I had a pretty moving experience last week, and it has led me to think about a lot of things in life.
As I have been thinking about these things, I realized how similar fuel management and maybe any profession are close to your life.
During life most of us, like me, sort of take every day for granted. If we are grumpy we are grumpy. If we are happy, then we are happy. We really don't realize how lucky most of us are with the lives that we have. With fleet fuel purchasing, most companies take for granted that they are getting the price that was quoted to them; the taxes are correct, and there are no extra service fees. In fuel management, what most people don't realize is how much real effort it takes to run a really good fleet fueling program.
My brother-in-law had that type B personality; if you were comparing it to a commodity, it would be silver. Easy going, happy-go-lucky, his range of trading didn't change much over time. Most outside things didn't change how he performed. I, on the other hand, am much like the job that I perform everyday -- fuel management. Type A plus, even when I am at the beach. Everything affects fuel prices and pretty much in my life, everything affects me. The only place I can sit still is on an airplane, and it's only because they have me seat belted in and I am worried if I get up they might think I am a terrorist.
As I write this article, crude oil prices are over $76 a barrel. On April 6, they had an 18-month peak at $86.54 and by May 21, they hit an eight-month low at $68.03. Who would have seen that coming? Even the best out there did not predict that this would happen. Now, crude oil looks ripe to take back off to the mid-$80s or maybe $90s. That fuel, with its crazy type A personality, lets our economy, China's economy, jobs reports, housing reports, Sheik's bank accounts, weather, you name it, have it whenever it has a chance.
Silver, in the last year, has moved a little. It went down a few dollars and back up a few dollars. It's a lovable, fun, type B personality.
Take 45 days in most of our lives -- they all seem the same. Can you take a snapshot and think of the best 45 days you ever had? You probably had some good days that you remember but nothing outstanding. With diesel fuel prices, crazy things can happen in 45 days. My beloved brother-in-law found out he had cancer and was dead 45 days later. He was way too young and too good of a person. So when you think your day is lousy, it's probably not; I can't imagine how Jeff felt. If you think fuel management is easy with its type A personality, it's not. Get working on it today and save your company some money.
Jeff, I will miss you, and we love you.
Glen Sokolis is president of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, www.FuelManagementSokolisGroup.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or (267) 482-6160.
Previous installments of "Friday Fuel:"
* "Successful Fuel Management Program Equals Discipline", 9-11-09
* "Who's Watching Your Fuel Program," 9-18-09
* "Fleet Fuel Margins: Are You Paying Too Much?" 9-25-09
* "How Do You Audit Your Fleet Fuel Invoices?" 10-2-09
* "Fleet Fuel Price Negotiating: Details, Details", 10-9-09
* "Mobile On-Site Fueling", 10-16-09
* "The Bees Are Still Buzzing: Handling Fuel on a Daily Basis", 10-23-09
* "Fleet Fuel Card Shopping", 10-30-09
* "Is Your Fuel Management Ready for Winter?", 11-6-09
* "Don't Let the Weather Freeze Your Deliveries", 11-13-09
* "Fuel Management or Fuel Inventory? That is the Question", 11-20-09
* "Put Your Fleet Fueling Policy in Place For 2010, Part I", 12-4-09
* "Put Your Fleet Fueling Policy in Place For 2010, Part II", 12-11-09
* "Be Safe, Not Sorry With Fuel Management During the Holidays", 12-18-09
* "Looking Back: 2009 Fuel Management in Review", 12-23-2009
* "Oil's Ups and Downs", 1-8-2010
* "Why Oil Does What It Does When It Comes to Prices", 1-15-2010
* "Controlling Fuel Efficiency When Fuel Prices Are Unpredictable", 1-22-2010
* "The Motivation Behind Mobile Fleet Fueling", 1-29-2010
* "Fleet Fuel Prices: What are They Now?", 2-5-2010
* "Fuel Management Lost at Sea," 3-5-10
* "Spring is in the Air.....and There's Water in my Tank!", 3-19-10
* "Is Bio Fuel Dead for Your Fleet Fuel Program?", 4-2-10
* "Can Fleet Fuel Fraud Happen to You?", 4-16-10
* "Fuel Prices are Pumping Up!", 4-30-10
* "Et Tu Greece? Makes For Crazy Ride on the Fleet Fuel Express", 5-14-10
* "Take the Wild Card Out of Fuel Management", 5-28-10