TORRANCE, CA ­­- With fuel costs continuing to hover near historic highs, fleets around the country have implemented numerous strategies to mitigate these increases. Among the techniques they have used are reducing engine size and implementing telematics systems.

Because the cost of telematics solutions has dropped, fleets have been more willing and able to adopt the technology, seeing a 10- to 15-percent decrease in fuel cost by significantly reducing the miles driven, more efficient route scheduling, reduced speeds, and using idle shut-off tools.

Engine downsizing, an industry-wide trend, has occurred since 2006 with the number of four-cylinder engines in fleets increasing every year. More fleets have eliminated minivans and SUVs - including them on the fleet's rolls only if they are needed as a work vehicle.

This is an example of the trend to right-size fleets - another fuel cost mitigation strategy - with the most appropriate vehicle for a job function.

This goes hand-in-glove with probably the best strategy to mitigate costs: looking at the fuel economy of vehicles being placed in service. This includes looking at alternative-fuel options beyond gasoline and diesel.

Finally, some fleets have focused on the human factor in fuel cost savings, implementing driver training. Together with telematics solutions, this has impacted the way many fleet drivers operate their vehicles. It has also provided fleets with the proper analytics and technology to best manage fuel expense.

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