&newsThere have been so many discussions on oil and fuel prices these last few weeks, especially with prices soaring up to $84 in early January to taking a dramatic hit back down to $80 only three days later.
So when you cannot control the price of fuel, what can you do to have better fuel efficiency in your fleet or own personal vehicle? Below are two main points to consider when fuel economy is on the table.

1. Let's start with the driver. Drivers control the vehicle, so it's no wonder they would have a great impact on the fuel efficiency of it. Be sure not to let an angered or disgruntled driver behind the wheel; if a driver is angry or mad, he may treat the truck with heavy shifting or improper shifting. Trucks handled the proper way will do the same with fuel; a rough road would waste fuel. Let's not forget speed; driving the speed limit (or under 65 mph) also reduces the vehicle's excess fuel usage. Drivers can also keep the windows rolled down when they are not driving along the highway, as the air conditioning will only use excessive fuel. However, for longer highway trips, the air conditioning is a better choice to the window because of the drag that can be caused by a rolled-down window. Finally, have the driver be sure that the truck and trailer are in proper alignment, not only for fuel efficiency but also safety.

2. What about the truck itself? Not modifying the truck's original manufacturing with 'add-ons' that are not necessary will keep wind from 'dragging' the truck and making it work harder. As strange as it sounds, a clean truck also runs better, at least aerodynamically that is. Keeping the truck free of dirt and grime, which weighs the vehicle down, will create a sleek exterior, while a nice wax will improve the effects the wind or down force has on the truck. Proper maintenance will also keep the truck in great shape for optimal performance, not only now but also later on. Scheduled oil and filter changes along with tire pressure checks are all part of maintaining the vehicles health. Also, be sure that there is some indispensible fuel theft prevention in place, like anti- siphoning devices or cap locks.

Basic fuel management can be done on the road with the driver, in the shop with the mechanics and in the office with fuel management. Keeping your trucks roaring and drivers up to date on required standards will make your efforts see great results.

Glen Sokolis is president of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, www.FuelManagementSokolisGroup.com. 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
"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