Simple ways to increase fuel efficiency with MyGeotab
Learn the basics of fuel tracking in MyGeotab and discover strategies for increasing fuel efficiency.
For many companies, fuel is one of their top three priorities — it’s often the number one thing they track. In the past few years, fuel usage has become an integral feature that fleet managers are not only interested in, but also rely on. Fuel remains one of the largest expenses for fleets, with fuel accounting for 60% of total fleet operating costs.
Strategies for improving fuel efficiency
Having the right tools in your fleet's arsenal can go a long way to improving overall performance. To help your fleet run at its best, consider implementing the below strategies:
Compare trends for bigger fuel wins
When targeting fuel usage, it pays to look at the bigger picture. Fleets should be asking:
- What has been 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. In this way, reviewing trend reports can help track progress.
Heather Carlton, Associate Vice President, Reseller Sales, explains that looking at other factors such as aggressive driving, speeding and idling along with fuel consumption is a worthwhile effort.
“Monitoring fuel usage is a good barometer of other programs that you have in place,” says Carlton.
Cross-referencing different metrics can provide greater insight and doesn’t separate your data into silos. “It’s a great idea to put all your reports side-by-side on the dashboard,” Carlton 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 it’s time to review and adjust the program.
Figure 1: A sample graph showing a trend line for fuel burned over a period of three months.
Don’t overlook miles driven
Another important factor to consider is miles driven. Carlton recommends evaluating whether drivers are taking the most efficient routes or if 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 Carlton.
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. In some cases, fuel must be calculated on our end using other diagnostics like mass air flow. This all depends on the protocol in place.
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:
In vehicles with different protocols, we look at each on a case-by-case basis and use 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. For most vehicles, we are able to pull different types of diagnostics like trip, idle fuel used, fuel level, water in fuel and more.
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.
Regulatory, Pro and ProPlus users have access to some great features in the MyGeotab fleet management software. 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.
To learn more, take a look at these tools in MyGeotab can help fleets increase fuel efficiency and reduce fuel costs:
Fuel and EV Energy Usage report
The Fuel and EV Energy 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.
Figure 2: A sample of the Fuel and EV Energy Usage report in MyGeotab.
The Fill-Ups report can point you to unmatched fuel transactions that need further investigation. Telematics device fill-up data can report on imported fuel transactions.
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.
Figure 3: A sample fill-up report featuring fuel data over a particular time period.
How do we match fuel card data?
To match a fuel transaction to a device, there must be at least one matching reference field from the below list:
- Device serial number
- License plate number
- Device description
- Device name
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.
Figure 4: A sample graph depicting diagnostic fuel levels versus fuel added or used for a particular time period.
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. Currently, improvements include:
- 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. From the Analytics Lab to the EVSA, Geotab is working to lead the way in telematics support and experimentation.
Originally published on August 24, 2016.
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Jobin Thayilchira is Product Manager, Geotab Drive at Geotab.
Geotab's blog posts are intended to provide information and encourage discussion on topics of interest to the telematics community at large. Geotab is not providing technical, professional or legal advice through these blog posts. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this blog post is timely and accurate, errors and omissions may occur, and the information presented here may become out-of-date with the passage of time.
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