• According to a survey by Automotive Fleet magazine, male fleet managers earn an average salary of $79,429 per year, while female fleet managers make an average of $67,378- a difference of more than $12,000 dollars per year.

    The gap between male and female fleet managers’ salaries is affected by several factors.  When it comes to experience, the survey showed that the gap begins at around $3,000 per year for fleet managers with 1-3 years of experience.  From there on, the salary gap remains roughly the same until 20 years of experience, when it widens significantly to over $15,000 per year; male managers at this level make an average of $87,083 while females earn $71,666.

    Education and fleet size have a less constant effect on the salary gap.  While female fleet managers did report a lower salary at almost all levels of education, females with a technical degrees were found to earn slightly more than males with the same level of education.  The largest gap appeared in managers with liberal arts degrees, with males making an average of $14,000 more than females. Females were found to earn more than their male counterparts in fleets with between 1 and 50 vehicles, and stay close to even with male salaries until fleet sizes reache 1,000 or more, where the gap reaches $15,624.

    While this data may seem somewhat bleak, consider the following: across all professions in the United States in 2008, males made an average of 22 percent more than females. In the fleet industry, that number is only 15 percent.

    Do you think the salary gap is a problem? What could the fleet industry do to lessen the divide? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think.

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  • The newly-resurrected General Motors recently announced its plans for new vehicles to debut between now and 2011.  Ten Chevrolet models, another ten Buick and GMC models, and five new Cadillacs will make their way onto the market in the next two years.  This announcement comes only months after GM declared bankruptcy and transferred ownership primarily to the United States government.

    The most talked-about vehicle in the new GM lineup is the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in electric hybrid.  Recent tests estimate the city fuel economy of the volt at 230 miles per gallon.  The Volt is capable of traveling up to 40 miles on one charge of its battery and can extend its range to over 300 miles with its hybrid gasoline engine.  The Volt is likely to be marketed as a commuter vehicle, as studies from the US Department of Transportation show that 80 percent of Americans commute fewer than 40 miles a day. With the Volt’s fuel efficiency, vehicle owners could commute to and from work purely on electricity.

    The rest of GM’s branches also have big plans: Cadillac is planning to release a new luxury sport sedan as well as the CTS Sport Wagon and SRX crossover, both of which offer lower emissions and greater fuel economy than previous models.  Buick also plans to release a new luxury vehicle with the LaCrosse as well as a compact SUV with a fuel economy of over 30 miles per gallon, to be followed later by a hybrid version.  GMC will also release a more efficient crossover SUV.

    GM’s plan also involves a new approach in its relationship with customers.  A combination of online communication and face-to-face meetings with customer will better inform GM of customer satisfaction and concerns. An addition to the FastLane blog, “The Lab” is a microsite that will allow customers to have input on future designs and qualify for later studies.

    With more fuel-efficient vehicles entering the market, FleetCards USA reminds you that we have a fuel plan to suit your needs whatever they may be.  For more information on customizing your plan, click here.

    Photo courtesy of dsix under the Creative Commons License.
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  • It seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing the phrase “social networking” these days. The use of sites like Facebook and Twitter for keeping people up to date on everything from their friends’ sandwich preferences to big business announcements has skyrocketed since their inception, with no end in sight.  Not surprisingly, fleet owners have begun using social networking sites to improve their business.

    In a recent poll, fleet managers who use social networking sites made their preferences known. 41 percent use the business contact-oriented LinkedIn, with Facebook the second most popular site at 32 percent.  12 percent of those surveyed also use Twitter for fleet purposes.

    Social networking allows people with similar interests and ideas to form an online community where information is shared immediately and effectively.  The increasing popularity of these sites make them very effective tools for keeping customers and employees up to date on company information.

    Does your fleet tweet? Check out the FleetCards USA Twitter feed by clicking here.

    Photo courtesy of benstein under the Creative Commons License.
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  • Fourty-four of the nation’s foremost vehicle inspectors gathered in Pittsburgh during the week of August 17-23 to compete in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC).

