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Cutting Expenses?

Look at your fleet's fuel consumption.

by Laura Zommere, Consultant, CFS

Fuel overconsumption is one of those issues that come up in vehicle fleet reviews every single time. We have yet to see a fleet with an optimal fuel consumption track record. As fuel makes up the largest part of operational expenses and about 20-30% of the total vehicle ownership costs (the only other higher expense being depreciation), fuel consumption tracking is a key to success in fleet expense management.

Fuel overconsumption can be a result of several reasons, some of which are unavoidable (such as harsh weather driving conditions or justified idling in traffic), while others are clearly actionable:

-          Poor driving habits;

-          Improper vehicle maintenance;

-          Unauthorized activity.


All of these can incur considerable costs to the company. For example, a fleet with 100 light duty vehicles, where the yearly ownership cost is about $8,000 per vehicle, a moderate fuel overconsumption of 20% can account for $40,000 of additional expenditures per year.

Most of these issues can be resolved, or at least their impact can be minimized, through several ways. Here are two strategies that can be implemented at no additional costs apart from a little bit of extra time and attention:

-          Firstly, comparing actual fuel consumption with a benchmark. This involves establishing optimal realistic fuel consumption benchmarks (EnerGuide can be an excellent starting point) and calculating the actual average fuel consumption from the available data for the past 4-6 months for each vehicle in the fleet. When both figures are cross-checked, the fuel overconsumption becomes apparent.  This method works particularly well when vehicles are assigned to specific drivers as well as when there are similar vehicles in the fleet.

-          Secondly, driver training can be an inexpensive and effective tool to educate and inform employees of measures that have been taken to normalize the fleet fuel consumption. By simply letting employees know that the vehicle utilization is monitored on a regular basis can greatly improve the situation. This, of course, must be supported by actions. It is also a great time to explain how each one of them can participate and contribute to the efforts of having a well-utilized fleet.


Often fleet managers see fuel consumption tracking as being too tedious of a task. However, by regularly observing fleets that have average fuel overconsumption of 20-40% (with particular vehicles overconsuming as much as 200%) we are convinced that the extra time spend on this task can be well worth it.

Enjoyed this article? You might also like our article about oil and gas price fluctuations in the global markets.

If you need some guidance and advice on where to begin a successful fuel tracking and how to establish a system that works for you, contact us

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