Using GPS Tracking Technology to Save on Fuel Costs

Fleet owners and managers are usually painfully aware of the costs associated with keeping vehicles fueled up. GPS vehicle tracking can help to identify inefficiencies in order to reduce costs. The specific fuel concerns many trackers can identify and monitor include: 

  • Mileage per gallon 
  • Idle times
  • Emissions

This assists fleet managers with identifying inefficient drivers, correcting bad habits, and recognizing maintenance needs for individual vehicles. By taking active control of fuel consumption and educating drivers, managers can optimize and streamline fuel costs as a segment of total fleet costs. There are also environmental benefits as less fuel consumption means less pollution. GPS tracking can also help managers identify vehicles requiring preventive maintenance or repair, often avoiding costly problems before they occur and reducing downtime for organizations.

Reducing Idle Time

Identifying and reducing a vehicle's idle time can reap massive benefits in terms of fuel cost savings. While it has been said that switching off a vehicle instead of letting a vehicle idle can affect performance, in the long run, this has proven to be untrue. An EPA study shows that restarting an engine is roughly equivalent to 30 sends of idle time, and there is little impact to a vehicle's component durability. GPS tracking systems can tell you how long a vehicle has been idling, and managers can set up and auto alert warning drivers to turn off their engine after they've reached a specified limit to their idle time. 

In another study conducted by the Ford Motor Company, it has shown that one hour of idling is equivalent to 25 miles of driving. For example, if a truck drives 50 miles in a day and idles for 4 hours that same day, fuel consumption will be the same as if the truck drove 100 miles more than it did. This information is important for fuel efficiency as well as maintenance concerns. Oil, oil filters, fuel filters, and engine coolant all need to be replaced based on miles driven and vehicle maintenance is based on miles of wear which can add up quickly when an engine is left idling. Once a fleet manager is able to see this data, they are able to be proactive with maintenance and driver behavior modification. 

Monitoring Speeding

The ability to monitor speed remotely is an important benefit of GPS fleet tracking. The U.S. Department of Energy says that every 5mph over a 60mph speed limit that a vehicle drives increases fuel costs by approximately $0.24 per gallon of gasoline. If this applies to your entire fleet, your fuel costs could be inflated by 10-20%! 

Speeding is also considered to be a safety hazard and excessive speeding could cause increased wear and tear on the vehicle. Most GPS tracking systems can report back about a vehicle's speed, and also send notifications about such issues as heavy acceleration, or exceeding user-set speed limits. Companies using fleet tracking devices with these capabilities report financial savings as well as fewer traffic incidents involving their drivers. These tools give drivers accountability with management and can ensure managers are aware of previously untrackable data. 

Another possible benefit to GPS tracking is that incentives can be offered to drivers who follow company standards, while education can be provided to drivers who have not met appropriate driving standards. 

Efficient Route Handling

Fleet tracking technology provides a company with the ability to monitor, plan, and view the routes drivers are using. Geofences, or location-based perimeters, can be set by the user so that managers are alerted if any of these lines are crossed. Meaning, if a driver has entered or exited a zone where they should or should not be. Also, drivers who extend their drive time unnecessarily through poor route planning can be better advised by managers. 

When dispatchers have the ability to view drivers' locations, they also have the unique ability to assess the fleet as a whole and determine which drivers are nearest to an emergency need. Dispatchers can use real-time map-based traffic updates in combination with GPS-reported idle times to determine routes. They can also generate reports to view a driver's historical travel data to identify issues and suggest improvements. 

Truth Tracking

Ultimately, fleet tracking provides enough information to help eliminate driver dishonesty and time or mileage reporting. Unauthorized usage is captured and reported, allowing managers to deal with these concerns quickly and efficiently. 

When considering the numbers, managing a fleet using GPS tracking is the perfect means of saving on fuel costs and improving efficiency in any sized fleet. 

If you are a fleet manager looking to save on fuel costs, we invite you to contact our team at Lightning. We can help you choose the most appropriate tools for meeting your fleet tracking needs.