Consider how often fleet drivers switch back and forth between driving fleet vehicles and passenger vehicles. Because of the frequency of their refueling, they run a higher-than-average risk of accidentally filling a fuel tank with the wrong type of fuel—a costly mistake that can seriously harm a fleet company’s vehicles and its bottom line.
Fleet managers who teach and enforce proper fueling practices with drivers ultimately save their company time, money and heartache. Below are some facts and tips fleet managers can share with drivers to help improve fuel economy and avoid unnecessary fleet maintenance expenses.
Did you know?
~ In case any fleet managers question the importance of reminding drivers to use the correct type of fuel, they ought to read this About.com article that describes the damaging effects of filling up with the wrong fuel. Each year 300,000 vehicles require maintenance because of this error and these expenses add up to at least nearly $250 million dollars. Ouch!
~ Vehicle fueling requirements vary, as do octane ratings (which measure the burn time of fuel in a vehicle’s cylinder). A vehicle that receives lower than its required octane level loses fuel efficiency and risks engine breakdown; higher than required levels may either improve fuel efficiency (a potentially worthy investment) or have zero impact on the vehicle’s performance (a waste of money). Fleet managers need to make that determination based on what their fleet vehicles are used for and how often they’re used, as well as the fueling requirements stated in the vehicle’s manual.
~ Fleet managers can greatly reduce the odds of drivers filling tanks with the wrong fuel by creating visual reminders in prominent locations—and they can never display too many. Effective locations for bold-color notes include on the dashboard, on the fuel tank door, on the interior of the driver’s-side door, and wherever fleet fuel cards are stored. Fleet managers can also provide verbal reminders and create a system that requires drivers to verify the type of fuel they’ll use before leaving fleet headquarters.
~ Some fuel management programs feature a powerful safety tool that provides control remotely for fleet managers. After a driver or fuel attendant swipes a fleet card the system detects pre-programmed data about the driver and the vehicle and determines if the driver selected the correct type of fuel. If not, the pump is immediately deactivated and the fleet manager is alerted to the error.
Companies that operate with transportation already pay plenty toward fuel expenses, and a poor fueling decision at the pump can potentially prove catastrophic for business. Informed fleet managers who implement effective fueling policies and educate employees about proper fueling practices for specific vehicles can ensure fleets remain on the road and out of the shop, which keeps customers happy and business thriving.