In the past few years, fuel usage has become an integral feature that our customers are not only interested in, but rely on. Fuel remains one of the largest expenses for fleets. For many companies, fuel is one of their top three priorities, and for some, it’s even the number one thing they track. This post discusses some strategies for increasing fuel efficiency and will review fuel tracking basics in MyGeotab.
Compare Trends for Bigger Fuel Wins
When targeting fuel usage, it pays to look at the bigger picture. Heather Carlton, Geotab Senior Account Manager, explains that looking at other factors such as aggressive driving, speeding, and idling in relation to fuel consumption is a worthwhile endeavor.
Reviewing trend reports can help track progress. Fleets should be asking: What’s our last three months fuel and idling trend? What’s our aggressive driving and miles driven trend? If idling, speeding, and mileage are being reduced, then fuel should be reduced as well. “Monitoring fuel usage is a good barometer of other programs that you have in place,” says Heather.
Heather advises that cross-referencing your different metrics can provide greater insight. Don’t keep your data in separate silos. “It’s a great idea to put all your reports side-by-side on the dashboard,” she advises.
By watching the trend line, fleets can also tell whether their programs are working or not working. If your fuel usage is staying flat or increasing, that is an indicator that it’s time to review and adjust the program.
Don’t Overlook Miles Driven
Another important factor to consider is miles driven. Is there a way within the organization to lowering the overall miles driven? Heather recommends evaluating if drivers are taking the most efficient routes and whether the fleet is dispatching the most efficient people for the call. The reason why Geotab’s fleet management solution is ideal for managing miles driven is that “the solution gives full visibility into mileage, the route taken, and drive time.”
Reducing miles driven can lead to more customer visits per day. “Helping businesses maximize their productivity, use that time on the road to make money instead of spending money — that’s what we want to achieve,” says Heather.
Read Heather’s post: Creating a Positive Culture for Fleets – Telematics Can Help
Tracking Fuel Usage in MyGeotab
Fuel consumption is one of the top areas to target if a company is looking for ways to cut costs. Money saved on fuel can be redirected to more valuable business areas, such as product development, operations, and human resources or training, as pointed out in Wall Street Journal on greening fleets.
The tools in MyGeotab can help fleets increase fuel efficiency and reduce fuel costs. Let’s review some fuel tracking basics.
How Geotab Calculates Fuel Usage
Fuel usage is calculated based on engine-reported fuel data, imported fuel card data, and the GPS-calculated distance traveled. The system calculates the fuel used during a trip for a vehicle by querying the Device Total Fuel Used metric from the engine. If available, the imported fuel transaction data will also be included in the calculation. The fuel economy is then reported as the amount of fuel used over the distance travelled with the given fuel (in mpg or L/100 km).
How does Geotab capture fuel data? Information is broadcast through the electronic control module (ECM) for some vehicles, while others require a request for data, depending on the protocol. In some cases, fuel must be calculated on our end using other diagnostics like mass air flow.
Engine protocol refers to the language “spoken” by the vehicle’s engine computer module. Protocol is dependent on the vehicle’s make, model, and/or year. The three main protocols used industry-wide which we support are J1708, J1939, OBD. In vehicles with different protocols, we look at each case by case and use our new debug data to identify how to capture the fuel data and correctly report it. The accuracy in which we record fuel varies between 0.001L to 0.5L, depending on the protocol and how the engine broadcasts this information. Depending on the vehicle, we are able to pull many different types of diagnostics like trip/idle fuel used, fuel level, water in fuel, etc.
Suggested Reading: 5 Ways to Chop Your Fuel Expenses Right Now
Fuel Usage Report
Pro and ProPlus users have access to some great features in the MyGeotab fleet management software, including the Fuel Usage and Fill-Ups Beta sections. With the engine data available, MyGeotab uses processing power to create additional information for customers for IFTA fuel tax reporting, risk assessment, and fuel usage reports.
The Fuel Usage report, found under the Engine & Maintenance section in MyGeotab, summarizes fuel economy, distance traveled, and monthly fuel usage. The report can be filtered by vehicle or time period. Find out how Geotab retrieves information on fuel usage from vehicles in this popular post: Dude Where’s My Fuel?
Fleets can use their telematics data to validate fuel transactions. A fill-up event is defined as anytime fuel is added to the vehicle. The report will show you a brief summary, including total fuel added and total cost, for the time period you select.
The Fill-Ups report can point you to unmatched fuel transactions that need further investigation. Telematics device fill-up data with imported fuel transactions. How do we match fuel card data? To match a fuel transaction to a device, there must be at least one matching reference field: VIN, Device Serial Number, License Plate, Device Description (name), or Comments.
Fuel transactions that cannot be matched to the telematics data are highlighted in yellow.
For a deeper dive, you can look at the fill-ups graph to see fuel added/used versus diagnostic fuel level.
Importing Fuel Card Data into MyGeotab
MyGeotab accommodates any fuel transaction data, as long as it is in .csv or .xls file format. Fuel card importing is not tied to any specific manufacturer. Fuel transactions can be imported into your MyGeotab database via the Fuel Transaction Import Add-In or by using the API. For more details on these procedures, please refer to the Geotab Product Guide.
Ongoing Developments in Fuel Usage Tracking
Geotab is continuously working on fuel data output to optimize accuracy and support for vehicles.
- Additional support for European models (Peugeot and Renault).
- Additional debug data to help support and develop calculations for non-petroleum vehicles when standard sources are not available (ethanol, diesel).
- Routine firmware updates that contain fuel bug fixes and improved fuel calculations.
- Constant monitoring of fuel data from the Geotab GO Device.
- Matching recorded fuel data with fuel consumption rates reported by the Environmental Protection Agency in order to proactively identify discrepancies.
- Continuous investigation of devices that fail to report fuel data so support can be added. Future requests are encouraged to help improve Geotab’s fuel support.
As Geotab leads the way in telematics we strive to support as many vehicles as we can for all types of engine data. As we continuously keep testing, our vehicle support will increase and the data will continue to become more accurate.