The average cost of a gallon of gas exceeded $5 in 2022, hitting an all-time record. Prior to that, the highest-ever average recorded by AAA was $4.114 per gallon in July 2008. While gas prices declined in late summer, reports suggest they could increase again.

These prices are not only difficult for the average American filling up their tank each week, they’re also challenging for companies that manage fleets or reimburse employees for miles driven.

Those relying on fleet vehicles for delivery and transportation are getting hit from all angles – from the price of gas and insurance premiums to the cost of purchasing new and used cars. Even the price of tires has gone up.

While it may be impossible to completely avoid paying the high sticker price at the pump, there are strategies for businesses to help improve their drivers’ fuel efficiency. We explore a few of these gas-saving tips for company drivers below!

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8 Fuel-Efficient Driving Tips for Fleets

Maintain Good Tires

Tires are designed to withstand wear and increase your vehicle’s performance. But if they aren’t properly inflated, they can actually reduce fuel efficiency. The U.S Department of Energy notes that every decrease in pressure by one pound per square inch for four tires can decrease fuel economy by 0.2%. If you keep your tires properly inflated, you can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average, and in some cases up to 3%.

Be Strategic During Winter Months

Cold weather and winter driving conditions can reduce your fuel economy significantly – from decreased battery performance to increased engine and transmission friction. You may not be able to completely mitigate cold weather’s effect on your fuel economy, but you can do some simple things to help your gas mileage:

  • Minimize idling your car to warm it up. The engine will warm up faster while driven, allowing the heat to turn on sooner
  • Be selective about using seat warmers or defrosters
  • Use the type of oil recommended by your manufacturer for cold-weather driving

Combine Trips When Possible

Your fuel economy is worse when your engine is cold. Short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multipurpose trip covering the same distance. This is especially so during extreme winter weather, as it takes much longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature.

Trip planning can reduce the amount of time you drive with a cold engine. It’s important for fleet managers to keep this in mind as they plan and schedule their drivers’ routes. You should also share reminders with company drivers to ensure they are as strategic and efficient as possible when planning to leave the office.

Stay Calm

Avoiding road rage is surprisingly one of the best ways to increase fuel economy. Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking wastes more gas than you may realize. According to the U.S Department of Energy, road rage can lower your gas mileage by 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Not to mention the unsafe driving conditions that come along with road rage as well.

The American Automobile Association recorded over a seven-year period more than 200 murders and 12,000 injuries attributed to road rage, with the numbers continuing to rise. Even more alarming is that an average of 30 murders occur each year due to road rage. We recently explored the growing dangers of road rage and how to prevent them.

Slow Down

As vehicles hit speeds higher than 60 mph, gas mileage drops off a lot more than one may expect. “The aerodynamic drag created by a vehicle moving through the air increases exponentially,” says Jack Pokrzywa, manager of ground vehicle standards for SAE International. It takes more power to overcome this added resistance, forcing the engine to work harder and burn more fuel. So, while driving the speed limit protects the safety of the driver and those sharing the road, it’s also the most fuel-efficient option.

Avoid Rapid Acceleration and Hard Breaking

Obeying the speed limit, accelerating and braking gradually and reading the road ahead can improve the fuel economy of your vehicle by 15%–30% at highway speeds and 10%–40% in stop-and-go traffic.

Every time a driver uses their brakes, they waste their forward momentum. When drivers are mindful of how traffic is behaving up ahead, they have better visibility and more time to properly slow down. They can then conserve more fuel by taking their foot off the accelerator and coasting to slow down, instead of resorting to their brakes.

Using cruise control on the highway can also help drivers maintain a constant speed, as vehicles tend to use the most energy while accelerating.

If Possible, Skip the Premium Gas

If premium gas isn’t required, you can save 20 to 40 cents a gallon by switching to regular grade. Many vehicles have premium listed as “recommended,” which means it’s optional. In modern-day vehicles, advances in engine technology allow them to run on regular grade without issues or damage, even if the owner’s manual recommends premium gasoline. If it’s required, it’ll be indicated on the fuel filler door.

Train on MPG and Safety

If you can train drivers to establish safer habits, you’ll see both a reduction in crashes and an uptick in fuel economy. The University of Michigan found that 36% of fuel economy was tied to a driver’s behavior, proving that drivers with a better MPG have a lower crash risk. Even just a 1% MPG improvement would save the trucking industry $709 million.

According to a study of its own fleet of 12,000 truck drivers, a top-eight North American trucking company found a positive correlation between safety and MPG. A test group of this company’s drivers improved their MPG by 2.8% with a training focus on aggressive driving and fuel management.

When it comes to improving MPG and safety, you can train your drivers in a number of skills:

Space Management: emphasizes having enough cushion so that your driver isn’t slamming on the brakes all the time. The problem with tailgating from a fuel economy standpoint is that the truck has to reaccelerate, which eats up a lot of fuel.

Fuel Management: covers progressive shifting, driving on hills and other skills to maximize fuel economy.

Road Rage: teaches a driver about what causes road rage and how to handle these situations safely.

Defensive Driving: teaches drivers how to anticipate dangerous situations to minimize risk and avoid crashes, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others while operating a motor vehicle. These standard practices work hand in hand with improving fuel economy when it comes to driver speeds, routes, hard braking, acceleration and more.

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Beyond proactive training, fleet managers can also leverage technology, such as telematics, that gather data on driver and vehicle behavior. Access to this data allows companies to assess drivers’ decisions out on the road and intervene with targeted, remedial training as needed to improve MPG and mitigate future risk.

Implement Driver Training to Improve Fleet Fuel Efficiency

Implementing driver training is one of the best things you can do for your fleet when it comes to saving money, and – most importantly – saving lives. Defensive driving mitigates dangerous behaviors like hard braking and high speeds that increase fuel usage and decrease road safety.

Download our helpful checklist below to discover the seven fundamentals of defensive driving.