Fleet Management

Five W's for Fleet Fuel Buying

February 2011, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Commentary Glen Sokolis, Sokolis Group

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The Department of Energy released diesel fuel pricing data Monday showing diesel fuel prices rising for the 11th straight week, up 2.1 cents to $3.534. That's 77.8 cents higher than this same time last year.


Is there any good news in the fuel management world?

Well, some good news is that crude oil prices have come down over the past week. Things have settled a little bit in Egypt and it usually takes a solid week or two before diesel fuel prices catch up at retail locations as compared to the open market. In a nutshell, if nothing crazy happens, your diesel fuel prices should be going down to that $3.45 level soon. I know, it's not great, but it's still better than $3.534 this week.

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The key right now to most of your fuel management solutions is to get to the core of your fueling programs. If you feel your company's understanding might not be up to par, then it's time for a fuel analysis on the who, what, where, how and why of your fuel management.

Who? Who is the person in your fleet company's organization who really has his finger on this? Is it you? Is it the fleet manager? Fuel manager? (Maybe in title only.) Fleet fuel manager? Director? Or maybe, it's really no one at all.

What? What does your fleet fueling program look like? Do you have as many fleet cards or fuel card companies as you do locations? Are you using mobile fueling and not sure why? Or, do you think you should be using mobile fueling but don't know how to do it? Do you have a fuel saving plan as part of the program?

Where? Where do your trucks go to buy diesel fuel? Are you using truckstops, card locks. or do you have a mobile fueling company coming on location to fuel your trucks where they are parked? How do you know what fleet management approach is best for your fleet company's vehicles?

How? How are you going to improve your diesel fuel buying if you already believe you are buying well? How do you know that you really are buying well? Who told you that? How can you be certain? How do your fueling purchases compare against other fleet companies? How are you going to change your fuel management system? It's hard and even though it's a big expense item most companies usually push it to the back burner. How do your fuel cards or fleet cards work? How is the fuel auditing being done on all your fueling transactions?

Why? Why are diesel fuel additives so expensive? Why does your fleet credit card charge a fee? Why does your fuel inventory never match at the end of the month? Why don't you see fuel savings when your fleet management keeps putting new fuel management systems in place?

These are very important questions that most fleet managers or someone in your organization should really be looking at. Most of us have heard the expression that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This is diesel fuel buying we are talking about. It's not time to be dangerous, it's time to be smart. Increase your knowledge and get the answers to your questions. There is safe ground to stand on and you can improve your company's bottom line. Consult with a fleet fueling expert and start implementing a fuel management program you can count on.

The missing "W" here is "When." And the answer to that is, now.

Glen Sokolis is president of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, www.FuelManagementSokolisGroup.com. You can reach him at gsokolis@sokolisgroup.com or (267) 482-6160.


Recent installments of "Friday Fuel:"

* "Rising Fuel Prices Mean You Need A Fleet Fueling Policy", 1/28/2011

* "Are Fuel Prices Going To Break Your Budget?" 1/7/2011

* "Happy New Year, Diesel Fuel Prices!" 12/30/2010.

* "Why Diesel Fuel Prices Need Increased Taxes," 12/3/2010

* "Diesel Fuel Prices Going Up, Fuel Management Needed If You Want Fuel Savings">, 11/19/2010

* "Bad Fleet Fuel Auditing," 11/5/2010




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