    This year, the Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award went to Alex Bugeya, a CVSA-certified North American Standard Level 1 inspector from Ontario.  Bugeya won the title for his combined performance in seven events including North American Standard Level 1 Inspection and North American Standard HAZMAT/Transportation of Dangerous Goods Inspection.

    “I am so very proud of the men and women who put on a uniform and badge every day and dedicate their lives to commercial motor vehicle safety,” said Stephen F. Campbell, CVSA’s executive director. “They are the ones making highways safer for everyone who drives alongside commercial motor vehicles and this championship recognizes them for their contribution to highway safety.”

    “We owe a great debt of gratitude to commercial vehicle safety inspectors. These dedicated men and women vigilantly enforce safety regulations that help protect the lives and well being of every traveler,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Acting Deputy Administrator Rose A. McMurray. “It is through the NAIC competition that we honor these law enforcement officers for their expertise, courage and commitment to highway safety.”

    Of the 44 competitors at this year, five inspectors represented Canada; three represented Mexico-SCT, and 36 represented the US.
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  • Ford motor company announced this week that overwhelming demand due to Cash for Clunkers will lead to an increase in production of the two most-purchased cars under the program: The Ford Escape and the Ford Focus.

    The increase in production has boosted Ford’s third quarter production numbers to 13 percent above Q3 2008.  Ford also plans to make 570,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, 15 percent more than Q3 and 33 percent higher that last year’s Q4 numbers.  This increase represents not only the Focus and Escape production hikes, but stretches across a wide range of cars, crossovers, and trucks.

    In August and September, Ford will produce an additional 3,500 Escapes.  The automaker is working with employee unions to request overtime and extra shipments to ensure an “uninterrupted flow of product.”

    With the increase in Ford production and Cash For Clunkers picking up steam, now may be a good time to replenish your fleet!

    Photo courtesy of baekken under the Creative Commons License

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  • 5 Ways to Save on Fuel

    Aug 13, 2009
    Tips from fleet operators like you

    collected some tips of the trade from fleet operators who’ve figured out ways to save (that maybe you haven’t).

    Ship it to save a trip

    “We are moving toward a system in which we drop ship medical supplies to the patient’s home. Shipping costs are outweighed by alleviating the cost of having the clinician come into the office to pick up supplies,” said Larry Leahy, vice president of Foundation Management Services, a home care and hospice services provider in the Southwest.

    Weigh Your Delivery

    Gem Plumbing
    of Lincoln, R.I. weighs every delivery, says Larry Gemma, co-owner.  Each truck used to haul 1,139 plumbing parts. The company removed 300 pounds of unneeded parts from each truck, and now the miles per gallon on each truck improved from 7.1 to 7.35.

    Find the Cheapest Gas

    The article reminds us that fuel prices can and will vary as much as 20¢ per gallon within a couple miles. So before you set out, find the cheapest gas on your route by visiting GasBuddy.com.

    Email Fuel-Saving Tips to Drivers

    Shelly Lofgren, a fleet manager for Honeywell International, signs off her emails with fuel-savings tips like maintaining proper tire inflation, maintaining posted highway speeds and no unnecessary idling.

    Get a Fleet Fuel Card

    A fuel management program not only controls fuel costs, but operating costs as well. It’s a good way to prevent unauthorized driver purchases, by regulating when, where and how it can be used. There are lots of programs out there. Be sure you find the card that fits your fleet.

    Photo courtesy of Hey Paul under the Creative Commons License.
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  • As of July 30th, dealers in Utah are now selling the Honda Civic GX, a natural gas-powered car, to their customers on a retail basis.  Honda has eight dealers in Utah, two of which are already offering the GX as a fleet vehicle.

    “The expansion of Honda’s Civic GX retail program is an expression of our commitment to natural gas vehicle technology,” said Elmer Hardy, senior manager of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Sales & Marketing, in a recent press release. “Honda seeks market opportunities for the Civic GX where strong natural gas refueling infrastructure exists, and we continue to see its promise as a clean, sustainable, domestically-sourced alternative fuel.”

