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Rising Tire Prices Take a Bite Out of Fleet Budgets

Tire industry experts foresee another round of tire price increases during calendar-year 2012. In the past, national account tire manufacturers have done their best to shield the fleet industry from price increases by holding prices for a 12-month period. Nowadays, there is concern that national account vendors will no longer be able to continue to absorb these cost increases. READ MORE

The Forecast Is for Higher Tire Prices in 2012

The multiple price increases for replacement tires occurring year-to-date for calendar-year 2011 point to more increases on the horizon. Most tire industry experts foresee tire price hikes continuing for the balance of this calendar-year, with expectations of another round of pricing increases in calendar-year 2012. There are a variety of factors that will influence future tire price. READ MORE

Impact of Future CAFE Standards on Resale Values

The cost to design and build vehicles to meet the higher 2017-2021 fuelefficiency standards will average an additional $2,000 to $6,000 per vehicle. Proponents of the higher CAFE standards argue the higher acquisition costs will be offset by much greater fuel savings. However, is there a diminishing return on cost savings as fuel efficiency increases? Kelley Blue Book thinks so. READ MORE

Overloading is the No. 1 Danger Facing Your Fleet

Overloading is an ongoing industry problem. Besides violating numerous state and federal regulations, when a vehicle is overloaded its emergency handling capability is reduced, operating expenses increase, and service lives decrease. Statistics show that overloaded and improperly loaded trucks are among the leading causes of truck accidents and the number one cause of unscheduled maintenance. READ MORE

Weight Reduction as a Green Fleet Strategy

There's a direct correlation between vehicle weight, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Every pound of extra weight requires an engine to work harder, increasing fuel consumption and, as a consequence, increasing tailpipe emissions. For instance, an extra 100 lbs. in vehicle weight can reduce mpg up to 2 percent. If you reduce vehicle weight, you reduce fuel consumption,and, by default, you will decrease emissions. Here are some ways to put your fleet on a "diet." READ MORE

Budget Cutbacks Impacting Turnaround Times on Fleet-Related DMV Services

Decreases in property and sales tax revenues have created budgetary shortfalls for most state governments. Many Department of Motor Vehicles offices have closed branch locations, reduced workforce through layoffs, implemented hiring freezes, shortened hours of operation, eliminated overtime, and instituted work furloughs for remaining employees. In some states, this has increased turnaround times for fleet-related DMV services. Some see this as being an ongoing issue for the years to come. READ MORE

Higher Operating Costs Forecast for CY-2012

Fleet operating costs are forecast to trend higher in calendar-year 2012. Replacement tire prices are expected to increase 6-10 percent due to higher raw material costs and higher commodity prices. In addition, higher commodity prices will put upward pressure on component costs. Similarly, inflation will put upward pressure on labor rates in high-cost markets. The one bright spot is that fuel prices are forecast to remain at 2011 levels due to the ongoing sluggish economy. READ MORE

MVRs Miss Many Red-Light Camera Infractions

Leased vehicles are registered in the lessor's name. As a consequence, some drivers with multiple red-light camera violations may go undetected by corporate safety and HR departments. Since a red-light camera violation is charged to the lessor - the registered owner of the vehicle - in many states, it won't appear on the driver's MVR. Because it is likely that red-light camera infractions won't appear on an MVR, an employer won't know they occurred if only relying on MVR violation history. READ MORE

Right-Sizing Is an Easy Way to Green Your Fleet

There’s a direct correlation between vehicle weight, fuel economy, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ultimately, the fleet application dictates vehicle size. But when it is possible to do so, right-sizing vehicles reduces fuel consumption, which, in turn, reduces GHG emissions. Right-sizing is a complex strategy that goes far beyond simply downsizing to a smaller class of vehicle. READ MORE

Pros & Cons of New Medium- & Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel Standards

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks comprise 4 percent of the total vehicles on the road, but account for 20 percent of the fuel consumed and 20 percent of the greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by the transportation sector. Now, for the first-time ever, fuel economy standards for heavy- and medium-duty trucks over 8,500 lbs. will be regulated by the federal government. Here are the pros and cons of this new mandate. READ MORE

Resale Values Forecast to Decline 10-15% by 2014 as Used-Vehicle Supply Increases

Today’s high resale values are an anomaly caused by the shortage of used vehicles in the wholesale market due to the extremely low sales of new vehicles during the 2008-2011 timeframe. Nowadays, everyone is a hero when it comes to getting top dollar for their out-of-service fleet vehicles. However, these artificially high prices will ultimately decline as used-vehicle supply increases. READ MORE

Modifying Driver Behavior: The 'Last Mile' in Greening a Fleet

If you are constrained by equipment limitations, the "last mile" to achieving corporate sustainability objectives is modifying driver behavior. This is possibly the greatest opportunity available to fleet managers to green their fleets. READ MORE

Vehicle Remote Starting and Door Unlocking Can be Hacked

Recently, a security systems consultant demonstrated that the technology used to link a car to a smart phone can be hacked to gain control of these vehicle functions. The demonstration showed that the wireless communication protocols between a server and a vehicle can be intercepted allowing a hacker to “reverse engineer” the encrypted software protocols. Once the software protocols are replicated, a hacker can maliciously communicate with a vehicle to unlock doors or start the engine. READ MORE

