Managing a fleet involves many challenges. One of the biggest is finding ways to optimize fuel economy. Fortunately, fleet cards give fleet managers what they need to reduce fuel consumption: real-time data. With up-to-date information, businesses can find inefficiencies in spending, plan better routes, improve driver behavior and better maintain vehicles, all of which lead to less money spent on fuel.

Before we explore how fleet card data can be used to enhance fuel efficiency, let’s look at the function of fleet cards and the data they collect.

What are Fleet Cards, and What is Fleet Card Data?

Fleet cards are a specialized payment method for fuel- and fleet-related costs like parts, services and maintenance. They are a preferred form of payment for many fleet managers because they also serve as a convenient way to monitor fuel expenses. Unlike standard credit cards, fleet fuel cards have advanced reporting tools and controls that can help manage costs.

Every transaction made with a fleet card is recorded in real time. This data includes details such as:

  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Volume
  • Fuel type
  • Fuel grade
  • Cost

With this data, fleet managers have valuable insight into the fuel consumption patterns of their fleet. With real-time info, businesses can make data-driven decisions.

Leveraging Fleet Card Data for Better Fuel Economy

Purchasing data is only valuable if you put it to work. With a fleet card, all your information is readily available in an easy-to-use dashboard. Specifically, with our Shell Fleet Plus or Shell Fleet Navigator card, you can easily find quality fuel at our 13,000 locations nationwide. Here are five ways fleet card data can help increase the fuel economy of your fleet.

1. Identify Fuel Inefficiencies

Fleet card data helps identify fuel inefficiencies. Fleet managers can analyze the data to pinpoint vehicles or drivers with excessive fuel consumption. Real-time information makes it easy to track fuel economy. Once a trend of increased fuel consumption is recognized, you can investigate potential causes such as:

  • A vehicle needing maintenance (oil change, new fuel pump, new filters, a tune-up, etc.).
  • A car, truck or van at the end of its life that needs to be replaced.
  • Poor driving habits.
  • Fuel theft.

Once identified, fleet managers can take action to address the cause. This can easily be done using either our Shell Fleet Plus or Shell Fleet Navigator card by using our super easy to use Driver Dash app.

2. Monitor and Reduce Unauthorized Spending

For some fleet managers, unauthorized spending can be problematic. Even if unauthorized purchases are not an issue, fleet cards are a great tool for monitoring spending and helping drivers stick to fuel spending policies. Here are a few ways using a fleet card helps reduce fuel consumption.

Set Limits

Fleet managers can set specific parameters for card usage. These limits include:

  • Maximum dollar amount per transaction.
  • Maximum number of gallons per transaction.
  • Number of transactions over a specified period.
  • Set days or times of day a card can be used.
  • Fuel type or grade (gas vs. diesel, regular vs. premium).

Track Fuel Spending

With real-time purchase data, fleet managers can quickly review fuel transactions, helping to identify unusual spending patterns or unauthorized purchases.

Historical Data Analysis

Real-time data is beneficial in the immediate identification of trends or concerning transactions. However, since all data is recorded in a fleet card dashboard, fleet managers can also analyze comprehensive, historical data. Looking at trends for vehicles or drivers over weeks, months or more can reveal subtle shifts in fuel consumption. For example, this information could be used to determine if specific routes or times of day cause more fuel to be consumed.

3. Route Optimization

Route planning is critical for running an efficient fleet. Extra miles, idle time and hours on the road all directly impact fuel consumption. Using fleet card data, fleet managers can compare different routes to help identify the most fuel-efficient path to a given location. Combine this with known fueling locations, and fleet managers can create routes that avoid unnecessary detours. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a data analyst to optimize your route planning, since with Shell Fleet Plus or Shell Fleet Navigator you can use the data from our platform Clearview that will automatically analyze your data and make cost saving recommendations.

Additionally, fleet card data can be used with telematics with GPS to monitor real-time traffic conditions and weather. This integration helps fleet managers reroute vehicles to avoid unforeseen changes in traffic conditions.

4. Monitor Driver Behavior

Driver behavior heavily influences fleet fuel economy. Aggressive driving, excessive idling and speeding all lead to an immediate increase in fuel consumption, not to mention the wear and tear on vehicles, leading to reduced fuel economy in the future.

Educating drivers on driving expectations helps improve overall fleet fuel economy. With fleet card data, you can quickly and accurately track a driver’s fuel economy. Some fleet managers provide feedback based on fleet card data to raise awareness and encourage more fuel-efficient driving habits.

5. Maintenance Scheduling

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure vehicles operate optimally and consume fuel efficiently. Fleet card data can aid in scheduling and tracking maintenance tasks. With this information, fleet managers always know a vehicle’s mileage and the time it has been in use.

Keeping close tabs on mileage and usage makes it easy to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for each vehicle. You can even set alerts within a fleet card dashboard for when a vehicle needs to be serviced. Regularly serviced cars and trucks tend to perform better and consume less fuel.

A fleet card can also help with preventive or proactive maintenance. By monitoring the fuel efficiency of vehicles over time, fleet managers can detect changes in consumption patterns that may indicate maintenance issues.

A fleet card can also help with preventive or proactive maintenance.

A Multi-Purpose Payment Tool

Fleet card data is a valuable resource that can help improve fuel economy for fleet vehicles. Leveraging this data helps identify fuel inefficiencies, track spending, optimize routes, monitor driving behavior and implement preventive maintenance measures.

Simply put, a fleet card is a powerful payment tool that can help fleets use less fuel.

To learn more or find the right fleet card for your fleet, visit businessfleetsolutions.com.