April 14, 2022
Use This Technology to Save $300-$500K Annually in Fuel Costs
We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it: Fuel is one of the most significant expenses for today’s fleets. It accounts for around 60% of overall operating costs. And when you consider the volatility of fuel and the fact that it’s subject to significant price swings, it’s an expense you want to keep in check.
You can do that with smart engine software — an innovative technology that can lower fuel consumption by $300,000 to $500,000 annually per 1,000 vehicles. This post will explain everything you need to know about how to slash fuel costs.
What is Smart Engine Software?
There have been significant advancements in fleet management technology in recent years. These days there are advanced solutions that can make every aspect of fleet operations more efficient and enable you to customize your fleet to meet your unique goals. One of the most notable is smart engine software, which reduces a vehicle’s fuel consumption in two main ways.
First, it lowers the standard idle RPM, so a vehicle spends less time idling without negatively affecting its ventilation or heating performance. As you’re aware, excessive idling is a common issue for today’s fleets, with drivers spending far more time idling than they should. This is problematic from an environmental standpoint since excessive idling releases more harmful emissions; it can also be a significant financial drain.
Research has found that a gallon or more fuel is wasted with every hour idling. And given that idle time can represent as much as 40-50% of total running time for fleets, you can see how this can add up in a hurry.
But with smart engine software like VQ Efficiency, you can drastically lower your idle rate, resulting in far less fuel consumption. With it, your drivers will burn less fuel, making your fleet more efficient without driver modification. And as we’ll discuss later, this technology is simple to install in just 30 minutes.
The other primary way it reduces fuel consumption is by “greening” your fleet operations with an eco-adjustment. Recalibrating a vehicle’s engine uses less gas throughout the day, while also providing a smoother driving experience. This is the ultimate win-win because your fleet vehicles release less harmful gas into the atmosphere while at the same time cutting back on fuel consumption.
Most fleets use 6-10% less on fuel per month with smart engine software. And in most cases, they see a return on investment in month one. This makes it an efficient fleet management tool and something you don’t have to wait years to results.
How Does Smart Engine Software Work?
Implementing this technology is quicker and easier than you may think. First, it involves making basic adjustments to a vehicle’s automatic transmission parameters. Then, by using customizable software and the OBD-II port to switch up the vehicle’s computer settings, such as idle rate, shift points, and maximum speed, you can recalibrate the engine. This enables drivers to minimize fuel usage on their routes and increases fleet productivity. As we mentioned earlier, this process can be completed in a half an hour, and though it may sound complex, it’s a straightforward process.
Keep in mind that most modern fleet vehicles are mass-produced, so many fleets can drive them, and as a result, they don’t come with customizations. However, smart engine software like VQ Efficiency allows you to capitalize on customizable technology, so you can get the absolute most from your fleet vehicles and keep fuel costs to a minimum.
On top of that, using this software gives you access to detailed data reports on key metrics, such as fuel efficiency, idle performance, and speed. That way, you gain in-depth insights into how your fleet is doing, identify strengths and weaknesses, and pinpoint educational opportunities. If, for example, you notice that drivers are consistently exceeding their target max of idle time, you could focus on instructing them on how to reduce it. And if other drivers are continually exceeding expectations, you could reward them for reinforcing positive behavior.
You can learn more about how this technology works by downloading this free resource.
The Long-Term Impact
Using 6-10% less fuel per month per vehicle sounds beneficial. But it doesn’t necessarily illustrate the whole picture of the true budgetary impact. To gain a better understanding, it’s helpful to see how idling affects fuel costs annually and over five years. This chart shows that an average idle time of 40% adds up to $3,120 for a year and $15,600 for five years.
And that’s just for one vehicle. If you’re talking about dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of vehicles in an entire fleet, the costs can become astronomical. However, keeping idling at a minimum and greening fleet operations helps keep fuel consumption in check — something vital for larger fleets operating a high volume of vehicles. The results can be profound if you trim the average idle time back to a more acceptable rate.
Combine that with this technology’s ability to restrict maximum speeds (going over 50 mph increases fuel usage); it’s easy to see the budgetary impact it can have at scale.
A Real-Life Example
Look at highlights from a case study involving the nation’s fifth-largest commercial fleet. They’re a national telecommunications company that operates in over forty states and responds to thousands of service calls each day. Partnering with Derive VQ, they ran a pilot test on 150 cargo vans and bucket trucks against a control group of 300 similar vehicles.
Their specific goals were to:
- Lower the idle rate for vehicles
- Install a speed governor to prevent drivers from speeding
- Achieve better fuel efficiency by adjusting shift points
- Reduce overall fuel consumption
After installing Derive’s smart engine software and calibrating their vehicles, they saw dramatic results and increased their fuel efficiency by 9%. As a result, they used 2.7 million fewer gallons of fuel and saw a staggering total cost savings of $7.5 million. Besides that, it also helped solidify its reputation as an eco-friendly telecommunications company, which is a crucial factor in building brand equity.
Because of the tangible impact of this pilot test, they rolled out this technology fleet-wide on 18,000 vehicles. You can read the full case study for yourself here or more details.
Lower Fuel Consumption with Innovative New Technology
With fuel costs being a fleet’s second-largest expense behind only vehicle depreciation, we can’t stress enough the importance of making fuel management a top priority. There are numerous ways to go about this, but one of the most effective is leveraging innovative technology like smart engine software. Although quick and simple to install, the long-term impact can be quite immense, with most fleets using 6-10% less fuel each month.
So, if you’re looking for a proven way to lower your fuel consumption while also reducing emissions, this is one of the best ways to go about it.