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RAC research suggests drivers who idle should be fined

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 22, 2019 9:00:00 AM

RAC research suggests drivers who idle should be fined

According to a new RAC research made public last week, the 72% of the interviewed calls for an idling crackdown, with 44% of them stating drivers refusing to switch their engine off should be fined. 26% of the drivers surveyed, on another hand, think motorists should just be told to switch off without being fined, and a 2% thinks offenders should be fined without any type of warning.

After an initial call for more power to take action against drivers who idle, councils in the UK already have the authority to fine them, but as of now just a few chose to do it. The respondents to the survey would like to see some action taken against offenders, as 88% of them argued they see drivers idling while parking at the side of a road, 40% see drivers idling on a regular basis and 48% see them occasionally. 26% of respondents saw drivers idling outside schools.

With climate change and emissions being constantly in the news, 55% of those surveyed added that they are more concerned on the impact of vehicle emissions on the environment and public health than they were 3 years ago. But the top reason for switching off provided by the surveyed was instead cost, with 37% stating they would switch off to save on fuel, followed by 35% saying they would do it to help with air quality.

After in the June of this year the UK Government announced it would launch a consultation looking at increasing fines for those who idle, some councils have called for powers to deal with idling. Westminster City Council leader Nickie Aiken argued that “Fines are our last resort but when we establish a pattern of persistent idling we need to be able to send a message” and added that fines for company vehicles, such as supermarket delivery vans, that are caught idling need to be “a four-figure sum to be a sufficient deterrent”.

The war against idling has just started.


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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel Economy, reduce emissions

Diesel spillage: an event that not only impacts on your fuel economy…

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 8, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Diesel spillage an event that not only impacts on your fuel economy…

There are several factors that might impact on the cost of your fuel bills: fuel costs, the level of wear and tear affecting vehicles, the driving style of your team, but there is another issue that isn’t always considered—diesel spillage. Though diesel spillage incidents obviously involve a loss of diesel/fuel, there are also safety, financial, social and environmental concerns. Moreover, it has been proved that diesel exposure to the road surface results in significant damage and potential disruption on the road/highway network.

According to Highways England, in the year 2018 alone, 314 diesel spillage events were recorded, especially involving HGVs, which resulted in delays, risk to life and environmental issues.

It also seems diesel spillage is not really considered a risk worth worrying about by most operators, who often don’t have a strategy to protect themselves from this eventuality or are not fully aware of the cost/damage and, therefore, have not invested in the diesel spillage protection or equipped their vehicles to have spill kits on board.

Spillages may occur when refuelling or because of improper storage or equipment that is not properly maintained, but also because of accidents that might involve vehicles on the road colliding, losing control or ending up on their side and leaking fuel.

As an initial response to diesel or fuel spills, operators are advised to cease operations for the vehicle, remove any naked flames or potential sources of ignition, try to contain the spill and ensure workers are notified if the incident happened within company premises. The environmental and health and safety department have to be notified of the incident and assess it to avoid any repetitions.

The spill has to be contained with absorbing material ideally and then disposed of by professionals trained to clean up these kinds of substances. Operations shouldn’t take too long if companies prepare a diesel spillage kit to be used in the eventuality, which occur more frequently than they think.

Highways England is going to assist commercial vehicle drivers and operators in the UK in preventing diesel spillages by implementing a series of interventions to reduce the frequency and severity of incidents associated with diesel spillages from commercial vehicle drivers on the SRN.



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Topics: Fuel Economy

The A-Z of Fleet Management: I is for Idling and why it should never happen again in your fleet

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 16, 2019 9:00:00 AM

The A-Z of Fleet Management I is for Idling and why it should never happen again in your fleet

It goes without saying that vehicles and drivers are a fleet-orientated company’s most important assets—your business would simply not be able to function without them. Your drivers and vehicles travel kilometres and kilometres every day, as all fleet drivers do, and consume a substantial amount of fuel accordingly. But are you sure that consumption is actually based on kilometres travelled?

We’d like to point out that vehicles often idle, and if you imagine idling to be something of a habit for nonprofessional drivers or end users only, you might be surprised to learn that it is actually not uncommon amongst fleet drivers as well, unless you take appropriate measures to prevent it of course.

