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nitrogen tire inflation for managed fleetsFuel costs are one of the biggest costs for managed fleets, but also one of the hardest to decrease without hurting fleet productivity.  Offsetting some of the expenses to drivers may have consequences on employee morale and retention . Reducing usage could mean fewer routes, fewer vehicles on the road, and less revenue overall. Fortunately, with the right data, fleet managers can save money on gas without long-term consequences on the fleet and the company. Here are four ways managed fleets can save money on fuel:

Implementing a Fuel Card Program

Every fleet manager wants to trust their employees, and a fuel card program may seem like a way to “look over everyone’s shoulder” as they refuel vehicles at the gas station. But, a program can eliminate the small non-fuel purchases that drivers add on, such as a soda or a pack of cigarettes. Each individual driver may not intend harm and deceit by adding those purchases, but if every driver is doing that, then every single one of those purchases will add unnecessary expenses to the fleet’s fuel costs. The drivers may not see their small non-fuel purchases as a big deal, but they do mean thousands of dollars spent on items that have nothing to do with refilling the tank.

Considering Fuel-Efficient Vehicles for Upcoming Fleet Purchases

Switching out the entire fleet for brand new vehicles is a massive and expensive overhaul, but when the time comes to purchase new vehicles, opting for more fuel-efficient models is a great way to start. With one or two fuel-efficient fleet vehicles, it’s easy to measure and compare the fuel economy between the old and the new vehicles. After that, those numbers can be extrapolated across a 100- or 1000-vehicle fleet to determine how much gas would be saved if every single vehicle in the fleet was a fuel-efficient model. This data can justify a gradual overhaul or switching out a few more vehicles.

Improving Route Planning with a Fleet-Tracking System

Utilizing a fleet-tracking system will provide a managed fleet with hard data on where vehicles are going and how they are getting there, highlighting various opportunities for improvement. For example, many GPS fleet tracking system show current traffic conditions, so drivers can opt for a different route, reducing travel time and gas usage. A tracking system can also show where any fleet vehicle is at any given time, so if someone needs to be dispatched to a specific location, the fleet manager will know which one is closest and can send that vehicle. Fleet tracking isn’t just to make sure that drivers aren’t using company vehicles for personal purposes on the weekends. The traffic and location data can be used to ensure that gas and time isn’t wasted needlessly.

Using Nitrogen Tire Inflation

Nitrogen can improve fuel economy by 3 percent by keeping tires at their proper tire pressure for longer periods of time. Although regular air can also be used to maintain proper tire pressure, nitrogen tires lose their pressure at a slower rate than those filled with regular air, thus providing the benefits of proper tire pressure (increased fuel economy, increased traction, increased tire life etc.) for much longer. Switching to nitrogen tire inflation does take an initial investment because fleets need to purchase a special machine for the inflation, but much like using a fleet vehicle with better gas mileage, the benefits exponentially increase with each vehicle that uses nitrogen.

Overall, saving money on gas requires tracking and measuring current usage so that the fleet can find ways to cut costs. It’s not enough to say, “we need to use less.” To save money on gas, fleets need to know where is being wasted and improve fuel economy or efficiency in those areas.

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nitrogen tire inflation for managed fleetsWhen managed fleets consider adopting nitrogen tire inflation, the biggest question about the change is the return on investment. If we spend the money on a few nitrogen inflation carts and implement the process, then when will the machines pay for themselves? What benefits will the fleet specifically see from nitrogen, when air is already 78 percent nitrogen?

The main benefit of nitrogen tire inflation is that nitrogen maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time than regular air, leading to whole host of other benefits to your fleet. To explain these benefits and how they impact your bottom line, we’re going to go through our money saving calculator and explain each section and how a fleet saves money with each section.

Miles Driven Per Year

The average fleet vehicle drives between 15,000 and 20,000 miles per year, but the average for your fleet may be higher or lower, depending on a variety of factors. Our money saving calculator needs this figure to determine the savings from the next three sections. To clarify, this number refers to the average number of miles for one vehicle in your fleet, since our calculator determines the savings based on one vehicle. It doesn’t not calculate the savings for an entire fleet, although that is easy to figure out once the calculator has the savings for one vehicle. Obviously, the more miles driven in a year, the savings your managed fleet could see from nitrogen tire inflation.

Average Price of Gas Per Gallon

Currently, the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.68. For diesel fuel, the average price is $3.88 per gallon. Nitrogen tire inflation improves your fleet’s fuel efficiency by maintaining proper tire pressure for a longer period of time. Proper tire pressure, by itself, increases fuel efficiency by three percent. Three percent doesn’t seem like a big deal, but multiply that across your 50, 1000, or 10,000 fleet vehicles driving on under-inflated or over-inflated tires, and your managed fleet is wasting money in fuel.

