Trucks in India, on an average, have a fuel economy of 1-6 kilometres per litre of fuel. The dispersion in the data of fuel economy of Indian trucks is primarily due to a number of factors, including road conditions, vehicle maintenance, cargo, and driving conditions. Fuel expenditures account for 40-60% of the overall operating costs for enterprises and transporters. Therefore, fleet fuel economy is of paramount importance for business, as even a little optimization in fuel efficiency may lead to a significant impact on the operating costs, especially for large truck fleet operators. In addition to more profits, optimized fuel utilization allows more flexibility in providing customer satisfaction.
Monitoring Fleet Fuel efficiency
The total fuel economy of a fleet is much larger than the sum of individual fuel economy of vehicles. The mileage of a truck, bus, or SUV, for example, can differ significantly from that of a sedan. A pickup truck and a passenger automobile are very different. The aerodynamics of each vehicle will also have a profound impact on its potential to consume less fuel. A new vehicle's combustion engine efficiency will differ from that of a well-travelled, earlier model. Although, the fuel economy of the vehicle engine is a good starting point for overall fleet fuel efficiency, there are several other factors to be considered.
1. Optimized Routes
Before a truck laden with products, route planning is critical. The goal of fleet managers is to determine the quickest and most efficient route for the vehicle to take. However, this may not always the greatest option, as the traffic and roadwork might compel rerouting. Moreover, most vehicles are not connected with GPS monitoring system that might cause trucks to take longer routes, resulting in low fleet fuel economy.
2. Vehicle overloading
Because of the growing transport expenses, businesses and transporters overload trucks in order to maximise vehicle utilisation. Trucks carrying more cargo than their Full-Truck Load capacity consume more fuel, have lower fuel efficiency, and are more prone to accidents.
3. Behaviour of Driver
The vehicle operator is another important aspect that influences fuel efficiency. Idling the engine, driving erratically, harsh acceleration, or braking can cause the truck to consume more fuel than usual. Due to a lack of a driver behaviour monitoring technology, however, these incidents frequently go unnoticed by fleet management until they result in vehicle breakdowns, accidents, or other unfavourable outcomes.
4. Maintenance of the vehicle
One of the most overlooked aspects affecting a vehicle's performance and fuel consumption is vehicle maintenance. Commercial trucks in India are subject to extreme wear and tear in transport business. As a result, the engine and other components, such as the tyre, wear down and the vehicle's performance suffers and results in higher fuel consumption.
5. Fuel Pilferage
Fuel pilferage is one of the most crucial challenges and concerns of transportation industry in India. When trucks are stationed at parking lots, they are vulnerable to fuel thefts. Furthermore, unintentional stops by drivers and siphoning fuel are a frequent issue that, if not handled, results in a drop in fleet fuel economy of vehicles.
Effective practises to enhance fleet fuel efficiency
The most prevalent factors and measurements for fleet fuel efficiency were reviewed in the preceding section. This section delves into each of the aforementioned factors and discusses how businesses may address the challenges to increase fleet fuel efficiency.
1. Implementation of fleet management system
Vehicles must be monitored for health and serviced systematically in order to ensure smooth operation. It becomes difficult to monitor each vehicle's maintenance status for large fleets, especially when the fleet size is in hundreds. Businesses can use a Fleet management system to schedule usage-based maintenance to reduce downtime, accessing vehicle diagnostics, and much more, lowering the chance of costly vehicle breakdowns and saving money. Trucks can also be integrated with Fuel Management Systems, allowing businesses to manage and track fuel consumption as well as discover performance issues early, resulting in improvement in company's fleet fuel economy.
2. Connecting fleet operations to smart route planning and GPS tracking device
Route planning software for transportation operations can drastically reduce travel time by determining the most efficient route for each trip. It also makes use of previously saved trip data to deliver insights that help fleet managers better plan routes. Furthermore, adding a GPS monitoring device to the mix can improve real-time navigation and rerouting, saving time and money. It also includes features such as live ETAs and vehicle monitoring, which can help organisations cut expenses and increase total fleet fuel economy by always planning and navigating through the most effective route.
3. Staying away from the practise of overloading
Truck overloading should be avoided at all costs. Overloading a truck or a trip is done to get the most out of it. It progressively degrades fleet fuel efficiency since it puts extra load on the engine, lowering the truck's mileage. Furthermore, overloading the vehicle increases its wear and tear, making it more prone to accidents and compromising its safety. It is also punishable under the country's traffic regulations!
4. Driver performance and training are being monitored.
Driving Behaviour & Safety analytics software may notify fleet managers to rash driving issues, track driver behaviour & performance, incentivize safe & efficient driving, and optimise driving instruction & coaching, among other things. As a result, more efficient and safe driving will lower the chance of accidents while also increasing fleet fuel economy.
5. A fuel management system that maximises fuel efficiency while also reducing fuel theft.
Businesses can link a Fuel Management System with their fleet to optimise fuel management and receive alerts in the event of rapid fuel consumption or higher than typical consumption. As a result, fleet managers are alerted to quick fuel drain in the event of gasoline theft, as well as early maintenance issues that result in higher-than-normal fuel consumption.
To summarise, firms must now integrate technology into their transportation operations in order to boost efficiency and transparency. Businesses and transporters can use this guidance to make systematic adjustments to their operations in order to improve fleet fuel economy and save operating costs. Even a small increase in fleet performance will have a negative impact on fleet fuel efficiency and enhance operations.
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