What is idling then? Basically any unjustified time a vehicle is stationary with the engine running constitutes idling. This typically happens in a number of specific instances: while queuing or waiting at a red light, while parked or waiting to load or unload goods or passengers in the case of taxis. It is sometimes difficult to avoid idling, for example if your vehicle is equipped with PTO (power take-off) and needs to be left running in order to perform a necessary mechanical function; but knowing how many vehicles idle and the reason why might help you find the correct solution to the problem. Some time ago, vehicles used to idle in order to assist restarting. But today, with the advances in ignition systems, this is no longer strictly necessary.

Idling is something that needs to be avoided for three essential reasons: idle vehicles consume fuel, they increase carbon emissions and they impact on the health of your drivers (and, ultimately, everyone else to a greater or lesser extent). If you still haven’t already, you should definitely look into eliminating unnecessary idling to get extra, immediate savings on your fuel budget.

It has been estimated according to data collected by the Argonne National Laboratory, that:

  • Idling a company car leads to 0.5 gallons/19 litres of fuel waste per hour
  • Idling a medium duty truck leads to 0.4 to 0.6 gallons/15-22 litres of fuel waste per hour
  • If every car in the United States idled just 6 minutes per day, 3 billion gallons/11 billion litres of fuel would be wasted every year, equalling a total cost of $10 billion

Imagine what type of expense idling could apply for your fleet?

Preventing idling doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of the time you would just need to implement an idling policy within your fleet—if you haven’t done so already—you will be surprised how much you save by merely implementing a zero idling policy.

If you want a more thorough process, you can use technology to track idling and establish actions depending on which drivers or vehicles are prone to idling and measure the progress you make in terms of reducing idling and in lowering fuel consumption. You might have to make a modest investment at the beginning—if you haven’t got round to using the technology yet—but the results will definitely be rewarding.

If you need some help with that, you know where we are.


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Topics: Fuel Economy

Fuel consumption figures and emissions data: countdown to WLTP?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 29, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Fuel consumption figures and emissions data countdown to WLTP

While we can definitely say that fuel consumption figures never stop being key data for fleet managers, the whole transport and vehicle manufacturing sectors are paying particularly close attention to the current news concerning the abolition of the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) emissions and fuel economy testing regime in favour of the new WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure) regime.


By the deadline of September 1st, 2018, vehicle manufacturers will have to make sure all new cars and lighter vans have been tested under the new protocol, which should—at least this is the idea—provide the relevant consumers and fleet operators with more representative fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures.


The WLTP has been developed within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) supported by the European Commission to provide more realistic test conditions, in an attempt to better reflect what drivers experience in the real world. The test will eventually be combined with the RDE, the new on-road ‘Real Driving Emissions’ test, whose ‘Step 1’ has been active since September 2017. In RDE tests, a vehicle with specific equipment installed is driven on public roads and over a wide range of different conditions collecting data to verify that legislative caps for pollutants such as NOx are not exceeded.


While there seems to be confusion about the different types of fuel consumption and emissions testing, the fleet sector is already hypothesising about the implications of the September 1st deadline: will there be changes in the benefit-in-kind taxes? Will there be confusion due to the possible coexistence of two identical vehicles having different fuel economy figures because they have been approved over different drive cycles? And will vehicle manufacturers be forced to offer heavy discounts on cars that don’t meet standards, at least within the grace period that some countries already offered after the 1st of September?


In this current state of confusion, a few days ago the Swedish manufacturer Volvo (one of the most typical company car brands) became the first to have every model across their car range comply with the new WLTP rules. This includes all petrol and diesel-powered models, plus the collection of hybrid vehicles offered by the Swedish brand. Quite a significant step: as from September 2018 all new cars will have to be certified according to the WLTP test and not NEDC, and cars that aren’t WLTP-compliant by the September deadline will be barred from sale.


While both fleets and motorists are still experiencing some confusion and automakers start getting their heads around WLTP, others are objecting that even with a test that more closely mimics real driving conditions with supposedly more realistic data there may still be a gap between the test and reality. If you really wish to be in possession of real fuel consumption figures, only technology measuring real consumption data can provide a realistic answer.



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Topics: Fuel Economy, fuel consumption, Fuel

Vehicles only reaching 80% of their official MPG, claims real fuel consumption website

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Vehicles only reaching 80% of their official MPG, claims real fuel consumption website

The website Honest John hosts a page called ‘Real MPG’ which gathers and publishes real fuel consumption data and highlights the gap between the official fuel economy data stated by vehicle manufacturers and real-world fuel consumption. According to their findings, the average vehicle delivers just 80% of the officially advertised fuel economy.

