As fleets continue to deal with rising fuel costs, companies are increasingly implementing policies and programs to get a handle on the bottom line.

Measures integrated into fleets include right-sizing vehicles, buying more fuel-efficient models, reducing idling time, implementing fuel card programs, and adopting GPS systems to minimize fraud and improve driver efficiency.

Otis Gets a Handle on Fuel Costs Through Diesel Implementation

Otis Elevator Company recently implemented fuel management initiatives to mitigate the high cost of fuel.

“We’ve replaced about 25 percent of our high-mileage trucks with diesel vehicles, increasing mileage by 30 percent as compared to gasoline,” said Phil Schreiber, fleet manager, North America.

The fleet team was also able to keep the vehicles for four years versus two.

“Our formula suggested that our vehicles needed at least 25,000 business miles per year to even look at a diesel engine,” Schreiber said. This extended mileage limit is due to the high premium paid for diesel engines, which increases capitalization cost.

Eighty-two percent of the company’s 4,000 fleet vehicles are Fords (ranging from the four-door sedan up to 26,000-lb. GVW truck models). The remaining fleet makeup includes GM models (at 16 percent) and other assorted makes and models.

While greening its fleet is more difficult at Otis due to the dispersion of its vehicles throughout the country, cost-to-benefit ratios, and size of vehicles, the company is willing to monitor fuel availability infrastructure updates in the future.

ServiceMaster Reduces Fuel Costs and Environmental Impact

ServiceMaster currently serves 10.5 million U.S. residential and commercial customers through a network of more than 5,500 company-owned locations and franchised licenses. With more than 18,000 corporate-managed vehicles, the company must keep its fleet on the road serving customers, while effectively managing its bottom line.

The company has implemented several best practices to control costs. And its fleet team is currently pilot-testing a way to eliminate unnecessary engine idling with onboard electric power and an electronic shutoff system, as well as testing hybrid vehicle applications to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

Recently, the team, in conjunction with Wanner Engineering and the AutoTruck Group, redesigned two Terminix trucks and reduced the purchasing cost by more than 18 percent for the pest control truck and more than 60 percent for the termite truck.

“Reducing environmental impact is critical and strategic for any company and fleet, but in particular for residential customer services companies such as the ServiceMaster family of companies,” said Fleet Engineering Director Jim Steffen.

ServiceMaster has also realized substantial savings through rebates and various programs from its fuel management service provider, according to Tod Beers, director of energy.

ServiceMaster’s pickup, car, and trailer fleet records 2 million annual fuel transactions dispersed across 46 states. To limit purchase frequency, ServiceMaster’s salespeople are restricted to fuel purchases during their workweek.

“Before the fuel card program, our average salesperson burned 48-55 gallons of fuel per week; now they burn 30 gallons or less,” Beers said.


Xerox Exceeds Greenhouse Gas Goals Six Years Early

Xerox Corp. is a $16 billion document management technology and services company. While providing a broad portfolio of color and black-and-white document processing systems and related supplies, it also offers document management consulting and outsourcing services.

The company’s U.S. fleet of 4,900 vehicles helps transport salespeople and service technicians. The service fleet drives mostly passenger vans. In an effort to minimize transportation costs and the fleet’s environmental footprint, Xerox’s fleet management has implemented aggressive cost-saving and environmental programs.

Tony Rossi, Xerox’s manager of programs and operational support, meets with senior management twice annually to discuss global greenhouse gas (GHG) concerns. The company looks at key metrics, including fuel consumption, percentage of deployed fuel-efficient vehicles, and comparisons of actual versus planned initiative implementation.

A large part of Xerox’s financial and “green” success has been efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. The company has already exceeded its 2012 GHG emission reduction target and is increasing its goal by more than 100 percent.

With an 18-percent reduction in GHG emissions since 2002, Xerox topped its 10-percent reduction target and is now boosting its goal to a 25-percent decrease by 2012.

Not only did the conservation efforts help the environment, they also helped Xerox save money. Energy consumption during the period declined by 21 percent, driven in part by a 30-percent reduction in gasoline and diesel fuel consumption.

Xerox’s GHG reduction program saved the company $18 million in 2006.

Rossi has sought ways to cut fuel usage of the company’s U.S. fleet since 2002, including:

  • Finding the right vehicle for each driver.
  • Buying fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Tracking mileage.
  • Using GPS systems to send technicians to the closest client.
  • Increasing use of remote diagnostics.
  • Integrating more reliable products that require less service.
  • Educating drivers about maintaining vehicles, including tire pressure and oil change intervals.

“We have a company-wide effort that included driving fewer miles, sound energy management, new manufacturing technologies, and more efficient heating and cooling equipment,” Rossi said, adding these kinds of efforts are easy to implement and require little up-front investment,  resulting in long-term savings.

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Cheryl Knight

Cheryl Knight


Cheryl Knight has more than 20 years of editing and writing experience on topics ranging from advanced technology, to automotive fleet management, to business management.

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