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Saving Money ​On Tires​: How to Do It

On May 22, 2014, in Hybrid Tires, Saving Money, by allisonmreilly
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how to save money on tiresFor many managed fleets, tires represent about 20 percent of total expenses, putting them in the top three costs for operations and maintenance. For sanitation fleets, tires are the number one cost in operations and maintenance, costing the fleet more money than fuel. However, tracking the total cost of the tire from the beginning to the end of its life isn’t something that all managed fleets do, even though tracking the total cost will help many fleets save money on tires. Since saving money on tires can immensely help the bottom line of many managed fleets, here’s how to do it so that the fleet cuts its costs without sacrificing safety.

Invest in a Tire Management System

A tire management system can provide real time data about your fleet’s tires and alert drivers of any potential problems, such as a pending flat. Since the software measures tire pressure and tread depth, fleets can improve safety and fuel economy by catching these problems early. The system can also reduce maintenance costs by reducing the downtime of a particular vehicle. Topping off a vehicle costs less than replacing a blown out tire or assessing the tread depth of each tire manually. By taking the time to do smaller, preventative maintenance, fleets can also reduce their labor and tire replacement costs.

Although a tire management system can be done on paper, a manual system does not offer the same benefits as an online or computerized system. Not all commercial vehicles have tire pressure monitoring systems installed, so the driver has to remember to check the vehicle’s tire pressure and must remember to do so after the tires have cooled. Drivers should still continue to do this, but the information isn’t in real time. If a driver forgets, for whatever reason, then he/she may miss under-inflated tires that can lead to reduced fuel economy or to a safety hazard.

Make Tire Pressure the Number One Rule

Whether your tire management system is manual or on a computer, proper tire pressure should be the first thing in place for any management system. Proper tire pressure is much more than checking it routine, but a good tire management system should also include targeted pressures for the tires, designated periodic checks for proper tire pressure, and calibrated air gauges. Proper tire pressure cannot be assessed by sight or touch alone. A calibrated gauge needs to be used every time. A solid tire management system that emphasizes proper tire pressure can save a managed fleet thousands of dollars per month. It may take up to six months before the fleet sees the return on the investment, but it also takes only 30 to 60 days for a fleet to lose money on under-inflated tires because of the reduced fuel efficiency and the reduced tire life.

Consider Nitrogen Tire Inflation for Your Managed Fleet

While making tire pressure a top priority in your tire maintenance and management, consider the practice of nitrogen tire inflation. Nitrogen-inflated tires maintain proper tire pressure up to three times longer than an air-inflated tires. Tires inflated with regular air lose about 1.5 PSI per month, while nitrogen tires take about three months to lose the same amount of tire pressure. Managed fleets still need to check their tire pressure regularly with nitrogen tire inflation, but the practice will reduce the number of blowouts, flats and top offs while keeping fuel efficiency and tire life at their maximum. Much like tire management software, there is an initial investment needed when starting a nitrogen tire inflation program, but after a few months managed fleets will see a noticeable difference in the money saved on tires.

Overall, managed fleets need to view tires as an asset, not a commodity. If they are viewed as an asset, then the perspective shifts on how to get the most of the fleet’s tires and how to get the most out of that investment. The three strategies shared above will help your managed fleet save money on tires.

photo credit: psyberartist via photopin cc

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mixing air and nitrogenThis is the most common question we get in the nitrogen tire industry, and what we’ve seen in many online forums and websites is that many people answer this question by saying  you cannot put regular air into tires that have nitrogen.

This is not true.

It is FALSE that air cannot be used to top off a tire filled with nitrogen. It is simply not true that air and nitrogen cannot coexist inside a tire. There is no harm in topping off a nitrogen-filled tire with regular air.

Air Doesn’t Take Away All the Benefits of Nitrogen Tire Inflation

The main reason why people say air and nitrogen can’t be mixed is that air negates all of the benefits of the nitrogen inflation. This isn’t entirely true because a tire that’s 100 percent inflated with regular air isn’t the same thing as a tire that’s 80 percent inflated with nitrogen, 20 percent with regular air. Although neither tire has all the benefits of a 100 percent nitrogen tire, the 80/20 tires still retains some of the benefits and has fewer of the consequences of the 100 percent air tire. The 80/20 tire has less water vapor, so it is still less susceptible to the temperature changes that happen throughout the day (this doesn’t include the temperature changes that happen between driving and parking the car for a few hours). The 80/20 tire will also retain proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, giving you an improved fuel efficiency and better traction with the road.

