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 pastsix years has given all of us a sobering reality check on how quicklythe price of fuel can cause fleet budgets to hemorrhage, especially inthe past year.

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

Despite this obstacle, fleets are adopting compensatory strategiesto offset higher fuel costs. Each month, I am in contact with hundredsof fleet managers around the country and I ask them what they are doingto 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-cylinderengines. An increasing number of companies are changing their 2009specs to include a greater number of four-cylinder engines in theirselector mix. For instance, Illinois Tool Works has shifted tofour-cylinder engines. “We decided to change our vehicles from thetypical 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 withvarious four-cylinder models. “We have been given the flexibility tolook at whatever manufacturers make sense for our selectors,” said JoeNiszczak, fleet manager for Endo Pharmaceuticals in Chadds Ford, Penn.,“As a result, I am focusing on high-output four-cylinder models fromSubaru, Toyota, and General Motors to potentially replace the full-sizesedans we are using.”

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

Another company planning to expand its four-cylinder engine offeringis Regis Corp. “We are looking at four-cylinder vehicles for 2010 andwill 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-cylinderengines are Bausch & Lomb, Owens Corning, Kraft Foods, Johnson& Johnson, Merck, Abbott, Infinity Insurance, etc.

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