Real MPG began in 2011 thanks to the website Honest John, one of the most famous resources for vehicle buyers, which feature tips and professional answers to technical questions posed by readers. Because Honest John was receiving more and more complaints from buyers who could not reconcile the MPG of a vehicle used in a real-life setting with the MPG advertised by the manufacturer, it created this page specifically for vehicle buyers to submit their own MPG findings together with engine model and ‘type of driving’.

The debate on real versus advertised MPG and the reliability of vehicle testing is ongoing, though it has become more intense in recent years due to the gap between official and real MPG appearing to be on the increase.

The NEDC (New European Driving Cycle)—the official vehicle testing method for the last 40 years—has often been judged as incapable of simulating real-life driving as it is no longer compatible with modern engines or the stats are drawn from vehicles adjusted to obtain better results (allegedly). The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) has come into force since September 2017 and is seen as a more realistic testing method—though it is still not exactly real-life driving—as it includes a greater range of driving situations (urban, suburban, main road, motorway), longer test distances and stricter car set-up and measurement conditions. From September 2018, all new vehicles will have to be certified under the WLTP. According to Real MPG, WLTP should be more reflective of real-world driving, but it is still laboratory-based and unlikely to return the realistic economy figures that buyers need.

But, apart from the vehicle testing, what exactly did the Real MPG discover? Apparently, just one in ten vehicles matched the figures quoted by carmakers in 2017. The worst performing car, according to Real MPG, was the Smart Fortwo which achieved 67% of its advertised fuel economy, followed by the BMW 5 Series and Land Rover Discovery Sport with both delivering just 68 per cent of their stated MPG. Best performing cars were the Land Rover Defender, with an average of 105%, followed by the Mazda MX-5 (102%) and the Toyota GT86, with a real-world fuel economy of 98%. In terms of commercial vehicles, the Ford Transit data collected in Real MPG demonstrated a real-world fuel economy of 78% in its 2.2 TDCi 125 variant and 67% in the 2.2 TDCi 155. The Citroen Berlingo 2018 demonstrated 93% in its 1.6 HDi 90 variant and 84% for the 1.6 e-HDi 90.

These investigations and debates around real-world fuel consumption do highlight that fleet costs and fuel costs are quite tricky to manage if you are too much influenced by advertised MPG because of the gap between the manufacturer’s claims and the real-world fuel economy. Driving style and maintenance is extremely important, and real-world MPG data is what counts at the end of the day. Best practices in terms of efficient driving, fleet policies controlling use of vehicles, driver training and appropriate maintenance that avoids wasted fuel have to be combined together with the monitoring of real fuel usage—cross-checking mileage and the cost of fuel used. Today you can manage fuel on a real case by case basis: let us know if you need to capture fuel data and run vehicles more efficiently.


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Topics: Fuel Economy, fuel management

Petrol and diesel vans and cars sale: Britain to ban both from 2040

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 15, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Petrol and diesel vans and cars sale Britain to ban both from 2040.jpeg

Following on from an announcement by French environment minister Nicholas Hulot to outlaw all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the UK government has decided to follow suit with exactly the same pledge. The first country to formally undertake such a measure was Norway, who, one year ago, announced a similar ban but with a much more radical deadline—2025.

The measure will also affect hybrid vehicles and dramatically increase the sale of electric cars, which would be the only type allowed: as it stands, they only constitute 1% of the UK market. The measure is part of a broader government plan including further interventions on public transport, taxi and cycle paths.

The move is needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality is having on people’s health. Ministers believe it poses the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing up to £2.7bn (€2.98bn) in lost productivity in one recent year. The UK government is providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around the roads.

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, will be hoping for a better reception when he publishes the final document on Wednesday following months of legal wrangling.

A briefing on parts of the plan, seen by the Guardian, repeats the heavy focus on the steps that can be taken to help councils improve air quality in specific areas where emissions have breached EU thresholds.

Measures to be urgently brought in by local authorities that have repeatedly breached EU rules include retrofitting buses and other public transport, changing road layouts and altering features such as roundabouts and speed humps.

Reprogramming traffic lights will also be included in local plans, with councils being given £255m to accelerate their efforts. Local emissions hotspots will be required to layout their plans by March 2018 and finalise them by the end of the year. A targeted scrappage scheme is also expected to be included.

Some want the countrywide initiative to follow in the footsteps of London, which is introducing a £10 toxic “T-charge” that will be levied on up to 10,000 of the oldest, most polluting vehicles every weekday.


