, your drivers get a chance to hone their skills and communicate with other drivers, giving them more opportunities to share ideas.
And by providing continued training, you’re letting your drivers know that efficiency is a priority. You can adjust your training schedule for the seasons. For example, a refresher on driving in the snow would work better in November than May.
Offer Feedback in Person
Training, fuel cards and new policies are all important tools, but don’t lose the human touch. Communicate the importance of efficient driving in face-to-face interactions with your drivers. Simply sending out a memo might go unnoticed. You’ll have a better chance of tutoring employees when you can meet with them personally. Some companies even choose to send along efficiency coaches on the road with less efficient drivers to point out signs of inefficient behavior.
Glen Sokolis is the Founder and President of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company. He has more than 25 years of experience with fleet fuel and founded Sokolis Group in 2003. Sokolis Group’s mission is to reduce and control their clients’ fuel spend through tightly managed customized programs. Sokolis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-482-6160.