Since early 2009 the cost of fuel has doubled, with no reprieve in sight. For a typical service organization, this could result in additional annual costs of $2,500 per vehicle; bringing today’s cost to $5,000 per vehicle per year. This has made service managers acutely aware of the need to control the service fleet’s fuel costs, and many ideas on how to reduce fuel consumption, as well as get fuel at lower costs, have emerged.
Reducing fuel consumption involves strategies such as regular servicing of the vehicle engine and tires; training drivers to avoid fuel-wasting behaviors (e.g., excessive idling, aggressive driving); minimizing vehicle aerodynamic drag; and, if the financial analysis justifies it, switching to more energy-efficient vehicles. The United States Department of Energy has dedicated a Web site (www.fueleconomy.gov) to describing these strategies and their benefits. The benefits may be surprising to some: replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, not to mention extend engine life; and aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town.