Ways Your Drivers’ Behaviors Are Wasting Fuel (And Costing Your Fleet Operation Money)

By Mary Gerard

It’s been a crazy year at the pump. From skyrocketing prices to a somewhat return to normal, odds are your fleet operation’s fuel budget is in the red.

With Q4 quickly approaching, it’s time to take control of your fleet’s fuel spending. This can begin by examining your drivers’ behaviors both behind the wheel and at the pump.

Check out some common driver behaviors that can be wasting fuel – and solutions to better monitor their usage.

Fuel-Wasting Driver Behaviors

Drivers are tasked with an important job – to get from Point A to Point B on time, and safely. En route to accomplishing that, they might be partaking in some bad habits that are wasting fuel. Some of the most common bad behaviors are:

  • Idling: If your driver is enduring extreme heat or freezing cold temperatures, he might be idling the vehicle to keep it cool or warm. This can make for a more comfortable vehicle, but it can also waste fuel as the asset runs while being parked. Drivers might also keep their vehicles idling for other reasons – including if they leave it running while hopping in and out on a route, performing an inspection, eating lunch in their vehicle, doing paperwork, and countless other reasons.
  • Accelerating/Braking: Are your drivers speeding, or participating in aggressive driving with extreme accelerating or quick braking? This can waste fuel.
  • Taking Longer Routes: Is there a speed trap your driver is trying to avoid, or a restaurant they want to hit for lunch on a different route than the one they were given, or an errand they want to run? For a variety of reasons, drivers might be taking longer routes than needed to get to their destination.
  • Going Out of the Way for Gas: Do you have a branded fuel card that’s causing your drivers to go out of the way to find a gas station where their fuel card will be accepted? If your drivers are wasting fuel to refuel, then you should reevaluate your fleet’s fuel cards.
  • Using Vehicles for Personal Use: “My drivers never use their vehicles for personal use.” If you’re saying that, and you don’t have a system in place to monitor their behaviors, then you are likely fooling yourself. As fuel prices and the cost-of-living increase, people are looking to save money wherever they can. And using a fleet vehicle to run errands – or even take on a road trip – can happen.


Solutions To Curb Bad Driving Behaviors

Fortunately, there are ways you can stop drivers from demonstrating these fuel-wasting behaviors.

  • Fuel Cards and Reporting: Issuing your drivers’ fuel cards can have a lot of benefits. One of the biggest advantages is you can pull data to track how much fuel they are using, how much mileage they are getting per gallon, how often they are filling up – and even where they are refueling. This can notify you if they took the car out of state, and can trigger other flags that can indicate they’re using the vehicle for personal use (including if they are filling up more than should be necessary). It’s also a way for you to track the efficiency of your vehicles if the asset is suddenly getting less mileage per gallon.
  • Odometer Monitoring: Keep track of the odometer reading each time the driver adds fuel to the vehicle. This will help you better identify if fuel is being misused and will help ensure vehicles are brought in on time for preventative maintenance.
  • Install Idling Tools: There are tools you can install in your vehicles to curb idling. This can include putting a max idling time vehicles are allowed to run before shutting off.
  • Telematics: Using a telematics solution can help identify idling, as well as track driver behaviors like speeding and sudden braking. It can also offer additional benefits like vehicle locating services, in-cab cameras, and even identify maintenance issues with your vehicles.


You can monitor your vehicles’ fuel usage through your fleet management software solution. An FMIS lets you record vehicle mileage, tracks fueling information, and can integrate with telematics solutions to ensure issues are recorded and identified.


To learn how RTA’s FMIS can benefit your fleet operation, sign up for a free demo with our Sales team!

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