The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

60 Ways to Reduce Your Fuel Spend

September 2008, by Mike Antich - Also by this author

The cost of fuel is the No. 1 challenge facing fleet managers today. The breathtaking increase in gasoline and diesel prices over the past six years has given all of us a sobering reality check on how quickly the price of fuel can cause fleet budgets to hemorrhage, especially in the past year.

The new “fleet reality” is being defined by fuel. Ongoing high fuel costs are prompting fleets to establish minimum mpg requirements for vehicle inclusion on a selector list. However, the reality is that fleet applications restrict vehicle choices. Most fleets have limited options to change selectors and still get the right vehicle for the job.

Despite this obstacle, fleets are adopting compensatory strategies to offset higher fuel costs. Each month, I am in contact with hundreds of fleet managers around the country and I ask them what they are doing to reduce their fuel spend. During the course of these communications, I have collected 60 ways fleets are reducing their fuel spend.

Selector Modification

1. Spec Four-Cylinder Engines.

The No. 1 approach to reduce fuel spend is spec’ing four-cylinder engines. An increasing number of companies are changing their 2009 specs to include a greater number of four-cylinder engines in their selector mix. For instance, Illinois Tool Works has shifted to four-cylinder engines. “We decided to change our vehicles from the typical V-6 to smaller four-cylinder models,” said Keith Scolan, manager global fleet for Illinois Tool Works in Glenview, Ill.

Endo Pharmaceuticals is also expanding its selector options with various four-cylinder models. “We have been given the flexibility to look at whatever manufacturers make sense for our selectors,” said Joe Niszczak, fleet manager for Endo Pharmaceuticals in Chadds Ford, Penn., “As a result, I am focusing on high-output four-cylinder models from Subaru, Toyota, and General Motors to potentially replace the full-size sedans we are using.”

E.A. Sween Company switched to a four-cylinder Chrysler Sebring from a six-cylinder. “The fuel savings are important to us, along with the lower capital cost and higher resale expected,” said Gregg Hodgdon, CAFM, director of fleet operations for E.A. Sween Company in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Another company planning to expand its four-cylinder engine offering is Regis Corp. “We are looking at four-cylinder vehicles for 2010 and will be testing four-cylinder Fusions this fall,” said Nancy Barlage, fleet administrator for Regis Corp. in Minneapolis.

Other examples of companies shifting more vehicles to four-cylinder engines are Bausch & Lomb, Owens Corning, Kraft Foods, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Abbott, Infinity Insurance, etc.

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