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Topics: Fuel Economy, Fuel

Driving techniques that boost your fleet fuel economy: an interesting infographic

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Driving techniques that boost your fleet fuel economy.jpeg

Fleet managers reiterating the importance of driving techniques in order to boost fuel economy may feel repetitious for most drivers; but the simple truth is if you are able to properly address driving behaviour, it definitely has long-term positive effects for your fleet in terms of costs, safety and environment.

We recently came across an interesting infographic on driving behaviours that boost your fuel economy published by On Stride Financial and entitled 13 Driving Tactics to Save Fuel, though the infographic has been created for end-users and not for fleets, there are actually some useful principles to take from it in order to adjust driver behaviour to a more fuel efficient style.

Driving techniques that boost your fleet fuel economy an interesting infographic 2.png

We have listed the points of the infographic followed by our opinion of these tips. Have a good read through and let us know what you think!

1. Use google maps to avoid driving in traffic jams—we promote route planning, and, what’s more, with our technology you can do it with Google Maps. There are history options for traffic as well, so you can detect the most fuel efficient route for your drivers and plan accordingly.

2. Shed unnecessary weight—according to the Energy Saving Trust publication for the UK Department of Transport entitled Advising fuel efficient driving techniques for your fleet, anything adding weight to a vehicle increases fuel consumption.

3. Drive between 55-65 MPH on the motorway—the speed advised by the AA quoted in the infographic reminds us that excessive speed needs to be avoided.

4. Avoid unnecessary overtaking—we do agree with the fact that overtaking should be kept to a minimum and only attempted when strictly necessary as it can be risky. For some vehicle types and on some roads, it is also forbidden.

5. Change gears at the right time—using the gears wisely helps you cut fuel bills. According to the Energy Saving Trust publication, research into the effect of the use of gears on fuel consumption shows that both petrol and diesel cars shifting up at low RPM and 50% accelerator position result in the lowest fuel consumption.

6. Close car windows and use a/c at high speeds—here we actually do not completely agree, as having the air conditioning turned on always impacts on a vehicle. According to the Energy Saving Trust publication, air conditioning systems pump (compress) a fluid (refrigerant) around a circuit: the fluid is made to evaporate in one part of the circuit (absorbing the heat) and condenses in another part (dispelling the heat). With vehicle a/c, the fluid in the circuit evaporates within the vehicle due to the heat and condenses at a point outside where the heat is dissipated. The compressor that drives the movement of this fluid is powered by the vehicle engine, increasing fuel consumption.

7. Avoid switching off the engine at mid-drive—here we also disagree with the infographic, as any unnecessary idling lasting more than one minute should be avoided at all costs.

8., 9., 10. Going easy on the throttle, maintaining a steady speed and being gentle on the brakes are all behaviours we wholeheartedly support: a smooth driving style, anticipating the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration as well as avoiding dangerous driving events such as rapid acceleration or harsh braking.

11., 12., 13. Use the right oil, keep your tyres inflated and regularly service your car—these all comprise the best practices of fleet maintenance. Vehicles need to be regularly maintained with the suitable products, tyre pressure checked regularly and servicing performed; it helps fuel savings but also improves global safety.


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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel Economy, Fuel

How to get better fuel economy through driving style: new data revealed

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

How to get better fuel economy through driving style new data revealed.jpeg

The focus of media, companies and, no doubt, fleet managers, is often concentrated on how to get better fuel economy and make the most out of their vehicles. Fuel spend in fact constitutes the highest proportion of global fleet costs. While looking into different ways of saving fuel costs rather than just seeking out lower prices is becoming the most popular strategy, it seems clear that companies still do not understand how much they could potentially save if they explore a variety of options.


Different ways of saving fuel costs could, for example, include


  • Checking driver behaviour and subsequently training drivers to adopt a safer driving style, one which is also more efficient
  • Carefully set the fuel card options excluding items that are not fuel, avoiding extra expenses accrued by drivers
  • Use a fuel card connected to fleet management software, with a fuel management suite, which is able to control purchases made
  • Carefully check routes and use the most efficient choices in terms of traffic, distance and thus fuel spend
  • Initiate a no idling policy
  • Updating the company fuel/fuel card policy to make sure waste is minimised and emphasising the consequences of not respecting such a policy.


Actually, the first point is the one that is especially popular as actions carried out by charities and the EU itself indicate a decreasing number of incidents. A safer driving style is also a fuel efficient one and training is a vital element, but some companies still do not realise the importance.


