By: Shawna Laird, Business Manager & Business Services Team
Roller coasters – you either like them or you don’t. They can give you a thrill or a scare, depending on whether you are going up, or coming down. It appears that as in the past several years our fleet budgets will take a ride on the fuel cost roller coaster, again. Energy price forecasts are highly uncertain and the prices are on the accent on this roller coaster. The cost per gallon at the pump includes taxes and fees. With the recent changes to the tax breaks, the consumer will see this roller coaster continue to climb. Although most government entities are exempt from taxes, there are fees per gallon that are passed on to the customer.
Taming this roller coaster will require more than one rider. Before we start on the ride, we need to recognize what factors on this ride, are controllable and by whom. Some factors the fleet manager has no control over. Massive storms and unusual weather can definitely impact the ride, tossing the budgets to and fro. Fleet budgets will be impacted by these factors. Government mandates also make the ride more of a scare than that of a thrill. Although we can reduce the carbon footprint for our fleets, that does not equate to lower cost of ownership or cost per mile. Be sure to monitor the total costs not just the fuel cost per gallon. Fleet managers can’t control the cost per barrel of crude oil, but they can partner with their purchasing group or co-ops to ensure a better price per gallon, and purchase more cost efficient vehicles during the replacement cycles. The driver/operators can’t control the need for the fuel, but they can help to conserve the amount necessary to get their jobs and tasks done. Management can help reduce on site meetings and encourage ride sharing.
Many fleet agencies have implemented service level agreements for maintenance and rental of the vehicles and equipment. Enhance your service level agreements to include fueling profiles and expectations in your end user service agreements. Include vehicle sizing, accurate usage reporting, tire pressure monitoring, PM compliance, and promotion of alternative transportation methods in your profile and service agreement.
Create an internal fuel conservation monthly campaign. Set goals, track the progress and put a value on it. Share the information with your staff, your management, and your customers. Work with your management to encourage participation at all levels within your organization. Challenge the end users and give them recognition.
Ride the fuel cost roller coaster and when you make it to the bottom in one piece; get ready to go again.
The FleetPros Blog is written and moderated by the Business Manager with contributions from the membership and Business Services Team.