September 9, 2015

Making the Most of Your Fleet Budget: Alternative Fuel Vehicles & Other Savings

It’s budget time. Fleet managers are focused on their fleets and identifying savings to optimize operations for 2016 and beyond.
Here are some tips to facilitate the budgeting process and uncover opportunities to contain costs:

Leverage Volume & Vehicle Service

Fleet managers may be able to negotiate rebates from their vehicle maintenance providers based on volume. By developing a list of maintenance services each vehicle will need during its service life, fleet managers can ask their fleet management company to forecast prices for vehicle services in the next year and negotiate pricing based on the number of fleet vehicles.

Implement Condition Reports

Fleets requiring drivers to complete regularly scheduled vehicle condition reports that are reviewed by the drivers’ managers will stay on top of needed repairs and avoid larger issues down the road.

Examples of preventive measures include:
  • Dents and scratches that damage finishes will eventually rust and cost far more to repair unless addressed quickly.
  • Tires with slow leaks are easier to repair rather than replacing the tire when it fails.
  • Windshield glass “star” breaks can be safely repaired, avoiding replacement of the entire windshield.

Examine Fuel Expenses

Fuel expense is the largest variable cost for fleets. Fleet managers should consider reviewing expense reports and credit card receipts more closely to find lost dollars.

  • Compare tank capacity and transaction amounts. If transactions regularly exceed tank capacity, fraud expenses may be involved. Drivers cannot put 30 gallons in a 26 gallon fuel tank.
  • Paying inside rather than at the pump and non-fuel purchases should be scrutinized. Drivers who fill-up at convenience stores may include additional expenses on company credit cards.
  • While gasoline and diesel prices have gone down over the past six months, the price of oil may increase again. Even in a low-cost fuel market, fleet managers should continue to look for ways to save fuel to manage their overall budget.

Consider Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Investing in alternative fuel vehicles should be a priority consideration for fleet managers during the budgeting process. In addition to the obvious benefit of managing fuel costs, alternative fuel fleet vehicles support an organization’s overall sustainability goals.

As the largest Qualified Vehicle Modifier developer and installer in Ford’s QVM program, Westport has a full-line of alternative fuel vehicle options for fleets. Beginning MY2016, Westport is the first to introduce Ford F-150 trucks with dedicated LPG package, as well as a dedicated and bi-fuel CNG.

Assess Vehicle Total Cost of Ownership

Fleet managers should keep top of mind the total cost of ownership of their fleet vehicles.

“A less expensive upfront price may mean more downtime and service issues for a fleet,” said Paul Shaffer, vice president and managing director of Westport’s Dallas operations. “But more importantly, cost-of-ownership is simple math, the acquisition costs minus disposal. If you have some unknown brand that only the local shops can fix, the vehicle value at disposal is going to be a lot less than a globally recognized brand with nationwide service points.”

“As the manufacturer of record, the Westport Ford F- 150 – versus a local, generic CNG Ford F-150 – has greater trade-in value. We’ve been asked by gas company executives and CNG station providers to let them know when our customers are ready to take their Ford F-150s with CNG out of service because they want to buy them. That’s a vehicle that holds its value!”

Visit to learn more about the new 2016 Ford F-150. Contact us at 855-978-9464 or for more information specific to your fleet.

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