With a harsh budget looming there has been much comment in the media from hauliers and other motorists about the high price of diesel and worries about the price going higher. Some hauliers say that they will go out of business or will lay off staff.
However, this writer believes that this doom and gloom is generally an excuse for inaction. With a little change in thinking, significant reductions can be made to the cost of fuel for road transport that will more than offset any rise in fuel duty, VAT or carbon tax.
We have carried out many energy audits for companies with haulage fleets. The vast majority do not track fuel consumption on a per vehicle basis, do not train drivers in fuel efficient driving techniques and pay little attention to the many other factors that influence fuel consumption.
Tracking fuel consumption on a per vehicle basis will help identify vehicles with worse than average consumption or whose drivers have poor driving techniques or where diesel is being siphoned off. Case study after case study have demonstrated the benefits from such approaches. Whilst there are many proprietary systems available to enable tracking of fuel use, simple but effective systems can be set up using a spreadsheet and data collected from the fuel card supplier such as DCI.
In summary, the message is that instead of moaning about the price of fuel, to do something to use it more efficiently. The bullet point plan is
- Track fuel consumption on a per vehicle basis
- Identify worse than average vehicles (or if a small fleet, those below manufacturers spec)
- Identify worse than average drivers and put on an eco-driving course