It's the beginning of football season, so let's talk about blocking and tackling your fuel management program. When you say "blocking and tackling," it sounds so hard.
It's like watching a football game with the big lineman down in the trenches.

It is hard. If you want to really save money on your fuel program, you have to work at it.

The first thing you need to do is have the proper fuel planning. How are we going to fuel? Where are we going to fuel? Who is going to do the fueling? What is our process for buying fleet fuel? When is our fuel buying and fuel management going to take place?

There's a list a mile long that goes along with those questions, and we'll cover them in the coming weeks and months with this new weekly fuel management report.

The most important thing to remember is a fuel management program is a basically a living, breathing animal. If you are setting your fuel planning and forgetting about it, you are losing money, every day. A solid fuel management program needs to be managed all of the time. Negotiations, fuel audits, supplier audits, tax reviews, and drivers following directions on where to fuel. What's the cost for fuel additives? How about DEF for 2010 engines?

A successful fuel management program is like a successful football coach. You have a fuel game plan, and every week that plan changes. Just as in football, your opponent changes. In the case of fuel, what is changing is the fuel environment; bulk fuel cost, over the road fuel cost, transaction providers, fleet fuel companies. Your routes change and therefore you must change.

Are you doing these things for your fuel management program today? Your company needs to be. Fuel planning is not going to get any easier as time goes on. What is your company going to do when prices go back up over $4 a gallon for diesel fuel? Through this column, we will help you get to a place that will provide you with some education to better buy your company's fleet fuel.

Glen Sokolis is president of the Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, He will be making a presentation on blocking and tackling your fuel program at the OPIS Fleet Fueling Conference later this month.