Automotive Fleet

NOV 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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Page 41 of 65

TO: PHO XSL E /AL M CO TO. PHO K TOC ©IS CONVENTIONAL STRATEGIES THAT WORK Through research, replacements, and preventive maintenance, feet managers can get the biggest bang out of their feet dollars. BY BRAD KELLEY F uel is one of the largest expenses associated with owning and operating a fleet, typically, second only to asset acquisition and depreciation. In the last decade, the average retail price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline has increased more than 126 percent, with average prices fluctuating as much as 39 percent from one year to the next. During this same period of time, the average retail price of a gallon of diesel fuel AT A GLANCE There are a number of ways feet managers can keep costs down and raise awareness on proper fuel management techniques, including: ● Adopting a preventive maintenance program. ● Researching the use of alternative-fuel vehicles. ● Reviewing feet size and composition. ● Utilizing fuel management technology. 38 AUTOMOTIVE FLEET I NOVEMBER 2013 increased more than 160 percent, with the average price annually fluctuating as much as 33 percent. Why the price increase and variability? Global energy demand, instability and war in petroleum-producing countries, international sanctions, changes in domestic energy policies and regulations, a global economic recession, and natural and man-made disasters have all contributed to the increased, unpredictable cost of fueling a feet. Here are some strategies to mitigate the efects of fuel price fuctuations and increases without impacting service levels. Ensuring Preventive Maintenance Properly maintained fleet assets are more fuel efficient and perform better. Fouled spark plugs, underinflated tires, dirty air filters, using the improper grade of oil, restricted exhaust flow, damaged oxygen sensors, and dragging brakes are just some of the common mechan- ical issues that can degrade a vehicle's fuel efficiency by as much as 40 percent or more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To ensure an efective preventive maintenance (PM) program, a feet management information system (FMIS) is required. An FMIS allows a feet manager to defne what parts need to be replaced, components checked, and services performed as part of a PM service. Moreover, this can be defned for each type of equipment and at what intervals a PM service should be performed (e.g., every 90 days or 5,000 miles). When properly confgured, an FMIS can notify drivers when an asset is due for service, alert staf when vehicles are past due for service, track all work performed through work orders, and much more. A quality FMIS is a must-have for efectively managing a feet and can help a feet make the most out every gallon of fuel purchased.

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