A recent survey of fleet professionals that received more than 300 responses, GreenRoad’s “Fleet Leader 2013 Outlook” study, found that rising fuel prices are the biggest concern in 2013 for fleet managers. Respondents represent a range of fleet sizes, from 25 vehicles to more than 1,000, in utility, construction, private delivery, business services, white collar businesses, government and transit.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents (70%) said they believe fuel prices will rise “modestly” in 2013, and 81% cite “reducing fleet fuel expenses” as a significant or very significant fleet challenge. The main reason respondents cite rising fuel prices is “historical and current trends.” Other reasons include the economy, and supply and demand.
Despite concerns over rising fuel prices, 39% plan to purchase more fuel-efficient or alternative-fuel vehicles and 25% plan to implement some type of driver performance monitoring program that will help them drive more efficiently. Other common solutions include fleet GPS tracking (18%) and fuel cards (13%).
In terms of the top challenges facing respondents, “saving money on fuel” was the concern that got the most votes (at 25% of respondents). Reducing maintenance-related expenses was the second-place challenge, at 17%. Ensuring driver safety and hiring, and keeping qualified drivers rounds out the third and fourth challenges, respectively.
Types of technologies that fleet professionals plan to buy for their organizations to more effectively manage assets include smartphones or tablets for managers (12%), smartphones or tablets for drivers (11%), electronic onboard recorders or hours of service compliance technologies (11%) or an engine control module to record and report vehicle data (11%).
Outside of specific concerns, more than half of respondents are “cautiously optimistic” about their fleet operation in 2013, 11% are “optimistic” and 30% said they are “neutral” about the coming year.
In terms of their reasons for these views, 43% cited positive reasons, such as new technologies to better run a fleet becoming available or new, more efficient vehicles — whereas 47% cited negative reasons, such as the economy not recovering quickly (or not at all), high fuel costs, and political uncertainty.
GreenRoad conducted the survey in late November 2012.