Basic Best Practices Remain Most Effective in Managing Fuel

Applying the principles of good, solid fuel management continues to be the most effective approach trimming fuel costs and consumption. These best practices include:

  • Right-sizing.
  • Fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Consistent scheduled maintenance.
  • Eco-Smart driver education.
  • Idling reduction.
  • Tracking fuel spend.
  • Efficient route planning.

Once basic best practices are implemented and consistently executed, innovations and creative solutions can further promote control of one of fleet's most expensive operational costs.

State of Colorado Builds Web-based Data Management System

State of Colorado fleet management created a culture that recognizes petroleum-use reductions as a top priority. Through an in-house, Web-based data management system, MyCARS (Colorado Automotive Reporting System), the State has achieved a petroleum reduction of 11.6-percent toward a goal of 25-percent overall reduction.

Progress toward the goal has been made through replacing units with hybrid vehicles, increasing use of alternative fuels, and promoting projects to trim vehicle miles traveled (VMT). With the current petroleum reduction of 300,000 gallons, the State cut its greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 6 million lbs., according to Art Hale, state fleet manager.

The State received petroleum reduction rebates totalling $379,716 in the first two quarters of 2010. Most state agencies invest these funds toward green fleet activities to further enhance petroleum reduction in 2010. The State of Colorado currently operates more than 1,200 flexible-fuel vehicles and 500 hybrid-electric vehicles in fleet service.

In FY2009, Colorado's state fleet team developed four petroleum-use reduction policies:

  • VMT reduction (eliminate 1 million VMTs in FY2009).
  • Anti-idling.
  • E-85 use.
  • Biodiesel use.

One VMT measure provided employees rapid transit district Eco-Passes for required travel to Denver International Airport, eliminating use of a state vehicle or mileage and parking reimbursement.

According to Hale, each state vehicle reported in a state analysis driven 10 fewer miles per week would cut nearly 2 million annual VMT, saving 115,000 gallons of fuel each year.

Fleet conducted a telematics pilot project to measure real-time fuel-consuming driver behaviors, including idle time, speeding, and erratic driving.

To facilitate state driver use of E-85, fleet purchased an E-85 fuel site near the capitol. In addition, two portable E-85 fuel trailers will be deployed this fiscal year.

State fleet management has coordinated the installation of 20 diesel oxidation catalysts, 20 in-cab heaters, and 20 engine heaters, primarily to reduce idling on the heavy-duty diesel applications and consume less than 1/10 of previous fuel amounts.

Ann Arbor Achieves Petroleum Reduction Goal 2 Years Early

The City of Ann Arbor, Mich., surpassed its goal of reducing the municipal fleet's gas and diesel use by 10 percent, far ahead of schedule, through its Green Fleets Program. The initiative was inspired by the national Green Fleets program (an initiative of U.S. Cities for Climate Protection).

Established in 2004, the initial goal of Ann Arbor's program was to reduce the municipal fleet's gas and diesel use by 10 percent before 2012 through the purchase of fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles.

Reaching its original goal in half the time, the City set a new target to use 30-percent renewable energy across all municipal operations by 2010.

Ann Arbor's 150-plus fleet uses a wide variety of clean alternative fuels, including E-85, compressed natural gas, and up to 50-percent blends of biodiesel. The City also operates electric vehicles and is field-testing a hybrid-electric lift truck.

The City of Ann Arbor green fleet efforts were featured on a video segment of MotorWeek, available for viewing online.

City of Fayetteville Relocates Prime Fueling Location

The City of Fayetteville, Ark., Fleet Operations built a new fuel facility approximately four miles closer to the operating base of the majority of fleet units.

The new facility "resulted in substantial reduction in vehicle mileage and operator man hours (often with multiple crew members), saving nearly $300,000 per year with mileage and man hours," according to Dennis Pratt, fleet operations superintendent for the City of Fayetteville.