It’s Tough to Find Nitrogen Tire Inflation Services

We understand that topping off nitrogen tires with more nitrogen gas is difficult because nitrogen isn’t as accessible as regular air. Many auto repair shops sell nitrogen inflation as an add-on, and won’t offer it or advertise it as a stand-alone service. Also, some places that sell nitrogen tires do not sell nitrogen tire inflation services. For example, Costco inflates all new tires with nitrogen. It’s not an add-on, but a service that anyone who purchases a set of new tires receives. However, Costco doesn’t offer new or existing tire customers to option to convert or to top off their ties with nitrogen. But, don’t worry about topping off your nitrogen tires with air from time to time. With the nitrogen, you shouldn’t have to top them off as often as you would with a tire that 100 percent inflated with air.

No, Your Tires Won’t Explode

One of the most common myths about mixing air and nitrogen in your tires is that it’s dangerous and may lead to an explosion. Part of this crazy misconception is the myth that tires filled with regular air are an additional hazard in a fiery crash because the oxygen is fuel for the fire. We don’t know where this myth came from, but it’s not a “benefit” that’s touted by the nitrogen tire industry, and it’s certainly not a “benefit” we support here at Nitronomics.

NO ONE IN THE NITROGEN TIRE INFLATION INDUSTRY SUPPORTS THE IDEA THAT NITROGEN TIRES WILL HELP YOU IN A FIERY CRASH

Anyway, mixing air and nitrogen in  your tires isn’t dangerous. It doesn’t increase your chances for an explosion or a fiery crash.

You also don’t need to replace the green cap on your tires. The green cap comes with tires that are inflated with nitrogen when you purchase them, such as the tires you may get from Costco like we previously mentioned. It’s been suggested that the green cap needs to be replaced with a black cap because the tire is no longer 100 percent nitrogen, but it doesn’t have to be replace if you don’t want to change it or if you don’t have a black cap. The green cap is more for the seller than the consumer, so there’s nothing wrong with keeping the green cap.

photo credit: gever tulley via photopin cc

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tire care tipsTires are a crucial part of vehicle maintenance, but often get the least attention. Everyone focuses on the engine while simply ensuring that the tires are inflated, or checking to see if they need to be rotated or changed entirely because the tread wear it too low. However, tires need much more attention than that. They can’t be treated like other parts of the car where you can simply replace them when they wear out. How should you treat your tires? Our article roundup regarding tire care and maintenance has everything you ought to know about giving your tires the care they need.

How Maximum Tire Pressure and Saving Gas are Related – Your tire pressure affects your gas mileage, and an over-inflated tire hurts your fuel efficiency (and your tire’s tread wear) as much as an under-inflated tire. Some have recommended that maximum tire pressure is what you need to have the best fuel efficiency and the safest ride, but this isn’t exactly the case. Proper tire pressure is not the same as maximum tire pressure.

3 Things You Need to Know About Buying New Tires – When purchasing a set a new tires for your car or managed fleet vehicles, there are three factors you need to consider: size, performance, and weight. Size is of particular importance, as a tire’s fit can be off by a few millimeters, and those few millimeters can mean that yours will lose its pressure much more quickly. Obviously, the tires needed for a tractor trailer aren’t the same as those needed for a two-door, but determining the right size for your car is much more complicated than that.

How Water Harms Your Tires – Water isn’t good for your tires. You don’t want to be driving with it sloshing around inside, which can happen if the air you use to inflate your tires has water vapor (which happens more often than not). Water can deteriorate the rubber of your tire, rust the axel, and cause your tire pressure to fluctuate more often as the water heats and cools as you drive. Removing the water vapor from the air when you inflate your tire, even if you do it yourself, is much harder than it sounds.

The Cost of Under-inflated Tires – Under-inflated tires hurt your fuel economy, your tires, and even your safety. Under-inflated tires also hurt because it can be hard to tell when your tires are under-inflated. You can’t always tell by looking at them, and if you’re using regular air, then your tire pressure is likely to go up or down, depending on when you measure it because the heat from driving will increase the pressure.