MPG

According to the most recent statistics, the average miles per gallon for U.S. fleet vehicles is 23.2 mpg.  The average for all cars in the U.S. is 24.6 mpg. If you happen to know the average miles per gallon for your fleet, or have a way to come up with that number, then use that number in the calculator. Otherwise, you’re welcome to use the average numbers that we have provided.

Cost of a Full Set of Tires

For a fleet vehicle that has four wheels (versus an 18-wheeler or any other specialized fleet vehicle), the cost of full set of tires is about $600. Besides the four tires, this price also includes mounting and balancing, disposal of the old tires, alignment and the valve stems. Since nitrogen tire inflation improves tire life and tread wear (because nitrogen maintains proper tire pressure for a longer period of time, so the tread wears evenly versus just the middle or the outer edge), a managed fleet gets more out of each $600 purchase. The tires last longer, so a managed fleet gets more value for its money. Because the tires last longer, the $600 purchase needs to be made less often.

Conclusion

If we put the average numbers into the calculator to determine the savings with nitrogen tire inflation (20,000 miles, $3.68 per gallon, 24 mpg and $600), then the annual savings for one fleet vehicle using nitrogen tires is $150.09. For one vehicles, that’s not a whole lot, which is why we don’t focus on encouraging nitrogen tires in the consumer market (we won’t actively discourage it either, to be clear).

But, for a managed fleet of 1,000 vehicles, then the fleet can save $150,000 using nitrogen tire inflation. That is a substantial amount of savings, especially when the fleet considers how much it is currently spending on tires, fuel, maintenance, safety and anything else needed to keep the each of the fleet’s vehicles running. Even for a fleet of 100 vehicles, where the annual savings would only be $15,000, is still the equivalent of a part-time employee. Implementing a nitrogen tire inflation program into your managed fleet may cost $15,000, but it certainly isn’t going to cost $150,000, so the return on investment is clear.

photo credit: State Farm via photopin cc

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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

nitrogen tire inflation myths paper

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nitrogen inflated tires

Count your savings when you put nitrogen in your tires!

Why should you pay extra to fill up your tires with nitrogen, instead of using the free regular air at the gas station? In these tough economic times, it may take a bit of convincing, but here at Nitrofleet99 we’ll run the numbers and show you the savings you can accrue. We’ll also highlight additional costs you may not be thinking about when filling up your tires with that free regular air.

We’ve written previously on how nitrogen tire inflation saves gas money and maintains the proper tire pressure of your tires. But, just exactly how much money can you save? Is it really worth it? As you’ll see, the answer is a resounding YES.

It costs anywhere from $3 to $10 per tire to fill it up with nitrogen, so lets presume you spend $40 to fill up your tires with nitrogen with Nitrofleet99. Your tires will lose between one and two pounds per square inch of air over the next six months (compared with the six to 12 that you would lose if you used regular air). So, in one year, you’ll spend $80 to keep your tires filled with nitrogen.

Now, let’s say that you drive 14,000 miles per year, and gas in your area costs, on average, $3.50 per gallon. Let’s also say that your vehicle gets 26 miles to the gallon (you haven’t yet purchased a hybrid). Divide 14,000 by 26 and you get approximately 538, the number of gallons of gas you use per year.

Multiply those gallons by $3.50, and you’ll find that in this situation, you are spending $1,883 per year on gasoline. However, with nitrogen, you can increase your fuel efficiency between three and four percent. So, four percent of $1,883 is about $75. With nitrogen tire inflation, you can save $75 per year on gasoline. That number goes up if gas prices go up, or your yearly mileage goes up. With just your gasoline savings, the nitrogen tire inflation service has pretty much paid for itself!

Because of the proper tire pressure that nitrogen tire inflation provides, you also save money with increased tire life and decreased risk of flats and blowouts. It costs about $400 to replace a full set of tires. But having your tires last longer, you have to replace them less often, saving you even more money. As you can see, nitrogen tire inflation pays off not only in savings, but in peace of mind.

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proper tire pressure

Make sure to check your tire pressure on a regular basis.

An easy way to save money with the tough economic times and the rising gas prices is to take proper care of your vehicle. By keeping up with maintenance checks, your car will not only last longer but will also cost less in repairs and upkeep in the long run. One aspect of car care that cannot be forgotten is proper tire maintenance. This means rotating your tires every 6,000 miles, and checking your tire pressure every other time you fill up at the gas station.

