Knowing how to save fuel must be a priority for any fleet manager. This is typically the largest expense involved with running company vehicles, accounting for up to 60 per cent of operating budgets.
What’s more, fuel prices are on the rise. According to government figures, a litre of petrol cost an average of 115.39p at the start of 2021. Yet by the end of May, this had risen to 128.15p. Over the same period, the cost of diesel rose from 119.97p to 131.82p per litre.
However, there are a range of things businesses can do to make fuel savings. One of the best solutions is to secure the right fuel card, which can give you crucial discounts on petrol and diesel. But another is to use telematics.
This technology works well alongside tools like fuel cards, and our Tele-Gence solution can offer big savings. So how does this work and what benefits could it bring to your fleet?
What is telematics?
Telematics refers to a collection of technologies that work together to offer fleet managers much more data about the performance of their vehicles.
It’s sometimes conflated with vehicle tracking, but there’s much more to it than this. While GPS tracking tools are a central part of a good telematics solution, it also uses vehicle monitoring sensors, analytics tools, cameras and other real-time information to build a complete picture of your activities.
This has a wide range of benefits. For example, it can improve the safety of your fleet and provide detailed reporting that takes much of the hassle out of paperwork such as calculating expenses.
But telematics’ ability to reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption is one of the biggest advantages of this technology, and it can do this in a number of ways.
5 ways Tele-Gence helps your fuel usage
Fuel Card Services’ Tele-Gence is an advanced solution that offers a wide range of benefits to businesses of all sizes. But when it comes to telematics fuel saving strategies, there are several ways you can use this technology to your advantage.
1. Better route planning
One of the easiest and most obvious ways to use less fuel is to do less driving. Driver tracking and route planning tools help you achieve this. If an individual is taking a less-efficient route to get from A to B, the technology can identify this and suggest a better alternative.
However, the most fuel-efficient route isn’t necessarily the shortest. If the most direct route by mileage takes you through a busy section with many traffic lights, or an area of high congestion that means a lot of stopping and starting, this will use more fuel than a longer, but smoother route.
A key feature of telematics is its ability to spot when a vehicle is idling. One reason for this may be if it’s stuck in traffic, or if a driver has left the engine running while making stops. Either way, this is highly damaging to fuel efficiency. For instance, if your vehicle has a three-litre engine, just ten minutes of idling could use almost a third of a litre of fuel.
Telematics can greatly reduce this idling time. Better route planning is one way to do this, but another is by helping adjust driver behaviour.
2. Improve driver behaviour
Telematics lets you see exactly how your cars and vans are being driven, and in turn, this allows you to step in and offer advice to those who are getting from A to B in the least fuel-efficient way.
As well as idling, harsh acceleration, speeding and heavy braking all result in more fuel being used, and telematics software can track all of these parameters in real-time. Tele-Gence even allows you to collate this vehicle telematics data in a ‘league table’ that shows your best and worst-performing drivers.
You can then use this insight to improve driver training and make sure it’s targeted where it’s most needed. The Energy Saving Trust, for example, noted that smart driving training can reduce drivers’ fuel consumption by around 15 per cent, leading to typical annual savings of between £200 and £250 per driver a year.
Continuous monitoring of driver behaviour lets you check if the advice is sinking in. What’s more, in addition to reducing your fuel speed, this is a great driver safety tool, and can help prolong the life of your vehicles.
3. Find cheaper fuel
Using fuel cards to secure cheap petrol and diesel is essential for many firms, but this only works if drivers know where they can use these solutions.
Looking for the cheapest fuel can often be a careful balancing act. If you go too far out of your way to find a cheap filling station, you may end up using more fuel to get there and back than you’d save in reduced costs. However, telematics fleet savings can help with this by directing your drivers to the cheapest and most practical fuel sites.
4. Keep your vehicles in top condition
Poorly-maintained vehicles tend to use more fuel than those in good condition, so having a clear plan for maintenance and being able to spot potential problems early is another way to reduce your spend. Again, telematics tools can help with this by connecting to vehicle diagnostics units to identify issues proactively, as well as provide alerts when scheduled maintenance is due.
This can help your fuel spend in a number of ways. From simple steps such as helping ensure your tyres are at the correct pressure to replacing filters and keeping your engine in good condition, solid maintenance offers many benefits.
5. Prevent fraud
Finally, telematics can be hugely useful in cracking down on issues such as fuel fraud and unauthorised usage of company vehicles. For example, these tools can be used to alert fleet managers if a vehicle is being used outside of approved hours or is in a geographical area it shouldn’t be. This enables you to investigate further and provides undeniable evidence if there’s a dispute.
It can also work alongside fuel cards to track any fuel fraud. By comparing GPS data from the telematics with info from fuel cards, it can tell instantly if someone is using a company fuel card to fill another vehicle.
Fuel saving is just one of the many telematics benefits you can enjoy with the right technology. Contact us today to find out what else Tele-Gence solutions can do for you.