Guess What? Air Isn’t Free Anymore. Nitrogen Tires are a Better Deal – One of the arguments against nitrogen tire inflation is that air is free, so why pay the money? But, not everyone offers the service for free anymore, where it can cost up to $2 to use an air compressor. With this in mind, comparing nitrogen tire inflation and air tire inflation becomes a product/service comparison instead of a straight price comparison. Does a $2 charge mean you’re only getting $2 worth of tire inflation?

Prep Your Tires for Summer Travel Season – Winter may not be over yet for a few more weeks, but summer travel season (especially Memorial Day Weekend) is the weekend with the highest incidences of tire troubles. This includes blowouts, flat tires, and other scenarios that require the help of AAA. Stay safe as you use your long weekend for a quick vacation by prepping your tires for the road trip ahead.

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nitrogen tire inflation programPurchasing a nitrogen tire system is a big decision, and with that decision comes the process of getting started. This process can include educating and training employees, tracking your return on investment, additional maintenance checks, and watching for reduced costs in other parts of your organization. Getting started with nitrogen can be difficult, at least until all those aspects are worked out. Below is all the information you need to get you and your managed fleet started with nitrogen tire inflation: choosing a nitrogen system, implementing that system into your fleet, tracking your fleet’s carbon footprint, and how technology like nitrogen can reduce our country’s energy dependence and fix its infrastructure.

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet – Buying the nitrogen tire system is important, but more on that later. What you also need to know as a fleet manager is how to implement that system in your fleet, and change the behavior of your staff so that your nitrogen tires are most effective. This article outlines how to implement this program into your fleet and make nitrogen tires a tradition with your organization.

3 Effective Ways to Improve Fleet Safety – Improving fleet safety is huge toward the bottom line and the efficiency of managed fleets. Nitrogen tire inflation improve the fleet and driver safety, and is just one of the effective ways that you can put in place to day to improve your fleet’s safety.

How to Choose the Right Nitrogen Tire System for You – There are plenty of nitrogen tire systems available with a variety of sizes and features. How do you choose the best one for your fleet? This article covers the factors that are most important to consider before making your final purchase.

Managed Fleets and Ending America’s Dependence on Foreign Oil – Green technology like nitrogen tire inflation can end our dependence on foreign oil. Transportation fleets and the trucking industry doesn’t have to be the demons in America’s dependence on foreign oil, simply consuming energy to keep this country running. By utilizing green technology, they can be part of the solution as well.

How to Track Your Fleet’s Carbon Footprint – In order to practice sustainable fleet management, you need to track your fleet’s carbon footprint and take steps to reduce carbon emissions. Tracking your fleet’s carbon footprint will allow you to know exactly what your carbon emission is and offer ideas on how to cut those emissions. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.

Hybrid Tires and a Network of Nitrogen Services – Transportation accounts for almost 70% of  the fuel consumption in the US. Nitrogen services can change that by turning tires into hybrid tires, and a network of nitrogen services can enable cross-country vehicles to top off their tires with nitrogen. They can also ensure consistent tire maintenance, no matter where a truck or managed fleet vehicle stops for a routine check.

5 Great Fleet Vehicle Picks – Good fleet management includes picking the right vehicles for your fleet. After all, nitrogen tire inflation isn’t the only way to improve the sustainability of your fleet vehicles. Here are 5 great fleet vehicle choices that add to your bottom line.

How the Cost of Carbon Affects the Trucking Industry – Climate change is much more than severe weather. It’s also about the economic costs that hit hard and affect everyone, as illustrated by the $65 billion in economic damages caused by Hurricane Sandy alone. Learn how the trucking industry can contribute to reducing climate change and the cost of carbon.

photo credit: DiamondBack Truck Covers via photopin cc

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nitrogen inflationThis is a guest post from Andre Smith.

Nitrogen inflation has become increasingly popular in the last ten years. Many industry experts praise it for its promise of increased fuel economy and reduced tire wear, while others raise questions about the actual usefulness and credibility. With fuel prices as high as ever and many consumers and businesses cutting back on costs, nitrogen inflation can seem like an enticing endeavor. While nitrogen inflation can in fact promote efficiency, it is important to have all the correct information on why it is beneficial.

Common Myths About Nitrogen Inflation

There is no need to do pressure checks on tires inflated with nitrogen.

