With fuel costs on the rise and expected to rise again as we head into spring, you could argue that it’s more important than ever for fleet managers to understand the impact that fuel prices and fuel delivery methods can have on their bottom line.
While fuel prices vary significantly across areas of the United States, a recent report by GasBuddy predicted that a $4.00 national average is possible at some point in the coming months — not the greatest news for already stretched fuel budgets.
UFOs: Streamlined One-Stop Shop
If purchasing fuel at retail stations is your primary method for refueling vehicles and you’re looking to cut fuel costs and improve driver productivity — and who isn’t — exploring Unattended Fuel Outlets (UFOs) as a fuel delivery option is a wise move.
Each trip to a retail station requires time to get there, time to pay, time to refuel, and time to get back on the road. Each trip to a UFO also requires these steps, but there’s a big difference — refueling at a UFO is faster and more efficient than refueling at a retail station.
UFOs are unmanned, computerized, and fully automated, and provide commercial vehicles with secure and reliable fueling. There are no human operators on site, no retail store lines, no waiting in line for a pump, and no safety hazards that are associated with retail lots, such as maneuvering a large commercial vehicle.
Like other fuel delivery methods — mobile fueling, bulk fuel tanks, and retail fuel cards — UFOs provide multiple benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of UFOs to help you decide if your fleet could benefit from utilizing them.
Designed for Efficiency
UFOs are for commercial vehicles only and are designed to make maneuverability for heavy-duty and light trucks and other commercial vehicles easier and safer. For example, UFOs provide overhead clearance and space to accommodate wide turns.
Operational 24/7, UFOs are typically located within a specific geographic area that’s close to major roads and highways. This eliminates excessive miles looking for a station, which wastes time and fuel and also puts unnecessary miles on vehicles. More miles can lead to increased maintenance costs and shortened vehicle lifespan.
Reduced Fuel Costs
While fleet retail fuel cards provide savings and better fuel expense tracking over traditional credit cards or cash, cards used at UFOs give you even more savings and discounts than fleet retail fuel cards. That’s because UFOs are managed by the same provider as the member’s fleet fuel card provider. To that end, you can expect regular fuel discounts and also volume discounts. The more drivers use cards, the greater the savings.
Safe & Secure
UFOs are typically located in well-traveled areas that are suitable for commercial vehicles and are well-lit, maintained, and are usually equipped with security cameras. Cards accepted at UFOs are protected by Level III transaction data at the pump. To gain access to fuel, drivers must enter specific information/PIN that is only known to them. Should card fraud occur, providers can take immediate action since the cards are owned and operated by the same provider.
With no crowded lots to maneuver, no waiting for an available pump, and no retail store, UFOs make it fast and easy for drivers to fuel up and quickly get back on the road, which means more deliveries and jobs completed and completed on time, which is a boon for customer satisfaction
Drivers stop at UFOs for one thing only — fuel — and fuel is all UFOs offer.
Consistent Fuel Quality
For vehicles to run optimally, fuel quality needs to be consistent. Retail fuel stations may have premium fuel, but that doesn’t mean that the quality is always consistent. With UFOs, drivers get high-quality fuel with every fill-up. Plus, UFOs offer fuels that can’t be found at retail stations, such as CNG and E85 ethanol.
Interested in improving efficiency, lowering costs, and gaining control over your fuel costs? A good starting point is talking with a reputable fuel provider about opening a UFO account.