Can shopping around make your fleet more fuel efficient?

In September, the Royal Automobile Association (RAA) called for fuel prices to fall in South Australia. According to the group, road users in the northern suburbs of Adelaide are paying too much to run their vehicles.

For individuals filling up their cars, irregular pricing can be a disadvantage. For businesses that control a number of fleet vehicles, higher fuel prices in their area can add up to a significant financial loss.

So is it time and cost efficient to shop around for petrol? Or are there other options to reduce this burden on precious company finances?

Shop for a drop

According to RAA Senior Analyst Chris West, shopping around could be a viable option. 

In a September 17 media release, he said: "For anyone travelling home to the north from Adelaide's CBD ... we recommend that you refuel south of Grand Junction Road, or expect to pay 9cpl (cents per litre) more in Salisbury, Elizabeth and Gawler."

The difference in price can be significant to warrant a longer journey for a cheaper refill.

According to the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA), the gap between the highest and lowest price for a litre of unleaded fuel in Sydney was 17.2 cents. In an average hatchback, say a Toyota Corolla GX with a 50-litre engine, filling up at a cheaper location would save $8.60 per visit.

With the average crude oil price falling 0.7 cents per litre in September, the NRMA recommend motorists use a variety of stations to find the best fuel deals.

Managing a fleet's fuel efficiency

Shopping around is not easy for everyone and may not be a viable option for business fleets.

Fleet managers will need to consider whether a driver taking the time to visit other filling stations will be cost effective, or whether wages and extra travelling expenses make the option fruitless.

However, inconsistent fuel pricing does shine a light on other solutions that are readily available for reducing car fuel consumption.

Fuel consumption management is a service offered in a fleet management program to allow a manager to take control of their on-road activities.

Fuel usage can be affected in a number of ways - from aggressive driving to the time spent idle in traffic. In-depth and simple-to-use reporting gives a manager access to individual driver and vehicle information and helps them take control of their fleet.

Shopping around could work for your fleet, though small, cumulative savings could be difficult to notice at first. Reporting software makes it easier to track daily, weekly or monthly fuel consumption changes, letting you know if your fuel management strategy is working.

For more fuel reduction advice and to see what Smartfleet's managed services can do for you, just get in touch.