False. While nitrogen does in fact take longer to leak out of inflated tires, tires inflated with nitrogen should still be checked regularly for proper pressure. Divers should notice that their pressure checks come back positive more often than using regular air and the amount of pressure maintenance that needs to be done will most likely be reduced. Nitrogen, however, is still prone to malfunctions in the actual tires such as leaks in the valve stem or a punctures.

Nitrogen inflation can increase fuel economy and tire life.

Because nitrogen inflation promotes properly pressurized tires by eliminating the leaky oxygen in air, nitrogen inflation can in fact promote better fuel economy and more even tire wear. These factors, however are associated directly with the proper tire pressure regardless of composition. Nitrogen inflation provides a more convenient way to keep the pressure ideal.

There is no benefit to inflating with nitrogen as air is already 78.1% nitrogen.

Air is in fact already 78.1% nitrogen. During actual nitrogen inflation, however, the current air in the tire is removed and replaced with clean nitrogen at a concentration of 94% or more. This purging of air also removes any water vapor, oil contaminants, and particles that may be in the tire. The higher concentration of nitrogen is what promotes a slower deflating tire not the nitrogen itself.

Nitrogen Inflation Research

The idea of nitrogen inflation dates back to as early as 1968 when a man by the name of Dr. Larry Sperberg came up with the concept of “chemical degradation,” where a tire wears from the inside out. He found that air from compressor tanks was introducing the tires to air that was full of moisture. According to Sperberg the moisturized air makes its way into the tire cord body and causes heat and expansion. By using nitrogen that is dry and clean this expansion and degradation is decreased significantly.

Nitrogen’s advantage over oxygen when used as a way to inflate tires lies within its chemical structure. Nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules. As a result, nitrogen does not pass through the inner liner or sidewalls of a tire as easily. In addition, nitrogen is dry and inert. This allows tires to run cooler and reduces degradation.

Additional Benefits of Nitrogen Inflation

Being green has never been more important. In addition to investing in a fuel efficient or hybrid vehicle, inflating with nitrogen can make that vehicle even greener. Nitrogen inflation promotes better fuel economy and can reduce tire wear. By decreasing these you are keeping more emissions out of the air and more tires out of landfills. More information on automobiles being green can be had at Klosters’ website.

How Do I Use Nitrogen On My Vehicle?

There are a few ways to have your tires inflated with nitrogen. Nitrogen inflation requires a special system in order for the current air in the tire to be purged and then refilled with a high concentration of nitrogen. Many automotive dealers will provide this service. There are also kits available for purchase that allow for you to have access to nitrogen inflation at anytime.

In Conclusion

While nitrogen inflation is not a “cure all,” solution for pressurized automotive tires, it does provide some worthy advantages. Because of it’s chemical structure, nitrogen is scientifically more capable of providing longer lasting pressure directly resulting in better fuel economy and tire life. As this becomes a rising concern, implementation of nitrogen in automotive tires will most likely continue to rise.

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tools for your managed fleetThis is a guest post from Mike Burns. Mike is an auto mechanic and father of three from New York.

Your fleet team is ready to take the road. You can send them out in their own battered vehicles, a move that won’t impress prospective clients at all, or you can put them in an impressive company car. As a fleet manager, you get to make tough decisions about what your team needs, and these decisions affect both the functioning of your team and its image.

Hit the Road in Style

When choosing cars for your company fleet, you’ll need to consider tangible issues like price, financing and safety specifications as well as long-term costs like insurance, fuel and maintenance. The most important intangible factor to consider is the image projected by the fleet vehicles, which are ambassadors of your company so they need to blend with your image. If you sell contracting supplies, a tough looking SUV, a Jeep or a truck are all great options but if you sell luxury goods, you might want to consider classic-looking sedans.

Don’t forget to give your team the tools that they’ll need on the road like GPS and OnStar. If possible, work with one of the fleet programs from the world’s major car manufacturers. General Motors offers fleet and commercial vehicles, ideal for everything from construction work to outside sales to delivery vehicles. By working with a fleet program, you will get specialized solutions to meet your needs.

Power and Memory or Sleek and Mobile?

