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How To Easily Calculate Fuel Consumption In Your Fleet

When it comes to fuel, every cent counts. With so many factors that guzzle your vehicle’s fuel, are you able to accurately keep track of your fleet’s fuel consumption?

Calculating fuel and successfully managing fuel consumption is vital for any business that relies on their vehicles to perform tasks, and when done correctly, results in massive cost savings.

So, how do you do it - let’s find out. 

In this article, you will:

  • Learn what fleet fuel consumption is
  • Find out what factors influence fuel consumption
  • Understand how to conveniently calculate your fleet’s fuel consumption
  • Discover the perfect solution to improve your fleet’s fuel consumption

What is fleet fuel consumption?

Fleet fuel consumption refers to the total amount of fuel used by a vehicle over a specific period. It is a measurement of a fleet’s fuel efficiency, which is typically expressed as the amount of fuel used per distance travelled. This is an important fleet metric for fleet managers because it directly impacts operating costs and fuel efficiency.

What factors influence fleet fuel consumption?

Fuel consumption isn’t just influenced by the distance you drive. There is a list of contributing factors that we fall victim to daily without even realising. Some of these factors include:

Vehicle Condition:

A well-maintained vehicle not only functions at its peak but also consumes less fuel. Vehicle condition factors that impact fuel consumption include:

  • Underinflated tyres: This causes an increase in rolling resistance, which means more fuel is required to maintain speed increasing consumption.
  • Inadequate fluid levels: Inadequate engine oil, transmission fluid, and coolant fluids place a strain on the engine and reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Faulty fuel system: Issues with fuel injectors, filters, or pumps lead to inefficient combustion, which also increases fuel usage.

Driver Behaviour:

Driver behaviour doesn’t just impact driver safety, it can also increase the amount of fuel your vehicle is consuming. Some driver behaviour factors that impact fuel consumption include:

  • Aggressive driving: Behaviours such as rapid acceleration or harsh breaking lead to an increase in fuel economy.
  • Excessive idling: When a vehicle remains stationary with the engine running, fuel continues to be consumed. This means more fuel is consumed, even when tasks aren’t being completed.
  • Incorrect gear changing: Constantly shifting between gears and selecting the incorrect ones puts a strain on the vehicle’s engine. This strain demands more power, which consequently leads to an increase in fuel consumption.

Road Conditions:

The condition of roads affects the energy that is required to move a vehicle, playing an important role in fuel efficiency. Road conditions that impact fuel consumption include:

  • Road surface conditions: While smoother road surfaces lead to a decrease in rolling resistance, rough and uneven roads increase rolling resistance. This means more fuel is required to keep the vehicle moving, which increases fuel consumption.
  • Elevation changes: Ascending inclines require more power which means more fuel will be used.
  • Poorly maintained roads: Unsurfaced roads and roads with potholes can decrease fuel efficiency due to increased vehicle vibrations and the energy needed to travel these roads.

Weather:

Adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, or strong winds lead to increased resistance. More fuel is required to maintain speed and control, leading to an increase in your fleet's fuel economy.

How to accurately calculate your fuel consumption?

This formula is widely recognised as the standard formula to calculate  fuel consumption. It enables you to assess how efficiently your vehicle uses fuel.

Fuel Consumption (Litres/100 km) = (Litres Used X 100) ÷ Kilometers Traveled

Example:
A vehicle consumes 32 litres of fuel to travel a distance of 250 kilometres. To calculate its fuel consumption in L/100 km:

(32 X 100) ÷ 250 = 12.8 Litres/100 km

This means that the vehicle’s fuel consumption rate is 12.8 Litres/100 km, indicating that it consumes 12.8 litres of fuel to cover a distance of 100km. 

While you can manually calculate your fuel consumption costs with the above formula, Cartrack makes this process even simpler for you with an easy-to-use calculator that helps you estimate the amount of fuel a vehicle consumes at specified distances.

Try it out below and see just how simple it is: 

Fuel Consumption Calculator

This calculator helps you do estimated calculations with ease, but to accurately monitor your fleet fuel consumption down to the cent, you need to make use of a fuel management system. A fuel management system measures the fuel usage of a vehicle. In the context of a fleet, it helps you obtain detailed insights into your entire fleet’s fuel consumption and automates the entire process through real-time tracking.

