Shell’s annual “Fuel Matters” study finds that most fleet managers believe they can reduce fuel spend by at least five percent

Shell’s annual “Fuel Matters” study finds that most fleet managers believe they can reduce fuel spend by at least five percent

Every year, Shell conducts a “Fuel Matters” research study, which is designed to provide insight into the state of fuel issues to inform fleet managers of ways to optimise operations.

This is the second time that Shell has conducted the Fuel Matters research, following the inaugural report in the United Kingdom in 2014. The research was conducted in May 2015 by Edelman Berland, an independent research firm, in partnership with Shell. Via an online survey, it obtained the views of 100 South African fleet managers, who were responsible for heavy and light goods vehicles.

In the study, Shell found that 80 percent of fleet managers think that more effective fuel management could reduce their fuel spend by five percent or more.

The fleet managers surveyed are aware that the fuel costs can account for more than 20 percent of operating costs for fleets. However, most agree that if fuel consumption is managed more effectively, fuel spend can be reduced significantly.

Fleet managers believe the best ways to better manage fuel usage include: better driver education, efficient route planning, load optimisation and regular maintenance of the vehicle and tyres.

Shell and its partners have found that a few small changes can have a large impact on efficient fuel management.

Driver education
As the driver is the first line of defence in fuel efficiency, it is important to invest in driver education, so that each driver has the tools and knowledge necessary to make the best decisions on the road.

Mandating and informing drivers about standards in fuel and lubricant selection can have a big impact on fuel consumption. Drivers should be informed about the benefits of economy products, and directed to use a recommended grade of fuel and lubricants for the best results on the road.

Additionally, educating drivers about on-the-road behaviour is an integral part of reducing fuel costs. Drivers should be encouraged to avoid harsh accelerating or braking where possible, to keep steering smooth and to avoid over-revving.

Finally, drivers should be helped to plan more efficient routes. Only half of the fleet managers surveyed used a route planning service or device. Communicate with your drivers and ask them to combine short trips and travel outside of peak hours to avoid traffic.

Explore additional services
Fuel management devices and operational fleet management devices are not widely used, but can have an immense impact on measuring fuel consumption and changing behaviour.

When fleet managers are armed with the hard evidence that fuel management devices and operational fleet management devices provide, they are better able to hold drivers accountable for their actions and prevent fraudulent activities.

Assigning responsibility
One of the biggest issues surrounding fuel management is that there is often no designated member of the supply chain who is held accountable for monitoring it and enforcing standards. Drivers look to fleet managers for guidance, while fleet managers often feel it is the driver’s responsibility to manage their own behaviour. Three out of four fleet managers agree that there should be a designated role to manage fuel consumption.

Shell’s “Fuel Matters” study found that fleet managers see the opportunity for improvement within their businesses and it takes only a few small changes to have a large impact on fuel savings.

Increased accountability, driver training and taking advantage of services and devices that monitor fuel usage are just a few simple tricks of the trade that can save a lot of money over time.

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