Fuel on the Tyne
With around 350 vehicles to serve and approximately 1 million litres of fuel passing through its pumps every year, it was important to South Tyneside Council that fuel usage for all its vehicles could be closely monitored.
However, this is not just a question of budgets and spending, as the council is putting into place a number of initiatives to minimise fuel consumption and help with green issues. Alongside the forthcoming introduction of GPS monitoring to streamline journey times and lengths, two new Merridale Auditor GX units have been installed at South Tyneside’s Middlefield fuelling depot.[quote]We wanted to install a modern system that could give us detailed information on where the fuel was being used. Our view is very much that if you cannot measure it, you don’t know what fuel you are using and this means you cannot get a handle on how to make savings or stop excessive use.[/quote]
Supplied by MIS Fuel Monitoring Ltd. of Wolverhampton, the system uses smart keys and the entry of mileage readings from each vehicle to record details of fuelling transactions. This data, together with time and amount of fuel drawn, can then be downloaded as required to the fleet administration computer running Merridale FuelFX software. This in turn allows close monitoring of usage, and the production of analysis and management reports to help make the best decisions on how performance can be improved.
Fleet Operations Controller Brian Oliver explains: “We wanted to install a modern system that could give us detailed information on where the fuel was being used. Our view is very much that if you cannot measure it, you don’t know what fuel you are using and this means you cannot get a handle on how to make savings or stop excessive use. We chose MIS Fuel Monitoring Ltd. because they are specialists in the field and they were also competitive on both costing and service plus we had the assurance of professional installation and back-up if we ran into any problems.”
The Middlefield depot has a capacity of 40,000 litres for diesel and 7,500 litres each for petrol and gas oil and serves a number of different departments. These include waste and green waste operatives as well as Social Care and Health and South Tyneside Homes which as an Arms Length Management Organisation still has strong links to the council and uses the depot for refuelling. As you can imagine, this means that a wide range of vehicles pass through each day. South Tyneside Homes has about 200 light vans whilst Social Care and Health use a number of mini buses. Then there are the large refuse collection trucks, small plant units and a number of hire vehicles the council may have at any given time.
Each department is given a monthly report with more accurate data than they had previously, allowing them to see more specifically where fuel is used and which vehicles are using it. This is a big benefit to environmentally-conscious organisations such as South Tyneside Council as the scope for reducing fuel consumption can be more easily identified. Brian’s team are also able to produce exception reports based on MPG readings which can identify problems with fuel usage, for example if a particular vehicle has an issue which can then be looked at and fixed.