With gas prices for consumers holding steady at less than $3.00 a gallon, the future looks bright—but not necessarily for the trucking industry. Diesel prices are climbing and with the overwhelming demand for trucking, the trend is likely to continue. Currently, fleet fuel is the second most significant cost for trucking companies, slightly behind driver salaries, and with the cost fluctuating, companies are advised to anticipate the increase and prepare for the impact.
The U.S. average retail price of diesel rose 2.8 cents to $3.076 a gallon, according to the Department of Energy, as crude prices inched higher. — Roger Gilroy, Transportation Topics
Speculation on the market and day-to-day volatility are generally considered the main drivers for gas prices, but they are only one aspect of the big picture having a direct impact on fleet fuel cost increases. According to the EIA (Energy Information Administration), about two-thirds of the cost of gas at the pump is determined by crude oil costs. An additional 11 factors also determine gas prices:
- Refining costs
- Oil supply disruption
- OPEC production
- Non-OPEC production
- Growth and demand in China
- Geographic location by state
- Exchange rates
All of the categories apply to the trucking industry and some will impact the actual cost of fleet fuel more than others. However, because trucking is based on transportation there are ways to leverage some of these factors to their benefit. Trucks are able to take advantage of fleet fuel prices depending on their current location or the location that they are traveling to. Truck drivers also have the benefit of the technology in their pocket. Several mobile apps developed specifically to help save money on fuel work to find the best prices by geographic location.
Top 5 apps developed to help optimize driving and save on fleet fuel
1. GasBuddy maps the nearest gas station and allows sorting by price or location, so that you can find the cheapest one near you. Using GPS and cellular triangulation technology, this app allows users to search by zip code or city. Simply put in your location, and you’ll be saving money in no time.
2. Not only will AAA TripTik help find the cheapest gas prices near you, this app offers trip planning, which means it will show you the route that will use the least amount of gas. This app can be used for short crosstown trips or long-haul deliveries.
3. Route4Me is the perfect app to use if you have to make a lot of stops and want to save gas in the process. By organizing your route sequence, this app shows you the shortest overall route, which will of course result in fewer dollars spent at the pump. It boasts that it can give you 25-35% better optimized directions.
4. iGasUp finds gas stations based on price or location. With 110,000 gas stations listed in its database, this app claims to be the world’s most accurate collection of gas stations and their data. It offers real-time prices because it accumulates data from recent credit card swipes. Simply type in your location to view results. In addition, if you’re planning ahead, simply punch in the zip code where you’re planning to be.
5. Waze helps you avoid gas-guzzling traffic jams. Using GPS navigation and real-time reports from other users, this app identifies and tracks auto accidents, traffic jams, and police speed traps. You’ll be able to save gas because you won’t get stuck in traffic and be forced to idle away your fuel.
Fleet Fuel Cards Offer Savings and Insights
Fleet Managers and drivers alike can take advantage of the benefits of a fleet fuel card. Fleet cards provide more than payment, and through a fleet factoring company like Fleet One, you can gain access to funding and other benefits by using a single card. The Fleet One Edge Card offers an average savings of 15¢ per gallon and no fuel transaction fees in the WEX EDGE Network. Additional features include more than saving:
Nationwide Fueling Network
- No need to drive miles out of your way to get to the right fuel location. The Fleet One EDGE card is accepted at more than 8,000 truck stops nationwide.
Discounts & Savings
1. Every dollar you save gives your fleet an edge. With the Fleet One EDGE card you get:
- Fuel discounts at more than 3,600 locations with an average savings of 15¢ per gallon
- Nationwide discounts on major tire brands—save an average of $40 per tire
- Thousands of additional savings on wireless plans, equipment, maintenance, parts, hotels, and much more
2. Fueling with the Fleet One EDGE card means no surprises. Spending controls put guardrails on purchasing to prevent misuse and fraud—and automatically give you valuable data and reports.
So even though fleet fuel prices are increasing, business is as well. With technology from companies like WEX and mobile apps to help on the road, trucking companies are better prepared to maximize time spent driving and utilize cost savings strategies through fleet cards and factoring.