How to Deal With high fuel prices as a Fleet Owner?

The American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) 2022 Top Industry Issues survey found that drivers and motor carriers are more worried about rising fuel prices than a lack of drivers.

Since fuel prices go up quickly and for a short time, it’s hard for fleet owners to pass these costs on to their customers. This means that the high prices eat into the fleet’s profits, which isn’t good for business.

Due to this, it’s vital for fleet owners to come up with ways to deal with the fuel consumption of their vehicles. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to go about it. These ways include:

rising fuel prices
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Involve everyone

Everyone, including technicians, drivers, and analysts, needs to work together to save the most fuel possible. To get the most out of the trucks, everyone needs to work together to look at data, cut down on fuel use and buy the right amount, eliminate idle time, and optimize routes.

You also need to closely monitor the after-treatment fault codes and fix them as quickly as possible.

It’s vital that you work with drivers. For one, you should talk with them and ask them to drive the trucks efficiently so that they can save as much fuel as possible.

Since trucks consume more when speeding, you should put speed/accelerator limiters in place.

Most drivers won’t be happy with the decision, but you should have open communication with them and explain to them their importance and how they affect the bottom line of the fleet and business.

Take good care of the trucks

It goes that when you take good care of the trucks, they will consume less fuel.

After the covid 19 pandemic, there has been a supply issue. This means that if you used to have a truck for four or five years but are having trouble with the supply chain, you’ll have to use it for six or seven years. This means that the maintenance you do on it will be different. After all, it’s a little older.

When it comes to after-treatment for trucks that have been in operation for four or five years and are still under warranty, you may only need to undertake diesel particulate filter (DPF) system cleaning and other minor service, but when a fleet has a longer life cycle, it needs more service, and you will have to deal with more problems.

You will need to undertake further diesel particulate filter cleaning with an older truck. Since your truck is not under warranty, the cleaning and most maintenance work will be out of your pocket. You can outsource the service to a third party or buy your own DPF cleaning machines to do the cleaning.

Since you are a fleet owner and constantly have to clean the DPF, buying your DPF cleaning machines is wise. For the best outcome, buy these machines from or any other reputable source.

Besides cleaning the DPF, you may also need to replace the truck tires. Since you want to increase your fleet’s fuel efficiency, get tires with a high fuel efficiency rating, as they will save you a lot of money by reducing the rolling resistance.

You may also have to replace the one-box system, which is the box that holds the DPFs. If you don’t replace the box, the DPF system may give error codes, leading to more regenerations.

When this happens, drivers have to stop more often to give the system 30 to 45 minutes to regenerate. As you can tell, this can hurt your business.

As you replace the box, you may need to replace the DPF with parts like crossover pumps, dosage valves, and sometimes crossover tubes. For the best outcome, ensure that the service work is done by experts that know what they are doing.

Replace the old trucks on time

It’s highly recommended that you know what’s happening in your trade cycle. For most trucks, it’s five years, but it depends on your business and how long you plan to drive.

Remember that if your trucks are always on the move, the longer you stay with them, the quicker you find yourself in a maintenance and repair hole. So, always sell the old trucks and get new ones as soon as their life cycle ends.

As you can tell, this not only gives you peace of mind as you know that your trucks won’t stall on the road, but it also saves you a lot of fuel as newer trucks often don’t consume as much fuel as the older ones.

According to the LCCM (Life Cycle Cost Management) plan that helps corporates make measurable changes, a 500-car fleet with a five-year life cycle, the average miles per gallon driven is 8.41, while the average for an eight-year cycle is 7.90.

This means that changing your replacement cycle from eight years to five years will save 2,494,770 gallons of fuel.

This will have a significant effect on cutting CO2 by 6.1%, or 25,122 metric tons.

The LCCM plan supports that you are better off replacing your fleet early, as a fleet with a shorter life cycle is cheaper in the long run.

Parting shot

It’s a fact that fuel prices have been on the rise, and as a responsible fleet owner, you should come up with strategies that will ensure that you maintain being profitable even with the high prices.

Many fleets still don’t use data analytics to figure out their diesel cost per mile (CPM). Instead, they keep focusing on diesel cost per gallon, which is a big problem for the industry.

As a fleet owner, you must look at your maintenance data to find KPIs like fuel economy and mile-per-gallon (MPG) per model year.
Only through data analytics and the abovementioned strategies will you better understand your fleet and its consumption so that you can come up with better ways to control consumption.

The data will also help you pinpoint at the line-item level where specific expenditures are adding up.

As mentioned above, involve everyone in your team and maintain clear communication lines.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.