New independent research funded by Shell has found that fleet managers in South Africa believe greater adoption of fuel efficient driving behaviour holds the key to reducing the industry’s fuel consumption and subsequently, fuel-related costs and CO2 emissions in the short-term.
In May this year, Shell conducted a study to comprehensively look at the fuel management practices of 100 South African based fleet operators. The Shell Fuel Matters 2015 study found that close to 87 per cent of respondents think that improving their drivers’ fuel efficient motoring skills is the most effective way to reduce fuel consumption. Not only that, 80 percent think tackling the issue could cut fuel bills by at least 5 percent and 39 percent of fuel managers believe that efficient driving habits could result in savings of greater than 10 percent.
However, 60 percent of respondents say they feel constrained to capitalise on the opportunity due to a lack of driver buy-in. A further 25 percent say it is as a result of insufficient funds to hire, train and enhance driver knowledge in this area.
Sagar Sen, marketing manager, Fuel Card, Shell South Africa, says: “In a world of ever-tightening margins, fleet managers are faced with more pressure than ever before to cut spending and to start thinking of ways to save on costs. Fuel efficient driving can make a real difference to the profitability of a fleet business. This is why many operators feel frustrated that they don’t have the resources to implement fuel efficiency training and programmes.”
According to 46 percent of fleet managers, the key to improving fuel efficient driving behaviour is educating drivers on what constitutes good driving behaviour. Respondents also felt that incentivising drivers as a way of shifting their mindsets to adopt more fuel efficient driving habits would implement effective change. Additionally, 35 percent of South African fleet managers do not use products or services that can assist them in reducing fuel consumption.
According to Sen, the findings are symptomatic of a major shift in the job itself:
“Nowadays, the role of a fleet operator has become more important – and much more complex. Not only are they required to manage day-to-day fleet operations, they also have to understand emissions regulations, determine new fuel and vehicle solutions and find ways to minimise fuel consumption.
“Many managers are telling us they’re just not getting the support they need to deliver this. We hope that the advice and guidance we are providing to fleet managers through the Fuel Matters 2015 study can give them the evidence they need to enact change in operations and help them to achieve their goals.”
Footnote: The full report will be released by Shell next month and FleetWatch will access a copy for publishing.