The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

How Fleets Tackle Rising Fuel Costs

April 2008, by Cindy Brauer - Also by this author



It hardly needs stating — volatile and record-breaking fuel prices pose fleet managers’ biggest challenge. In fact, the cost of fuel is closing in on depreciation as fleet’s greatest expense. Fleets are tackling the fuel cost situation in several ways. The most successful have found that no single tactic is the solution, but a multipronged strategy produces the best results. Such a strategy can include: 

  • Refined selector choices.
  • Technologies.
  • Fuel management programs.
  • Driver behavior modifications.
  • Alternative-fueled or hybrid vehicles.

From surveys of fleets and their fuel management practices, Automotive Fleet compiled the following review of proven approaches in reducing — or at least holding the line — on ever-rising fuel prices.



Vehicle Selectors Refined to More Closely Fit Application

Increasingly, fleets are examining vehicle selectors to more closely match vehicle applications to the most fuel-efficient models available.

A company-wide green initiative led to a planned total replacement of fleet vehicles at Infinity Insurance. Fleet team members Judith Jones, Chuck Kukal, and Beverly Williams conducted a fleet evaluation that pinpointed a selector change from Infinity’s predominately Jeep Liberty fleet to a more environmentally friendly and more fuel-efficient model. The company began replacing the Liberty with the Jeep Compass 2WD compact SUV. The Compass is also a four-cylinder and requires only unleaded fuel, Kukal noted.

“By switching to the Jeep Compass, Infinity has experienced an average increase to 22.9 mpg,” said Kukal.  “Even though our fleet has increased in size, we reduced our total greenhouse gas emissions from 11.9 per vehicle with the Liberty to 9.2 with the Compass.”

Henkel Corp. made changes to its 2008 buy to include new models that provide improved fuel economy, according to Vinnie Fugaro, purchasing agent for Henkel Corp. in Rocky Hill, Conn.

Twelve years ago, the Princeton, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb replaced the SUVs in its U.S. fleet with all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy sedans. To be approved for the vehicle, drivers are told that they must confirm the Subaru fits within their territory requirements for carrying samples.

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