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As the cost of diesel fuel hovers around $4.00 a gallon in the United States and $1.30 a liter in Canada, trucking companies (and politicians) are again focusing on strategies to control energy costs that have risen forty percent since 2010.  President Barack Obama firmly defended his record on oil drilling last week and ordered the government to fast-track an Oklahoma pipeline while accusing Congress of playing politics with a larger Canada-to-Gulf Coast project.  Alberta, home to the world’s third largest pool of oil reserves, is working to increase capacity to transport crude amid opposition from environmental groups as companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Suncor invest about C$20 billion annually in the oil sands. 

In addition to increasing supply, trucking companies are instituting measures to ensure these energy supplies are utilized as efficiently as possible.  Three such strategies were highlighted in a recent paper prepared by Derek Singleton, ERP Analyst at Software Advice.  Here are some excerpts from Derek’s paper and from other industry sources.

Careful planning and the use of predictive technologies–such as distribution business software–can minimize the impact fuel costs have on the bottom line. Companies that manage a fleet can cope with rising fuel costs using three general strategies:

  1. 1.Streamline fuel procurement;
  2. 2.Improve operations and fleet management; and,
  3. 3.Better plan delivery routes and shipment loads.
Streamline Fuel Procurement

Managing fuel costs isn’t just about taking steps to control the costs. According to David Zahn, VP of Marketing at FuelQuest, significant savings can be realized simply by building predictability into fuel procurement budgets. Gas prices typically swing five cents per gallon, up or down, on any given day. When purchasing thousands of gallons of gas, buying at the wrong time can be devastating to a company’s bottom line.

Technology solutions like FuelQuest give companies that store gas a way to forecast demand, monitor on-hand fuel, and procure at the best market price. Automating the fuel procurement process, says Zahn, typically saves companies four to six cents per gallon.

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