A combination of factors from supply chain disruptions and general inflation to conflicts around the world have shaken nerves in the oil market. The resulting higher fuel costs are a massive burden on large farming operations and commercial agribusinesses with large vehicle fleets. And those higher fuel prices may be around for a while.
There are a lot of things famers and fleet managers can do to cut fuel bills. Telematics technology is on that list. Telematics offers a whole new toolbox to help you keep fuel costs down through:
- Fuel-efficient operation
- Route optimization
- Proactive maintenance
“The ROI becomes clear immediately. Telematics is a way to create a cost benefit,” said Nationwide Agribusiness Senior Risk Management Consultant Brian Hammer. “Without it, you may miss out on an opportunity to manage day-to-day costs.”
Telematics and fleet fuel management
The first way telematics streamlines fuel use is by monitoring operator behavior. This can help you ensure drivers aren’t wasting fuel. Things like excessive idling and driving at high speeds can cut fuel economy drastically.
Idling, for example, can be costly. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a heavy-duty truck uses about 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour when idling. Across all trucks in the U.S., trucks idling during rest periods use about 1 billion gallons of fuel per year. The price tag grows when you consider the added wear and tear on engines from idling.
Excessive idling is just one of the driver behaviors telematics can help you monitor. “It’s important to know you can supervise operators even when you’re not there. Telematics helps you do that,” Hammer said. “How an operator treats a piece of machinery translates directly to how much you spend on fuel.”
Fuel savings through route optimization
Without telematics, it’s tough enough to know the location of every truck and machine you operate, let alone optimize travel to minimize fuel use. With it, you can do both. Effective route optimization can save you a lot on fuel.
“Telematics helps you manage route optimization by confirming your trucks are in the right places and taking the shortest, most efficient routes,” Hammer said. “Optimizing your routes is a great way to save on fuel costs. Telematics makes that much easier to do today.”
Telematics, maintenance and fuel cost savings
Telematic data reveals performance and efficiency trends over time. By acting on some of the specific data telematic tools gather — tire pressure, for example — you can lower fuel and maintenance costs over time.
“If you’re not maintaining the right pressure, you lose fuel efficiency in the short term and can shorten the life of your tires in the long term. Telematics helps you plan ahead for replacement, avoid unexpected interruptions and maximize fuel efficiency,” Hammer said. “Keeping an eye on things like this can keep your costs down, both with fuel economy and maintenance.”
Telematics require action
Telematics is a long-term investment. Hammer recommends identifying which type of system is best for your operation. Then, take action.
“Telematics saves you money over time. You can maximize the cost benefit once you start to see where you have the best opportunities to save money on fuel,” Hammer said. “Telematics can make your life easier, but it’s only a tool to collect data. Be willing and able to take action based on that data. That’s where you will create opportunities to save on your fuel bills.”
Get started with commercial agriculture telematics today
Nationwide has partnered with Razor Tracking, a leader in real-time telematics and dashboard camera solutions. Nationwide farm and commercial agribusiness policyholders receive discounted pricing on Razor devices and subscription fees. To get started with the Premium Partner Program, you can either call 1-833-467-2967 (1-833-GORAZOR), email Nationwide@RazorTracking.com or fill out this form to speak with a fleet tracking representative.