Properly tracking fuel economy degradation can help determine when the time is right to retire a vehicle.
In a Monitordaily article this week, Frank Bussone, AmeriQuest’s Director of Fleet Planning Services and CTP, wrote about the importance of properly measuring the fuel economy of the trucks in your fleet. However, since different methods of measuring can lead to different results, it’s essential that you make an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Be aware of seasonality, weather, road conditions, and other variables that can affect fuel economy, truck to truck. If you’re analyzing fuel results for one truck in the winter, make sure you do the same for the other trucks in your fleet.
Bussone notes that there are three primary sources for gathering and analyzing data: one is through the engine’s electronic control module (ECM); one is through a third-party onboard computer (OBC); and the final is through using a simple, time-tested mathematical formula. The first two measurements do have some issues. When looking at the ECM and the OBC, he warns, be aware that different OEMs and third-party providers use different algorithms to make their computations. This can definitely skew the results one way or the other.
Since fuel can represent up to 70 percent of the cost of operating a truck, it is absolutely vital that the right numbers are used. That’s why you want to know when any of your vehicles start to exhibit fuel degradation and may need to be retired and replaced.