Fleet leaders ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2013; expect ‘modest’ fuel price increases

Dec. 19, 2012
GreenRoad, a leader in driver performance management, published on December 11 results from a “Fleet Leader 2013 Outlook” study

GreenRoad, a leader in driver performance management, published on December 11 results from a “Fleet Leader 2013 Outlook” study. According to the study, the majority of fleet leaders, 54%, are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about 2013, only 11% are ‘very optimistic’, and nearly a third, 30%, identify themselves as ‘neutral’ about the year ahead. Nearly all fleet leaders, 70%, think the price of fuel will ‘modestly’ rise in 2013, and the clear majority, 81%, cite ‘reducing fleet fuel expenses’ as a significant or very significant fleet challenge.

The report recaps the opinions of today’s fleet leaders, representing fleets of all sizes from less than 25 vehicles to more than 1,000. These fleet leaders manage a broad range of fleet types across various industries, from public transit and school buses, to government, utility, construction, private delivery, business services and white collar fleets.

Although fleet leaders are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead, the underlying reasons for their outlooks vary. Less than half, 43%, cite positive reasons for their outlook, while 47% cite negative concerns. Most pressing concerns include the economy not recovering quickly enough or not at all; fuel costs remaining high or uncertainty around fuel costs; and limiting budget and resource constraints. Most positive reasons are related to anticipating new fleet technology implementations; adding new, fuel efficient vehicles to the fleet; seeing positive economic indicators; and having strong teams and well-trained drivers in-place.

“Overall we are encouraged by the optimism being expressed by fleet leaders,” said Tanya Roberts, senior vice-president of marketing for GreenRoad. “However, they still see plenty of challenges ahead. Fleet leaders remain concerned about fuel costs and macro-economic uncertainties, and they are interested in new, energy-efficient vehicles and new fleet technology implementations, such as driver performance management, that can mitigate these rising costs.”

Issues related to saving money are the top 2013 fleet leader challenges and managing the cost of fuel is predicted to be the number one 2013 challenge. According to the report, 25% of fleet leaders cite saving money on fuel as their top 2013 challenge. Improving vehicle maintenance-related expenses is the second most commonly cited challenge at 17%. And, ensuring drivers are driving safely and hiring and retaining qualified drivers tied as the third most pressing challenge.

Fleet leaders have a broad range of plans for dealing with higher fuel costs in 2013. Nearly 62% plan to purchase more fuel-efficient or alternative fuel vehicles; 40% plan to implement driver performance management technology.