About 54 percent of Americans drive on under-inflated tires. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every one psi, or pound per square inch, drop in all four tires. The Department of Energy estimates that 3.56 million gallons of gas are wasted each day because of incorrectly inflated tires and advises motorists that they can improve gas mileage by approximately 3.3% by keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure. The main reason why motorists save money by maintaining proper tire inflation is because tires that wear evenly last longer before needing repair or replacement. Because a typical tire may also lose 1 to 2 psi a month if not checked and adjusted, uninformed motorists may be heading faster toward tire replacement than necessary.

One way to stop this decline toward tire replacement is to keep your tires properly inflated longer with nitrogen tire inflation. Just top off your tires with nitrogen next time you are at the service station, or even the next time you check you tire pressure, and you’ll notice a difference. Nitrogen permeates tire walls up to 4 times slower than air, so with nitrogen, you’ll see the same 1 to 2 psi loss in pressure over a period of six months, instead of the regular one month with regular air.

Therefore, you save money on overall car maintenance, because that’s fewer times you have to replace them or get them filled. It’s still recommended to do your scheduled maintenance checks and tire rotations, but you’ll have safer, more fuel-efficient tires. If needing an excuse to get to the mechanic or service station, now is as good a time as any for a checkup, since the summer travel season is just getting started. Getting your car ready for warm-weather driving should start with having the service department check the vehicle to look for specific problems, including safety issues, that may need to be corrected. It’s also a good time for maintenance, such as an oil change.


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proper tire pressure

A tire gauge is just one of many tools that a woman can use to keep her tire pressure in check.

Women are becoming a huge part of the automobile market. In the United States, women buy 68 percent of new cars and 65 percent of new tires. Sixty-five percent of women take their own vehicles to a repair shop for service, although, some repair industry experts estimate that the average may actually be closer to 80 percent. With all this in mind, it’s only fair, and good business, to include women in on information regarding proper vehicle maintenance.

Checking your tire pressure to make sure that the tires are inflated properly is one of those key aspects of proper vehicle maintenance. Investing just a few minutes on a regular basis in performing this simple task can increase your road safety, lengthen the life of your tires and significantly improve your fuel efficiency. Sure, you can get this done when you visit the repair shop, or taking the time to invest those extra few minutes. But, there’s a way to keep them properly inflated that would require less time and less checking: nitrogen tire inflation.

Nitrogen tire inflation is an excellent choice for busy women who don’t have the time to visit the repair shop, or are swamped enough with all the other things that need to be done that asking for a few extra minutes is a tough ask. Studies have found that a tire filled with nitrogen stays at the proper tire pressure three to four times longer than regular air, meaning you can worry less about your tires. You also don’t have to remove all the air from the tire before using nitrogen, so simply top off your tires with nitrogen when you do visit the repair shop (if your repair shop offers the service), and you’ll be on your way. Proper tire pressure is also the SINGLE most important factor to increasing tire life, so nitrogen tire inflation saves time and money in the long run. What a deal!

According to Women’s Health, only one percent of women check their tire pressure before a long trip, increasing the chance that we girls get in an accident in our last attempt to celebrate the summer. If you are planning a road trip this summer, then now is as good a time as any to check your tire pressure and try nitrogen tire inflation for the first time. For more information about inflating your tires with nitrogen, check out Nitrofleet99.

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The current national average for gas prices is $3.83 per gallon. That’s three cents up from last week, and 30 cents higher than a month ago. It may be time to make a gas buddy by taking a few moments only to find the cheapest gas in your area. Or simply drive less and ride your bike, or walk more. There are plenty of ways to save money on gas, so if you haven’t started thinking of ways to save yet, now would be the time to start.

Now, one way to save gas money is to make our vehicles more efficient. I don’t mean turning them into hybrids. I mean simply maintaining your vehicle, or doing a few small things just a little bit differently. So, what can be done to make your car more of a penny saver instead of a penny pincher?

An informal study from Carnegie Mellon University found that the average person who drives 12,000 miles yearly on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas, at a cost of $300-$500 a year. Keeping those tires properly inflated would save a few hundred dollars, which the average consumer could easily use in today’s economy. A better way to keep tires properly inflated longer is with nitrogen tire inflation. Keep in mind that regularly inflating your tire with nitrogen doesn’t replace the importance of checking your tire pressure regularly.

Inflating your tire with nitrogen also increases the life of your tire and your car. Nitrogen is a dry, non-corrosive gas and will reduce oxidation and rust due to the absence of oxygen and moisture. This will help minimize wheel corrosion to promote better bead sealing. Nitrogen tire inflation has routinely been used by airlines and racing vehicles, but the practice could prove beneficial for drivers who drive infrequently (car collectors, track drivers, snow tire users, motor home owners, etc).

The best thing about nitrogen tire inflation is that you don’t need to remove the air from you tires to make the switch. Why wait for your tires to lose pressure and risk something happening, when you can start saving money today?

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