Home FleetWatch 2011 FuelWatch by Max Braun – May 2011

FuelWatch by Max Braun – May 2011

The May price of diesel at R9.64 a litre when annualised as a cost to operators will exceed R1.1-million a year for 7-axle vehicles covering more than 200 000 kmpa and 6-axle Reefers covering more than 180 000 kmpa

The February issue of FuelWatch noted the probable impact on the oil price in the event of significant geo-political events. The rapid escalation of protests and aggressive responses from beleagued North African and Arab governments let the genie out the bottle once again.

Most international financial analysts support the view that the oil price is not likely to rise much more above the US$125 level. This view is based on the notion that there is not much more the speculators can use to drive the oil price. However, the Gadaffi question in particular and all the others similar impacts in general, suggests we should wait until the fat lady sings before we can realistically expect the spike to subside.

The May price of diesel at R9.64 a litre when annualised as a cost to operators will exceed R1.1 million a year for 7-axle vehicles covering more than 200 000 kmpa and 6-axle Reefers covering more than 180 000 kmpa. While fully recognising the need to get transport operating costs under control by eliminating waste and duplication, this issue of FuelWatch continues to emphasise the need to improve transport productivity and efficiencies.

Wherever you look you will find the trucking industries in the US, UK and EU have focused their attention on ways to improve efficiencies by better vehicle replacement and selection policies and practices and by how vehicles are operated. Vehicle manufacturers confirm that local fleet managers and operators are paying more attention to their respective approaches to vehicle replacement. This augurs well for achieving better transport efficiencies.

Readers who agree with the writer would have been as delighted as I was when, during the Easter holidays, the Department of Mineral Resources announced the Cabinet’s decision to place a moratorium on drilling for shale and oil sands gas in the Karoo. The DMR explained there is a need to investigate the implications of fracturing – also known as fracking – on the environment, agriculture, people and animals in the area. The departments of Trade and Industry and Science and Technology have been seconded to the project and will be making inputs. We’ll definitely keep our eye on that one.

Also see the following FuelWatch articles in this issue:

Cleaner Fuels , a brief review of the DoE’s position paper on the proposed introduction of a Euro 5 “type’ fuel in 2013 and some of the issues around fuel security and emissions taxes that still need clarification.

Biofuels Update – a short review of the IEA’s technology roadmap on biofuels for transport recently launched in Washington. The ambitious plan for sustainable large scale production of biofuels could easily become a humungous wish list.

Out of the Spout , Some detail on BP Africa’s upgraded gantry at its Pretoria facilities and the recent discovery of shale rock gas in China

Natural Gas from Shale Rocks , Should Shell and other oil companies be given the green light to frack the Karoo? This contentious question has dominated the local oil scene for several weeks. A review of the US experience suggest caution is called for.

Choosing Vehicles for Optimal Efficiency – A lack of finance or knowledge often results in unbalanced specs being chosen. This is especially true when emerging markets invest in advanced technology. Mature markets, on the other hand, often over-spec for a variety of reasons such as technical, rational, emotional or lack of knowledge. An interesting study by the Scania Transportlabrotorium provides food for thought and some useful insight to improving transport efficiency

Tips , Fuel or Fuelishness, beware the untested fuel saving device or additive.

Trends , An update of the latest fuel price as it relates to operating and variable trucking costs

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