When buying computers for your team, think first about how they are going to be used. If you’re running design software or other programs that require a lot of storage, you’ll need PCs. But if all of your programs are located on the cloud, you can give your employees laptops or tablets. The Ultrabook 2 in 1 inspired by Intel is the perfect choice if you want to give your employees the benefits of a laptop and the convenience of a tablet. Ultrabooks start at only $480 when you shop at Best Buy.

If you want to save money on computers, consider scrapping that idea altogether. Instead, instigate a BYOD (bring your own device) program. The UK Telegraph explains that BYOD programs can save businesses in training costs as employees get to use laptops they are already familiar with. It also increases the possibility of employees taking their projects home with them so that they can put in some extra hours.

Talking, Texting and Closing the Deal

When it comes to phones, your staff needs unlimited data, texting and minutes. Without those features, you may face overage charges at the end of the month, or your employee may get cut off during an important data download or while talking with a client. Remember to convey the right image with your phones as well. Although they are not as prominent as vehicles, it doesn’t reflect positively on your brand if your employee is using a battered, old flip phone.

Consider working with a company like T-Mobile that offers unlimited calling and data on Android smartphones with competitively priced plans. The company’s Even More Plus plans don’t require contracts, a feature that gives you the flexibility you need to keep up with your waxing and waning staff.

Related Links

How to Track Your Fleet’s Carbon Footprint

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Managed Fleets

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet

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nitrogen tire inflation systemPurchasing a nitrogen tire inflation system is a big deal. Not only is it a large investment, but not all systems are created the same. Choosing the right system that will serve your managed fleet to your needs requires knowing several factors in how you will use the nitrogen tire system and how quickly you need to service each vehicle. Here’s how to choose the right nitrogen tire inflation system for your managed fleet:

Number of Vehicles

The number of vehicles not only determines how many nitrogen carts and how much nitrogen capacity you need, but you also need to know if you plan to fill every vehicle or if you plan to fill two or more vehicles at a time. Systems come in various sizes and capacities, so you need to consider the number of tires you’ll be servicing each month as well as if you plan to service multiple vehicles at once. Knowing this will ensure that you purchase a system that can handle the volume of your fleet at a speed that works for your drivers and maintenance crew.

Space and Mobility

With your nitrogen tire system, you need to know which characteristic is more important for your overall fleet management. If space is tight, then you probably don’t want a system that is too large or has too many hose reels that require additional storage space. You may not necessarily want a mobile nitrogen tire program, as you may not have the space to move the carts around so they can reach every single tire. Of course, if you have the space, then mobility might be a more convenient option.

Naturally, you’ll need to balance space and mobility with the number of vehicles you plan to service. Mobile may be tougher to have it you’re servicing over 1200 tires per month, but could be a nice alternative in case a vehicle just needs to be topped off and doesn’t need a full maintenance check. But, mobile is easier if you have a small fleet and are capable of handling more individualized service and maintenance for your fleet vehicles.

Purchase for Future Use

A nitrogen tire inflation system may be a hesitant purchase for many managed fleets, since the practice is brand new and not something that’s already been tested with the fleet. This may lead to a hesitant purchase, one that doesn’t include the ability to scale or to consider future use in terms of servicing larger or additional vehicles. For some managed fleets that aren’t projecting or planning to increase the size of their fleets, purchasing a system that meets current needs isn’t a bad idea. However, there are instances where purchasing for future need is a good idea. If your company is planning to purchase more, or bigger, fleet vehicles in 2014, or if you’re going to add nitrogen tire programs to other locations or maintenance centers, then doing a bulk purchase may be smarter and better for the bottom line.

Related Links:

How to Implement a Nitrogen Tire Inflation Program into Your Fleet

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Managed Fleets

How to Track Your Fleet’s Carbon Footprint

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new years resolutions for managed fleetsThe first full week of 2014 is almost over, and resolutions may seem like a tradition that companies don’t normally do, this doesn’t mean that your managed fleet can’t have one or two goals for the year. After all, setting out to make this year better than last year isn’t a bad idea, and setting a fleet management resolution can help you do that. Here are three New Year’s resolutions for managed fleets:

Improve Safety and Compliance

Improving safety and compliance could mean tackling a variety of issues. For some fleets, improving safety could mean working with drivers to reduce accidents. For others, it could mean working on maintenance so vehicles don’t cause problems for drivers. Some managed fleets may decide to work on safety training and policies. Whichever way you choose to improve safety and compliance, it’s certainly a resolution on every managed fleet’s list, as these statistics show:

  • Drivers age 36-45 had the highest rate of accidents in 2011
  • The time of day with the highest rate of accidents is from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • 86% of drivers drink and eat while driving
  • 77.7% of accidents occur on clear, sunny days – This one doesn’t necessarily mean weather isn’t a safety issue. It could mean that many fleets avoid driving in severe weather as a safety precaution, or reduce the number of vehicles on the road. It could also mean that drivers get more cautious as the weather worsens, lessening the chance of accident because they are paying much more attention to their surroundings.