Proposed 2025 CAFE Standards to be the Catalyst for the Increased Hybridization of Fleets

The 2025 CAFE rules will have a dramatic impact on the types of future vehicles in fleet operations. Currently, no OEM can meet the 2025 CAFE standard of 54.5 mpg, which will double the average EPA-rated fuel economy for all OEMs selling vehicles in the U.S. in less than two decades. Today, only a handful of models get 39 mpg or more. To achieve this standard, the government plans to incentivize the use of advanced technologies, such as hybrid powertrains and vehicle electrification. READ MORE

A Double Whammy for Truck Fleets: Ticket ‘Inflation’ and ‘Malicious Compliance’

Ticket fees have escalated dramatically and there appears to be a trend toward "malicious compliance," all for the sake of generating revenue. It's not uncommon for multiple tickets to be issued for the same violation due to overlapping regulations and the 'latitude' of interpretation afforded to officers. Plus, officers are providing fewer warnings and increasingly citing minor infractions, especially equipment violations. Increased citations negatively impact a fleet's DOT rating under CSA. READ MORE

Fleets Report Aggressive Efforts to Collect Delinquent Unpaid Tickets and Toll Violations

As many states combine delinquent ticket data into a single database, there’s an increased effort by government entities to go after unpaid violations, some as old as 10 years. In the past, political subdivisions within a state operated independent of the state DMV. Now, the databases of these jurisdictions are merged into the state DMV database, making it easier to identify and collect on unpaid tickets. Fleets have seen significantly more violations handed over to collection agencies. READ MORE

Wholesale Inventory Shortage of Medium-Duty Trucks Fuels Higher Resale Values

The decreased volume of new medium-duty trucks sold from 2008-2010 has created a tight inventory of used trucks in today's wholesale market. As a result, demand is exceeding supply, especially for lower-mileage medium-duties in good condition, which has exerted positive upward pressure on resale prices across the board. READ MORE

Does Automatic Payment of Camera Tickets Violate a Driver’s Due Process Rights?

Does automatic payment of a photo-enforcement ticket implicitly presume guilt and deny a driver due process? Some fleet drivers have been cited for running a red light and had the fine paid, all without ever knowing about it or given the due process opportunity to contest the citation. In addition to possible due process concerns, an employee may have a claim for wrongful termination if your failure to provide notice of the infraction ultimately cost the employee his or her license. READ MORE

Double Digit Odometer Fraud Between 2007 - 2010

“Clocking” is the illegal process of rolling back an odometer to a mileage lower than the actual miles driven. This crime is most prevalent with late-model vehicles, which have accumulated high mileage in a relatively short period of time, such as typically occurs with fleet vehicles. If you think odometer tampering is a thing of the past, you should think again. From 2007 to 2010, there has been a double-digit increase in odometer tampering. READ MORE

The Best Green Fleet Strategy is to Reduce Fuel Consumption

If you want to green your fleet by reducing emissions, you need to decrease fuel consumption. Up to 30 percent of a vehicle's fuel efficiency is impacted by driver behavior. The way an employee drives make a big difference in the volume of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emitted by a company vehicle. Every unnecessary gallon of diesel burned creates 22.1 lbs. of CO2. The quickest way to reduce fuel consumption is to modify employee driving behavior. READ MORE

The Impact of CAFE on Fleet Procurement

I foresee fleet procurement patterns changing due to impending federal-mandated corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards in 2016 and 2025. Government CAFE mandates for higher fuel economy, coupled with higher fuel prices, will change the vehicle portfolio mix offered by many OEMs, which in turn will ultimately change the asset composition of tomorrow’s fleets. READ MORE

A New Emerging Fleet Issue – ‘Burnout’

My takeaway from last April’s NAFA I&E Conference was the extent to which fleet managers are being stretched to their limits. The catalyst has been the recent economic downturn, which decimated what little staff may have been at the disposal of many fleet managers. Time constraints have caused a fleet manager’s daily activity to be a "juggling act," which has devolved into “crisis management” of putting out an endless stream of "fires." READ MORE

The Uncontrollable Component of Fleet OTD

Fleet vehicles are vulnerable to order-to-delivery (OTD) delays because most fleet orders are concentrated among a handful of models. There are four components to the OTD cycle: ordering, scheduling, production, and delivery.The weak link is the delivery component. For the past 10 years, the nationwide rail car shortage has been a factor in fleet delivery delays. This promises to continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. Here's why. READ MORE

The Ongoing Used-Vehicle Shortage Favors a Short-Cycling Replacement Strategy

Nearly all fleet-related costs, both fixed and operating, are influenced by when a vehicle is replaced. Today’s exceptionally strong wholesale market caused by the shortage of used vehicles offers commercial fleet managers an “out-of-the box opportunity” to short cycle vehicles. A shorter 24-month replacement cycle will maximize resale values, reduce operating costs and downtime, increase negotiating leverage with OEMs, and improve driver morale, READ MORE

Time to Add a New Component in Calculating Total Cost of Ownership

Senior management at many U.S. companies continues to support corporate sustainability and green fleet initiatives. In the past, “green” was difficult to “pencil out” when calculating vehicle lifecycle costs, but those days appear to be ending. READ MORE

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Mike Antich

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Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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