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How Technology Can Help Fleet Operators Improve Fuel Efficiency

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

It's no surprise that the recent rise in fuel costs is having a sizeable impact on fleet operators across Australia.

The 22.1 cent cut to the fuel excise has resulted in a mere 4.3 cent per litre reduction for fuel when you factor in elements like the road user charge and the loss of the Fuel Tax Credit. Without adequate government relief, fleet operators will continue to bear the brunt, with consumers and customers eventually taking on the cost.  

However, this difficult situation offers a unique opportunity for fleet operators to take control of fuel costs to ensure long-term success, rather than just weathering this short-term fuel storm. By exploring the causes of fuel inefficiencies and embracing the latest telematics technology and fleet management solutions, your fleets will stay on the move now and well into the future.   

Here's how technology solutions can improve your fleet's long-term fuel efficiency and reduce the impact of fuel costs.

Improved route planning and tracking

Reducing unnecessary kilometres to save on fuel costs is the easiest step fleets can take to improve long-term fuel efficiency. At its most basic, GPS fleet tracking can give businesses instant visibility to allocate fleets more efficiently and enhance accountability. Beyond this, the latest in AI-powered telematics technology can also measure everything from vehicle locations to time spent at a job and travelling time. There’s even a tool to maximise fuel tax rebates.  

Telematics platforms also optimise route planning to shave off unnecessary kilometres from trips. The application considers scheduled stops for jobs and compliance waypoints; the pre-prepared journey is then available in real-time to select on an in-vehicle device.

If a vehicle deviates from a set path, the driver is notified and immediately directed back to the defined route via the safest roads. Back-office staff are also alerted, helping managers identify recurring issues and overcome inefficiencies. This simultaneously saves fuel and protects assets while increasing driver safety and compliance.

Predictive maintenance to avoid bigger issues

Predictive maintenance is an essential tool in any Fleet Manager’s belt; proactively maintaining assets and keeping them at the top of their game ensures they operate smoothly, which improves fuel efficiency. Equipment management solutions use historical data to identify and alert fleet managers of what equipment and vehicles need maintenance and when. Digitised systems fully automate maintenance routines with custom schedules and real-time access to equipment diagnostics and inspection reports.

Key vehicle parts to keep in peak shape include a combination of many parts on the vehicle, from tyres to engine maintenance. Ensuring these are well-maintained can have significant benefits for fuel efficiency. For example, reduced tyre pressure, misaligned wheels, and bad spark plugs can increase resistance, reducing fuel efficiency by up to 10–30 per cent, which equates to an added cost of 11–33 cents per litre.

Using automated digital tracking solutions makes predictive maintenance an easy task for businesses and helps to avoid costly breakdowns. It also greatly reduces manual labour on paper-based processes — increasing efficiency and savings both on and off-road.

Enhancing driver performance fleetwide

How a driver operates their vehicle can drastically impact fuel efficiency. Driving faster than necessary, aggressive acceleration, harsh braking, and idling can all burn through excessive fuel. Consider that reducing a truck’s average speed from 113 km per hour to 105 can reduce fuel consumption by up to 6 per cent.

Equipping vehicles with Smart Dashcams, which combine the power of AI technology with telematics data and advanced onboard sensors, provides insight into these metrics and identifies training opportunities. The camera can provide real-time alerts to reduce inefficient driving habits instantly.

Smart Dashcams also come equipped with built-in scorecard and coaching features to create long-term, fuel-efficient driving habits. The live dashboard displays fleet and individual driver metrics – meaning drivers have complete insight into their performance. They can see how they compare with colleagues to foster healthy competition and encourage improvement.  

They’re alerted when there’s a significant change in metrics, either positive or negative. The system provides tips and feedback to help them set measurable goals and improve their driving habits and fuel efficiency over time.

Think long-term

Weathering the soaring cost of fuel requires more than just a band-aid approach. Instead, you should focus on identifying and tackling the root causes of fuel inefficiencies and adopting integrated fleet management solutions to create a solid foundation for long-term growth. Fuel costs may continue to rise, but with smart systems in place, you’ll give your business the best chance at a successful, fuel-efficient future.

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