Improve the Bottom Line

Reducing costs/increasing revenue is one of the biggest challenges facing fleet managers. It’s a constant struggle as some of these costs and revenue sources, such as fuel costs, are outside your control. The economy can also make a big impact, affecting the overall business climate as well  as the willingness of customers to continue services. Improving revenue and/or reducing costs could also mean targeting a specific problems, such as improving driver productivity, improving driver retention, lowering insurance costs, and improving route efficiency.

Overall, improving the bottom line is a balancing act where everyone needs to be kept happy as initiatives are put into place. You may want to reduce vehicle acquisition costs, for example, but you also need to purchase vehicles that your drivers will like to use. You also don’t want to invest in an initiative that doesn’t equate to savings, or recoup its investment fast enough.

Improve Your Carbon Footprint

The most effective way to improve your carbon footprint is to work on your fuel efficiency. That’s what Midwest retailer Meijer did, and credits its 60% carbon footprint reduction to fuel efficiency and the implementation of the EPA’s near-zero emission standards. Because of these efforts, Meijer is now the largest all-clean diesel fleet in North America.

Fuel efficiency isn’t the only way to improve your carbon footprint. If your fleet is growing over the next 12 months, then you can consider great fleet vehicle picks such as hybrid or electric vehicles as they would reduce your footprint. Your fleet could also start by coming up with metrics to measure your carbon footprint. You can’t improve what you can’t measure, and unlike safety and revenue, the carbon footprint doesn’t easily come with data and indicators to show you who well you’re doing.

Although there are many ways to meet these resolutions over the next 12 months, there is only one way that can accomplish all of them: nitrogen tire inflation. Putting nitrogen in your tires improves safety and compliance by keeping tires at proper pressure and tire for longer periods of time. This decreases the chances of a blowout. Having tires at proper tire pressure for longer periods of time improves your bottom line by reducing your fuel and maintenance costs. You’re no longer wasting gas and reducing tire life because your vehicles have under-inflated tires. Nitrogen tire inflation also improves your carbon footprint because there will be fewer tires in landfills and less gas used in the long run. All of that is great for the environment.

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5 Great Fleet Vehicle Picks

On December 19, 2013, in Fuel Efficiency, Managed Fleets, by allisonmreilly
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This is a guest post from Bob Carlson. Bob retired last year from a 40-year career teaching high school math. Blogging keeps him out of trouble with the wife.

For fleet operators looking to add vehicles to their fleet, the overall cost of maintaining and operating any size vehicle is a major consideration. Any decent fleet operator is always looking for ways to cut costs—for instance, some fleet owners are installing nitrogen-filled tires on their vehicles, thanks to their reliability under heavy use and their fuel-saving potential. The data analysis firm Vincentric recently held its annual Best Fleet Value awards, highlighting the top models for fleet operators based on a variety of factors, including operating and opportunity costs. Here are five notable vehicles that got a nod for great value in their respective categories:

Ford C-Max Energi SEL

Photo by Mariordo via Wikimedia Commons

The C-Max Energi is one of several hybrids on Vincentric’s list, but it’s the only plug-in hybrid that made the cut. The C-Max offers the lowest taxes and opportunity costs of all the current picks over the three-year ownership period, but offers higher-than-average fuel costs in its segment.

Ford F-150 XL Reg Cab 2WD

Photo by IFCAR via Flickr

The F-150 isn’t just a hit with consumers in search of a reliable and dependable truck. Fleet buyers also see the half-ton full-size pickup truck’s proven credentials in the field and elsewhere, as well as its lower-than-average insurance, maintenance and operating costs. The F-150 also offers a unique fuel-saving proposition in the form of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost six-cylinder engine, capable of achieving an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway in two-wheel drive guise. However, it remains to be seen how fleets will cope financially or time-wise with the engine’s added complexity. According to Ford, sales of the EcoBoost-equipped F-150 have already reached 400,000 units in the United States.