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The importance of a fuel management system

The data obtained from a fuel management system plays an important role in your fleet's operation, helping you:

  • Prevent fuel theft: By helping you identify possible fuel theft (from syphoning and fuel card theft to false transactions and fuel card cloning), a fuel management system can immediately and automatically detect unauthorised fuel consumption within your fleet.
  • Put a stop to cost-draining driver behaviour: A fuel management system can quickly detect fuel-wasting driver behaviour, such as speeding and harsh braking.
  • Optimise your fleet efficiency: By helping you identify fuel-wasting behaviours and improve planning and optimisation, a fuel management system helps you implement strategies that enhance overall fleet efficiency.
  • Gain maintenance insights: A fuel monitoring system provides insight into the health of your vehicles. Increased fuel consumption levels can indicate potential maintenance issues, and identifying these issues early helps prevent costly breakdowns and reduce unnecessary downtime.
  • Calculate fuel consumption: A fuel monitoring system can measure your fuel usage by making use of GPS technology and telematics systems.
  • Track your fleet's carbon emission: By accurately measuring the amount of fuel your vehicles burn, a fuel management system simplifies calculating your fleet’s CO2 emissions. This is important knowledge, especially in an industry that accounts for 37% of all CO2 emissions globally.

Why it’s important to calculate fuel consumption

  • Control costs and efficiency: Calculating fuel usage helps you accurately estimate fuel costs. By understanding exactly how much fuel your vehicle consumes, you can budget effectively and identify cost-saving opportunities. Also, the improvement in fuel efficiency translates to lower operational expenses, which contributes to overall fleet success.
  • Performance and driver monitoring: By consistently tracking fuel consumption, you can immediately spot sudden changes. Sudden fluctuations in fuel consumption rates can indicate potential issues, whether it be poor driver behaviour, declining engine health, or tyre pressure issues.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Knowing exactly how much fuel your fleet vehicles are consuming is a valuable insight for informed decision-making. This information can help identify the most fuel-efficient vehicles, routes, and driver practices.

Monitor and Improve Your Fleet’s Fuel Consumption With Cartrack

Harness the power of our industry-leading solutions to simplify monitoring your fleet’s fuel consumption and keep fuel consumption at a minimum. Cartrack’s world-class solutions help you:

  • Improve driver behaviour: Make use of our driver scorecards to monitor high-risk, fuel-wasting behaviour, such as harsh acceleration, braking, and speeding. By pinpointing these behaviours, you gain insights into exactly what areas require improvement to significantly lower your fleet’s fuel consumption.
  • Improve fuel efficiency with preventative maintenance: Cartrack proactively monitors vehicle health, helping you schedule maintenance tailored to your fleet’s schedule. This strategy minimises downtime and maximises vehicle performance. With this proactive approach, you can avoid unnecessary fuel consumption surges due to neglected maintenance issues.
  • Prevent fuel card fraud and theft: Cartrack’s AI algorithm automatically cross-references your fuel receipts with your vehicle's location and fuel status. The system automatically flags suspicious fuel cost activity which could be caused by factors like fuel theft, helping you identify any possible fuel cost drainages. By being equipped to spot these drainages early on, you can investigate, resolve and reduce fuel cost wastage.
  • Automate carbon emission tracking: Cartrack’s detailed reports give you insights on how much fuel was used during a trip, along with the estimated CO2 emissions, all easily accessible via our fleet platform. This information helps fleet managers pinpoint vehicles with the highest CO2 emissions, facilitate decisions on eco-friendly replacements, and determine appropriate vehicle usage, especially for longer journeys. Tracking carbon emissions over time, understanding how to improve them and understanding the number of trees required to offset emissions are all critical to ensuring a company can make real changes towards net zero.

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Fuel Your Fleet’s Efficiency with Cartrack World-class Software

Accurately calculating fuel consumption isn’t just about cost control; it’s a strategic move towards informed decision-making, improved performance monitoring, and data-driven improvements. 

Contact Cartack USA today and gain access to unparalleled fuel monitoring and fuel cost savings.

Optimize fleet fuel efficiency and reduce expenses. Learn how to calculate your fleet's fuel consumption and manage fuel costs effectively.