Telematics and fuel economy

March 8, 2017

I was reading a recent report from Frost & Sullivan and came across some interesting statistics about telematics and fuel economy. According to the company, fleets using telematics devices can expect as much as a 25% decrease in fuel costs and a 30% reduction in idle time. Those are some pretty impressive numbers and they say a lot about how inefficiently many fleets are currently operating.

The use of telematics devices has grown and is expected to continue to grow in the future. That of course is good news because the data from these devices can help fleets operate more efficiently. But this will only happen if someone takes time to analyze the data coming from the telematics devices.

Given the amount of data that is available to fleets today it is easy to feel overwhelmed, so it is important to decide what factors are important to your fleet and focus on those.

Even with today’s lower fuel prices it’s a good idea to understand how much fuel you use.  No fleet is 100% efficient and there will always be some wasted fuel. However, before you can decrease fuel consumption you need to know where the waste is coming from.

Things like out of route miles, time spent sitting in traffic, miles drivers spend looking for parking spaces, and amount of time spent idling all contribute to wasted fuel.

Driver behavior too is a big contributor to wasting fuel. Telematics lets you see things like speeding, percentage of time idling, rapid acceleration and other activities that eat fuel.

Once you have the hard facts you can take proper action to optimize the routes your vehicles travel including rerouting them for traffic congestion and construction.  You can also start coaching drivers about how to drive for fuel economy and help them break their bad driving habits.

More and more trucks are being equipped with telematics devices why not use them to save fuel and control idle?

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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