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5 Fleets Successfully Reduce Fuel Expense

Fleets are improving gas mileage by as much as 50 percent, decreasing operation costs by 30 percent, and positively impacting the environment by reducing fuel usage and expense.

April 2009, by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

Currently, fuel prices have leveled out; however, proactive fleet managers have been and will continue to look for ways to reduce fuel expenses. Several commercial fleets have switched to more fuel-efficient vehicles or right-sized existing units while others have looked to alternative fuels or driver training to keep fuel expenses out of the “red” at budget review.

Fleets Switch to More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Frito-Lay North America is adding more  than 1,200 fuel-efficient Sprinter vehicles to its nationwide fleet, helping the company improve miles per gallon, continue cutting energy costs, and reduce emissions. The new additions make up 10 percent of the Plano, Texas-based company’s fleet of vehicles that transport snack food products daily across the U.S.

The new Sprinter vehicles improve gas mileage to 17 mpg — more than 50 percent over current route trucks, according to Frito-Lay. The improved mpg and more efficient 3.0L diesel engines translate to a 28-percent reduction of CO2 emissions per vehicle.

“Lowering fuel consumption is one approach to reduce costs and our environmental impact, but in the future, new emerging technologies and advances in hybrids, fuel cells, and hydrogen might move us away from gasoline altogether,” said Mike O’Connell, director, fleet, Frito-Lay North America.

Owens Corning, a Toledo, Ohio-based supplier of building materials systems and glass fiber reinforcements, has begun systematically measuring and reducing fleet greenhouse gas emissions. To cut fuel consumption and operating costs, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions from North American sales fleet vehicles, the company joined the PHH GreenFleet program, developed by PHH Arval and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Through PHH GreenFleet, Owens Corning incorporated more efficient vehicles into its fleet. Early steps included eliminating the company’s least fuel-efficient vehicles, right-sizing trucks and SUVs, and incorporating more front-wheel drive and four-cylinder engine vehicles. Owens Corning expects to increase fleet average mpg by 18 percent, reduce greenhouse emissions by 15 percent, and trim projected operating costs by 8 percent. 

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