Mobile fueling may enable drivers to spend more time doing their actual job, but it appears vocational fleets have yet to see enough benefits to justify the extra cost, according to a recent pulse survey conducted by Work Truck. The publication collected a total of 65 fleet professional responses (60 completed and 5 partially completed surveys) from March 18 to April 6, 2022. All respondents manage a fleet that includes light- and/or medium-duty trucks or vans.
The top three respondents identified themselves as corporate/executive management (including owner/operator), maintenance/shop/operations management, and other (including fleet manager and fleet coordinator). The top three lines of business include other (including landscaping, plumbing, and refrigeration); federal, state, or local government; and construction (mining, logging, concrete, paving, or excavating).
Those who responded have the following fleet breakdowns:
- Class 1 or 2 – 80%
- Class 3 – 67%
- Class 4 – 50%
- Class 5 – 52%
- Class 6 – 52%
- Class 7 – 55%
- Class 8 – 55%
Most had fleets with 2-50 vehicles (42%), 101-1,000 (30%), and 51-100 (17%).
A three-quarters of the respondents said they had never used a mobile fueling service before, while only 22% stated they had. Three percent said they had used one, but don’t anymore.
For those who had used a mobile fueling service, the top three benefits stated were improved productivity, reduced vehicle wear and tear, and reduced fuel card fraud/simplified billing. An interesting answer that came in under “other” was “reduced liability of vehicles having accidents in service stations.”
The top three challenges fleets faced when it came to using mobile fueling were cost, availability, and safety.
When asked what percentage of respondents’ fleets used mobile fueling on a regular basis, 38% said 1-25%; 23% said 26-50%; and 15% said 51-75%/76-99% (tie).
Fleet managers were given the opportunity to discuss why they use mobile fueling. Here are a few stand-out answers:
- “Fueling is done ‘off hours’ so it does not disrupt our operations. It saves time/money by not having to interrupt the flow of our business by having to stop to refuel, which can be time consuming. We are fueled twice weekly and have virtually eliminated outside fuel purchases.
- “It's been great once we worked through the pricing and trip charges. Drivers are scarce. Paying them to drive to a fueling station and wait while the gas flows is time they could be delivering.”
- “Mobile fueling has worked very well in the markets where we are able to deploy. The mobile fuel vendor integrates seamlessly with our current fuel card provider for transactional data capture and consolidated billing. Savings is represented in employee time and mileage savings.”
- “We use mobile fueling during snow removal events on the taxiway of the airfield. It allows our snow removal units to return to active duty quicker.”
For fleet professionals not using mobile fueling, “other” was the number one answer. Reasons included supplier honesty, not needed, not enough vehicles to justify, and already have fuel storage onsite. Availability and cost were other top factors.
When asked if they’d be willing to give mobile fueling a try if the reasons from the previous question weren't an issue, 47% said no, 28% weren’t sure, and 25% said yes.