In a recent study on fuel economy conducted by The Miles Consultancy (TMC) on different company car models, made public in the last month of March through Fleet News, it came to light that different drivers obtained different MPG results even on the same vehicle make and model. In the overall research, it revealed that a low percentage of drivers (around 7%) could actually obtain better results in fuel economy than the official ones published by the manufacturers, while a much bigger percentage, around 45%, could not even match the official numbers.


While modern vehicles now offer better and better opportunities to save fuel and be cleaner thanks to an ever-improving technology, companies still miss the opportunities offered by more efficient vehicles just because they do not ensure drivers know how to drive efficiently and safely.


Monitoring driver behaviour is the perfect opportunity to implement a long-term strategy and save on fuel costs. If you know how your drivers perform, you can implement corrective actions that not only offer a better return on your investment, but also protect employees from risks. If you need to know how to get started with driver behaviour monitoring, just let us know!



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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management, Fuel Economy, Fuel, driving safely

Tyre pressure check guide: does everyone in your fleet check tyres?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 11, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Operating a safe and healthy fleet begins with regular maintenance and daily checks that include the mandatory tyre inspection. But how many fleets do actually carry out tyre pressure checks, follow a tyre pressure guide or think about tyre replacement advice when inspecting tyres? How many really do carry out what is known as 'best practice'?

We would like to share an interesting infographic on tyre checks, including important aspects that have to be considered when taking care of tyres and explaining why tyre maintenance cannot be overlooked. Here it is:


Although this infographic was created by Titan, a tyres manufacturer, following the recommendations made for car tyres by the Australian Government, it is still perfectly applicable for fleets at a global level.

The infographic examines the reasons why properly maintained tyres are fundamental for vehicle safety and efficiency. So let’s remind ourselves of the fleet checks— and here are the 4 reasons why you should have regular tyre checks:


1.  Safety—under-inflated or badly maintained tyres can lead to breakdowns or can even make drivers lose control of their vehicle.


2. Handling—improper tyre inflation or maintenance can lead to issues with handling, affecting acceleration, cornering or braking, and, again, causing potential safety issues.


3. Wear and tear—if tyres are not regularly maintained they can deteriorate more quickly… If you’re looking to save money on maintenance, think again: you will only incur more expense down the line because of premature wear and tear on the wheels.


4. Fuel economy—if tyres do not have the correct pressure and tread you will consume more fuel.


The infographic examines two parameters that actively have to be considered if you are going to check your tyres properly: tyre pressure and tread. But we should also add wheel alignment to the list.

If you need further assistance regarding the checking of tyres, you can find useful information in these blog posts dealing with how fuel savings begin with tyre checks and also how to organise a tyre management program. For more practical assistance on fuel savings and on how to set up vehicle and tyre checks, contact SynX to learn about all the technical solutions we offer!


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Topics: Fuel Economy, fleet safety, fleet maintenance

Telematics systems: a “self-help” cutting cost tactic for fleets

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Photo Credit: visitbasis via Compfight cc
Improved MPG statistics year-on-year is especially welcomed by companies who run fleets; this is thanks to the constantly improving technology—manufacturers compete fiercely to create vehicles that are ever more efficient.
But according to a recent article published in Commercial Fleet, there is a “self-help” approach that fleets can take in order to cut on their fleet costs, and it includes a series of actions such as fitting speed limiters, investigating alternative fuels (hydrogen, for example), rightsizing vehicles… or, last but by no means least, reducing global costs by means of telematics systems.
With the growing need for cutting costs and lowering emissions, fleet telematics systems are starting to be considered not so much as a “nice have” but more of a “must have” for any company that owns a fleet. There are, in fact, a number of useful operations that can be made possible, or at least easier, with the aid of this technology:
- keeping track of fuel consumption
- having complete visibility on fuel purchases
- retrieving information as to the driving conduct of staff: solid data on driving events that aren’t safe and/or lead to higher consumption can be analysed by companies in order to correct poor driving techniques
- better organised route planning
- being aware of unnecessary idling events and taking measures to correct this attitude
- getting vehicle diagnostics reports and improving maintenance schedules
- helping in the implementation of Health and Safety guidelines
…to mention but a few.
Many companies are already choosing to invest in this technology, as the initial outlay is quickly redeemed through increased operational efficiency... thereafter, everything saved is a bonus!
If you want to learn more on how you can actually save money through fleet management solutions, find out what SynX can do for your fleet and schedule a free demo now!
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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management, Fuel Economy, GPS & Tracking, fuel efficiency

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