    Built on the same line as the standard Civic sedan, the GX has been available to the average consumer in California and New York for a few years.  However, the GX has enjoyed great success as a fleet vehicle, with a total of 129 dealers in 32 states.  Utah dealers’ new deal with Honda allows for a $4,000 federal and $3,000 state tax credit to be passed on directly to the customer.  And as if that weren’t enough, the GX saves even more money by way of its fuel.  In Utah, natural gas is priced at 99 cents per gasoline gallon equivalent.  The GX runs efficiently, with an estimated city/highway fuel economy of 24/36.

    Honda is hoping that the widespread use of the GX and other natural-gas powered cars will reduce nationwide emissions and pave the way for other technologies, mainly hydrogen fuel cells, to be embraced in the future of fleet and consumer operations.

    Photo courtesy of Rockershirt under the Creative Commons License.
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  • The week of October 5-9 will be “Drive Safely Work Week,” sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).  The campaign will focus on general driver safety, whether employees drive during the workday or simply to and from work and home.

    Drive Safely Work Week’s
    theme this year is “Drive Focused—Drive Smart—Get Home Safely” and will focus on distracted driving practices and “eco-friendly”- driving techniques to improve the effect that a driver’s habits can have on the environment.

    The program is designed to be easily accessible, with the program’s website promising campaign materials “suitable for local and global employers.”  The materials distributed for this years campaign are undated so that businesses can continue to promote safe driving throughout the year ahead.

    If you are concerned about driving safety and its role in your fleet, visit traffic safety for more information on Drive Safely Work Week 2009.

    Photo courtesy of Marqus Q under the Creative Commons License.
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  • Toyota has announced the annual subscription price for its new telematics system, Safety Connect.  Safety Connect will first become an option on the 2010 Toyota Prius, with a one-year complementary trial of the service provided with all purchases of equipped vehicles.  After the trial period has expired, a one year renewal will be available for $139.95.

    Safety Connect provides a 24-hour-a-day communications link between a driver’s vehicle and the Safety Connect Response Center.  Using embedded cellular and GPS technology, vehicles monitored by Safety Connect will have access to important safety features:

    Automatic Collision Detection:
    In the event of a severe rear-end collision or deployment of the airbags, Safety Connect will notify the Response Center to contact the driver.  If the driver is unable to respond, the operator will treat the call as an emergency and deploy local emergency services as needed.

    Stolen Vehicle Locator
    : If a vehicle equipped with the system is stolen, Safety Connect can be an invaluable tool for local law enforcement to recover the vehicle.  After filing a police report for the theft of the vehicle, the owner can activate the service with the Safety Connect response center.  GPS transmitters are then used to determine the location of the car.

    Emergency Assistance On Demand
    : In the event of any emergency, a driver can contact Safety Connect’s response center at the touch of a button. An operator will speak with the driver, assess the situation, and take any action that is necessary to resolve the emergency, such as contacting local emergency crews and other roadside assistance.

    Safety Connect will be available on all 2010 Prius vehicles manufactured after August 1st.

    On-Demand emergency assistance systems are a growing market.  Is your fleet equipped to handle anything?

    Photo courtesy of King Chung Huang under the Creative Commons License.
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  • The 2010 Ford Taurus has earned the top spot as the latest “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Several Ford vehicles have been named as previous picks this year, including the Focus, Fusion, and F-150 pickup.

    In order to qualify as a Top Safety Pick, vehicles must earn high ratings in three separate tests administered by the Institute.  In addition, winners must now also offer electronic stability control, which comes standard on the 2010 Taurus.

    Institute President Adrian Lund was quoted as saying that “recognizing vehicles at the head of the class for safety helps consumers distinguish the best overall choices without having to sort through multiple test results.”

    The Institute states that the criteria required to win the coveted spot are so demanding because the award is intended to drive the development of new safety technologies.

    How does your fleet rank in terms of safety?

    Photo courtesy of resedabear under the Creative Commons License.
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