Nissan Leaf S

Photo by Tennen-Gas via Wikimedia Commons

According to data from Vincentric, the Leaf S offers better-than-average depreciation and extraordinarily low taxes due to federal and state incentives, but it’s on par with others in its segment in terms of fuel, maintenance and repair costs. The Leaf’s all-electric drivetrain also provides fleets with an economical way to shrink their carbon footprint and flex their eco-friendly credentials.

Buick Enclave Convenience FWD

Photo by IFCAR via Flickr

The Enclave is one of four Buicks that made the cut, taking top honors in the convenience four-door utility segment. Vincentric notes that Buick’s full-size crossover offered the lowest lifecycle costs in 15 of its 20 deciding criteria. Not only does it offer the lowest three-year ownership costs across the board, it also surprises many premium fleet owners with its exceptional level of luxury and comfort.

Hyundai Sonata GLS 2.4

Photo by IFCAR via Wikimedia Commons

For 2013, the Sonata proves itself as a competent choice in the mid-size sedan segment, especially in the face of strong competition from Ford and Toyota. As with last year’s Sonata, the 2013 model offers three-year fuel, depreciation and repair costs that are well-below segment averages.

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saving fuel managed fleetsThis is a guest post from Robert J. Hall,  president of Track Your Truck. Track Your Truck is a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.

Cars, trucks, and other modes of transportation are responsible for about 28 percent of all GHG (greenhouse gases) produced in the United States. With the emergence of the “Green Movement,” businesses are honing in on methods for controlling GHG emissions and tracking their fleets’ carbon footprint. Fuel cost reductions, government assistance, low road taxes, and a positive image all stand to be gained from a sustainable approach to fleet management, but mostly businesses are concerned with the state of our planet’s environment.

A greener planet is good for all of us; here’s how your fleet can be part of that.

GPS Fleet Tracking

Among many other benefits, a GPS fleet tracking system can significantly reduce fuel consumption, subsequently reducing your company’s carbon footprint. GPS fleet tracking consists of hardware on your vehicles and software for the management of your fleet from a computer. GPS fleet tracking systems offer an overhead view of many different aspects of your fleet.

GPS fleet tracking makes oversight into the activities, locations and fuel consumption of your drivers possible, allowing for the most efficient use of your equipment. Utilizing GPS fleet tracking allows you to bring down out-of-route miles, lower carbon dioxide emissions, and lower costs all around.

Oversight and management of your fleet this way typically reduces idle time, further reducing fuel consumption. GPS fleet tracking systems notify you when any of your drivers are idling for an excessive period of time so action can be taken. Additionally, GPS fleet tracking can provide you with speed alerts and reports. If one of your drivers is speeding, you will be alerted. In addition, the driver will automatically be reminded to slow down. This eliminates excessive fuel waste as a result of speeding and increases the efficiency with which your fleet operates.

Maintenance

You can save on fuel waste with regular maintenance to your vehicles. Making sure that your fleet is in top shape ensures that it is also running at its most efficient level. GPS fleet tracking systems can be utilized, making a maintenance schedule simple.

Regular oil changes, spark plug replacements and changing air filters can make your vehicles burn fuel more efficiently, requiring less fuel and ultimately reducing GHG emissions. Through integration, your GPS fleet tracking system can alert you when maintenance is needed, saving time and keeping your fleet running at its most optimal level. You’ll automatically know when filters or tires need replacing or other work needs to be done.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Lastly, a move to electric or hybrid vehicles for your fleet is one scenario that should be considered. Don’t be deterred by the initial cost; moving to a hybrid or completely electric fleet has proven a high ROI thanks to overall fuel savings.

Moving to a hybrid or electric fleet is the ultimate sustainable approach to reducing your carbon footprint. Additional benefits include lower road taxes and the positive perception that comes with “going green” in the eyes of the public. The U.S. government also provides assistance to companies who are switching to alternative fuels, providing technical support and public recognition.

Not only are there tax breaks, assistance, and cost reductions to be gained when you move to sustainable fleet management; you are also reducing emissions and doing your part to improve Earth’s environment, a noble goal.

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