Goodbye Wasted Fuel

By Brian Frederick
September 8, 2017

Lower fuel costs – it's easier than you think

Motor fuel, and diesel in particular, is the lifeblood of any construction endeavor. Without fuel, there’s no equipment, and without equipment, well, good luck getting that two-ton I beam into place or digging a foundation with a shovel.

As such, it’s no surprise fuel is a major expense for any contractor. But even when oil prices are in decline fuel is still a significant factor — up to half of your operating budget in some cases.

That’s why it’s in your best interest to optimize your fuel costs. And that means explore ways to reduce usage or optimize usage. Let’s look at a few ways you can do that.

Manage your fuel supply

You’re not driving your excavator over to the local Shell station whenever its tank starts creeping towards “E” — and that presents a lot of opportunities to optimize usage and potentially save. Start by automating your fuel management, tank monitoring and unattended fuel-control systems. By getting real-time information on usage and cost, you can optimize management, refill your lot tanks at opportune moments and oversee your fueling process more efficiently.

Fuel supply management helps ensure you avoid the costly and disruptive mistake of running out at the wrong moment. You’ll also maximize refueling efficiencies and minimize mistakes that could lead to higher costs.

Minimize theft potential

When you have your own fuel tank, you’re always running the risk of theft, either from employees who see an opportunity to top off their own tanks on your dime, or from outside sources looking to make a quick buck the dishonest way.

Investing in security measures including jobsite cameras, locks and real-time fuel monitoring programs can provide big rewards for relatively small upfront costs. Suspicious activity will generate alerts to the site manager, letting you prevent theft or catch thieves in the act.

Maximize equipment usage

Most of the fuel you’re paying for isn’t lost to spillage or theft — it's actually used by your machines. Maximize how they burn fuel by tracking usage in real-time. At some jobsite machines idle for long periods — up to three or four hours a day. That’s a lot of money literally going up in smoke.

And it’s probably not just one machine, but nearly every one on the job. Encourage your employees to turn the engine off if it makes sense to do so. It won’t take long before you start seeing significant savings adding up.

Additionally, staying up to date on maintenance and routinely changing filters before they become dirty will ensure your equipment is using fuel at an optimal rate. Automate maintenance alerts or customize benchmarks with the help of a program like ES Track.

A driver scorecard, another feature offered by ES Track, can also yield fuel savings. More than any other factor, drivers have the biggest impact on a company’s fuel costs. By eliminating over-accelerating and minimizing sharp turns and hard breaking, drivers can significantly cut down on the amount of fuel they're using. Give them motivation to alter their bad fuel-burning behavior, and it will reap big rewards.

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