5 metrics that municipalities should be tracking for fleet utilization

fleet utilization

Tracking the utilization of your fleet is a surefire way to grow closer to your goals. However, keeping tabs on your vehicles as a municipal fleet manager can be hard—and harder still if relying on manual observations alone.

The best way to monitor vehicles at scale is to connect with fleet tracking software and simplify operations. But not all fleet managers feel comfortable making this leap—in fact, 60% don’t know how much data could improve operations.

Fortunately, you can easily identify important fleet metrics and translate them into your fleet tracking software. This article discusses everything that you need to know about fleet utilization metrics and the critical benchmarks with which you can measure your facility.

Benchmarking your municipal fleet utilization metrics

Understanding the total utilization of your fleet starts with benchmarking their performance through existing measurements. According to Government Fleet in 2021, the average vehicle utilization rate (or miles per vehicle) was as follows:

  • Civilian agencies: 7,029
  • Average for all government agencies: 6,327

Most government entities added 6,000 miles to their fleet vehicles during that twelve-month period.

Now let’s look at the average cost per mile as they relate to government fleets:

  • Passenger vehicles: $0.74
  • Trucks: $1.15
  • Other (like school buses): $2.98
  • Average for all vehicles: $1.01

Civilian agencies saw additional costs of around $0.81 per mile.

It’s essential to look into these fleet utilization benchmarks to determine the performance of your municipal organization. If your average utilization rate or cost per mile is much higher than these numbers, you may want to look at other metrics to find disharmony in your fleet.

The five fleet utilization metrics that your municipality needs to track

You might not know what specific data you should track for your public fleet. Every municipality needs these five utilization metrics.

1. Fuel economy

Approximately 24% of your fleet’s operating costs are sunk into fuel and gasoline, so having a solid understanding of how much you’re spending can help you make more cost-effective decisions.

Fuel economy generally includes three major sub-metrics: idle time, estimated cost, and run time. You can calculate all three of these using vehicle tracking software. You can also use fuel economy statistics to find vehicles slated for replacement. For example, if certain vehicles cost more than the revenue that they generate, you may want to look for a different solution (like EVs).

2. Vehicle utilization

Vehicle utilization rates help you answer a simple question: how much would changes in your rolling stock affect organizational productivity?

Most vehicle utilization rates should be close to 80% or higher. Significantly lower or higher numbers may call for rightsizing your fleet. To rightsize your municipal fleet, you can:

  • Sell vehicles
  • Reallocate their departments
  • Lease from or to other agencies in your municipal area

The choice is up to you.

3. Maintenance costs

Maintenance cost metrics can help you determine how much money it costs to maintain a vehicle. These numbers typically include planned and unplanned maintenance and span the entire lifecycle of a given vehicle.

It’s possible to calculate fleet maintenance costs based on paper reports and service receipts. However, the process may be much simpler if you keep records of service in a cloud-based platform (including fleet maintenance software).

4. Driver safety

Understanding and maintaining the safety of all drivers is critical in the operation of your municipal fleet. Tracking driver safety allows you to keep tabs on accidents and reduce liabilities both now and in the future.

It may be wise to use a benchmark number to monitor the safety of your fleet. Today, the average statistic for fleet vehicle accidents is approximately 0.504 crashes per million miles. You can attempt to lower anything higher than this by implementing telematics or in-cab video tools.

5. Lifecycle costs

The lifecycle cost of your fleet vehicle can help you make informed decisions about scrapping, replacing, or repairing a vehicle. Vehicles that become too expensive should be sold or replaced, so you can make more cost-effective acquisitions in the future.

Most fleet managers calculate vehicle lifecycle costs by dividing overall costs by total revenue per mile. However, you can also use fleet management software to track costs with a more advanced formula, such as:

  • Lifecycle Cost = Initial Cost + Present Value of All Recurring Costs – Present Value of Residual Value

Tracking fleet utilization through advanced software

Fleet management software is the easiest way to track municipal fleet utilization metrics. Research suggests that nine in ten fleet managers see a positive ROI within twelve months or less.

There are two major ways to acquire fleet management software for your organization:

  1. RFPs: Manually writing a request for proposal
  2. Cooperative contracts: Leveraging competitively solicited contracts to find the right software for your fleet utilization needs

With Sourcewell, you can browse hundreds of cooperative contracts with no obligation—just register online!

See how easy it is to optimize every aspect of your fleet—cut costs and improve safety using Sourcewell’s cooperative purchasing program. Streamline the public procurement process by choosing from hundreds of suppliers already on contract. Sourcewell’s procurement experts competitively solicit and award contracts on behalf of 50,000 participating agencies in North America. Sourcewell has been a government-empowering organization since 1978. Check out our contracts here.