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Key Steps To Take Now To Optimize Fuel-Cost Savings

Increasing a vehicle’s fuel economy by 1 mpg can save a 300-vehicle fleet as much as $54,000 per year. Fleet managers can take action today to start decreasing fuel consumption in executive vehicle fleets.

A fleet manager can’t control the market forces driving average national fuel prices to $4 per gallon in some markets, eating into the company’s bottom line. However, there are some things you can do right now to soften the impact of volatile fuel prices and squeeze as much fuel savings as possible from the company’s vehicle fleet.

Consider these scenarios based on improving fuel economy by just 1 mpg (from 22 to 23 mpg) at $3.65 per gallon:

■ At 15,000 miles per year, annual fuel savings per vehicle is $108.
■ At 20,000 miles per year, annual fuel savings per vehicle is $144.
■ At 25,000 miles per year, annual fuel savings per vehicle is $180.

If a fleet operates 300 vehicles at 25,000 miles per year, and is able to attain an extra mile per gallon in savings on each vehicle, annual fuel costs can be conceivably cut by as much as $54,000 for the 300 units.

What adjustments can be made to an existing fleet to achieve such fuel cost savings while preserving profit for the company?

1. Promote Conservative Driving Habits
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aggressive driving (such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking) can lower fuel economy by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent on city streets. Save fuel by holding drivers accountable to observe speed limits and avoid harsh stop-and-go driving.

2. Eliminate Unnecessary Idling 
A typical executive vehicle can waste 0.2 gallons of fuel per hour while idling, according to the EPA. Therefore, unnecessary idling, even just one hour per day, can waste as much as $189 per year, per vehicle, based on $3.65 per gallon.

A fuel savings calculator is provided by the Argonne National Laboratory, one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s oldest and largest national laboratories for science and engineering research. To access it, visit: www.transportation.anl.gov/engines/idling.html.

3. Maintain Optimal Tire Pressure
According to the EPA, fuel economy can be improved up to 3.3 percent by keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure. The government says under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every pound per square inch (psi) drop in pressure. For example, if each tire on a vehicle was under-inflated by just 10 psi, the result would be 16-percent drop in fuel economy. (Check the label on the driver’s side door jam or consult the owner’s manual for the proper tire pressure for the vehicle.)

Read on and find out the 10 other key steps to take to optimize fuel-cost savings.

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