In last week's Friday Fuel, we talked about how to put your fleet fueling policy in place. Today, we have eight tips that will make your fuel management program more effective

1. Once your fleet fueling policy is in place, the next step is to communicate the new policy clearly to every driver in the fleet. Let them know that all fleet fuel purchases will be monitored and that all exceptions, especially repeated infractions, will need to be justified.

2. Set up the desired grade of fuel for each vehicle. Every time a fleet driver fills the tank with a premium or mid-grade fuel, the company wastes as much as 10 to 25 cents or more per gallon. This can add a lot of money to your fuel management program, so make sure you have controls in place and are watching.

3. Enforce limits at the time of purchase. The most effective way to enforce a fleet fueling policy is to set limits so that purchases outside the limits are not even allowed. For example, if you restrict transactions to two per day, the third transaction will be declined at the point of purchase.

4. Restrict non-fleet fuel products and services. Many fleet managers find it helpful to place restrictions on the kinds of products drivers may purchase. These things could be soda, coffee, car washes, etc. This helps to control costs, quality and consistency.

5. Control the location, days, and time of day for fuel purchases. Frequent fuel purchases made with the company's fleet fuel card outside of business hours are a sure red flag of possible fraud and abuse. Make sure your drivers purchase fleet fuel only during business hours, look for fuel purchases that exceed fuel tank capacity, and eliminate multiple purchases in a single day whenever possible.

6. Mandate one or more fuel brands to help control quality, consistency and the cost of fuel and services your drivers purchase. Take a close look at fueling stations in your area, and select those that offer the best quality for the best price. Those that offer bio fuels and bio diesel can also help lower your carbon footprint, which is becoming a large national topic.

7. Encourage fleet drivers to buy fuel at locations with pay-at-the-pump. Drivers will save time and get on the road faster by fueling at only pay-at-the-pump locations. It will also further reduce any chance of non-fleet fuel purchases inside the store.

8. Most importantly, you need to account for every fleet fuel card every day. Losses can be staggering if just one card falls into the wrong hands. A termination of an employee may occur, or a truck gets put out of service. Be certain to account for those cards. At a small company the loss could be small, but at a large company the loss could top six figures with the rogue use of just one card. These figures are not made up; we've seen it. Losses like this can not only be eye opening to fleet fuel managers but also devastating to a company's financial stability.

If you want to make 2010 a winner for your fleet management program, it is critical for every fuel manager to look at your fleet, identify the areas where you have the most problems and work through them. Having a fleet fueling policy at your company will ensure that your fuel management program is in good shape for the New Year.

Glen Sokolis is president of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, You can reach him at [email protected] 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