Fleet Management Statistics – The Future of Fleets

Trucks at a gas station

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Every successful fleet operator should anticipate future trends. The world of transportation and logistics is turbulent due to the rising pressures of fluctuating gas prices, driver shortages and maintenance issues. That being said, the industry is also facing many exciting new, yet challenging, developments in the form of alternative fuels, electrification and even automation.

But how are fleets in the US really responding to industry trends? Where are savings being made, and what is being prioritized in 2023?

To answer these questions, we’ve collected the key fleet management statistics of 2023, as well as conducted our own independent survey with 200 respondents from the fleet industry to gain a clear idea of fleet management today and to understand where the US ranks when it comes to the race towards electrification.

Top Fleet Management Statistics

Here’s an overview of the top statistics for fleets in 2023.

  • Trucking fleets are responsible for transporting 72.5% of America’s freight by weight.
  • Estimates place gas as 25% of total spending, making the cost of gas the most significant challenge for fleets.
  • The most common priorities for fleet operators in the next year are to reduce costs, increase operational efficiency, and increase the productivity of drivers.
  • Telematics are the most widely used fleet technology, with 83% of respondents in our survey stating they use telematics.
  • The majority (48%) of respondents place driver safety as a top operational priority.
  • 61% of fleet operators in the US believe that the proposed new automobile emissions standards would increase the number of electric vehicles.
  • The majority of respondents (74%) felt that the federal government should provide more financial support and guidance to help them transition to electric vehicles.

Our Research

In order to gain a clearer view of the external issues facing commercial fleet managers today, we conducted an independent study with 300+ respondents from both the US and UK. This article predominately focuses on the US findings only. The purpose of the study was to define the challenges that commercial fleets were facing in 2023, and understand how fleets managers are responding to them. In our study, we found commercial fleets are currently facing multiple challenges in 2023, ranging from market forces (e.g. inflation, fuel cost rising, staff shortages) to government intervention (e.g. regulatory compliance, emission targets). This article highlights the key areas.

General Fleet Management Statistics

  • With trucks being responsible for transporting 72.5% of America’s freight by weight, fleets have experienced an increase in demand over the last 12 months.
  • This relates to a larger industry growth trend, with the fleet management market projected to reach $52.50 billion by 2030.

While fleets are facing growing demand, they are also up against significant increases in fleet operating costs. The most significant challenge to fleets in the US, according to our survey, is the cost of gas. Gas has traditionally been one of the largest costs for fleets (certain estimates place it around 25% of spend) so price rises have a significant impact on the industry. Similarly, inflation and supply-chain issues have increased the cost of vehicles and vehicle parts, forcing organisations to spend more in order to complete their daily operations.

  • According to the EIA, Gas prices are currently averaging $3.39 and are set to drop to $3.30 in 2024. This is lower than 2022’s $3.97 but still not returning to pre-2022 rates.
  • In the US, the top three operational risks relate directly to keeping vehicles on the road: cost of fuel (31%), vehicle breakdowns/mechanical issues (14%), and cost of maintenance (13%)
  • The most common priorities in the next year are reducing costs, increasing operational efficiency, and increasing the productivity of drivers.

Fleet Technology Statistics

Since many fleet managers’ main focus is on cost reduction in the face of rising fuel costs and inflation, the adoption of new technology is not as prominent as it might be in a less harsh economic climate.

  • Telematics are the most widely used fleet technology, with 83% of respondents in our survey stating they use telematics.
  • Telematics use is significantly more widespread in larger fleets. Of the US respondents, 93% of fleets with 50+ vehicles employ the use of telematics products in the fleet management strategy.
  • Being able to easily locate vehicles is the biggest benefit of telematics (29% of all respondents) followed by Improved Driver Safety and Behaviour (27%)
  • Whilst using telematics can result in fuel saving (through promoting efficient driving), only a small minority of respondents (6%) viewed it as the biggest benefit.
  • 52% of fleets with 3 vehicles or fewer use telematics.
  • 64% of fleet managers are currently using a GPS fleet tracking solution in their organization
  • 31% of GPS tracking users reported a positive ROI within the first 6 months
  • 40% of survey respondents in the US say budget constraints are the biggest barrier to the adoption of fleet technology

Though it may not be your top priority given the current financial pressures facing fleet operators, telematics products can make your operation run a lot smoother. The majority of fleet managers are currently operating with the help of technology. If you haven’t already invested, you may want to consider taking a look to improve your driver’s safety, behavior and overall smooth running of operations.

Secondly, GPS trackers can improve your operational efficiency by helping you quickly locate vehicles while they’re on the road. This will give you a better oversight of your whole fleet, which may not be achievable without the added help from technology.

Fleet Safety Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated a reduction in traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2023. Research shows that an estimated 9,330 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. While it’s a significant figure, it represents a decrease of about 3.3% compared to 9,645 fatalities estimated in the first quarter of 2022. Nevertheless, safety remains a top priority for fleet managers.

  • 48% of US respondents place driver safety as a top operational priority.
  • 70% of surveyed fleet managers consider the 2020 Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to have created a safer working environment for drivers.
  • 48% of respondents have prioritized driver training both in the last 12 months and the 12 months to come, so it’s clear that it remains are the forefront of fleet managers’ strategy.
  • 42% reported considerably fewer safety incidents since using fleet tracking software to monitor driver behavior.
  • Due to tighter budgeting, there has been a drop in fleet managers’ investment in dashcams from 52% to 37%, despite them being a key tool in monitoring driver behavior for safe driving.

While the adoption of new technology may not be the most pressing concern for fleets in the current economic climate, it can indirectly help with cost-cutting. One method is the improvement of driver behavior and safety. As well as making the roads safer, having safer drivers means fewer accidents and less chance of vehicle damage or costly legal fees.

Having a trusty fleet technology set-up for monitoring and training purposes can help relieve you of some of the pressure of fleet safety concerns. Dash cams are one of the key components in any fleet safety strategy as they protect you from fraudulent lawsuits and surveil goings-on both in the cab and on the road.

Fleet Sustainability Statistics

While electrification is a big topic in the fleet industry, there seems to be a discrepancy between its prevalence in theory versus in practice, especially when looking at the USA rather than Northern European countries. Tax policies in European countries such as Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK have incentivized the swap from ICE (internal combustion engine) to EVs (electric vehicles). Since the US has no such federal initiative, the move towards electric vehicles is happening at a slower pace.

  • 65% of our survey respondents in the US have not taken any action toward electrifying their fleet
  • 27% of survey respondents in the US have not yet taken any steps to reduce their carbon emissions
  • 14% of survey respondents in the US do not have any aims to become carbon neutral
  • 27% of survey respondents in the US expect to achieve carbon neutrality within the next 5-10 years.
  • 24% of survey respondents in the US have never considered switching to electric vehicles

Some have in fact considered to switching to EVs, for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with eco-friendliness.

  • 23% of survey respondents in the US have considered switching to EVs to reduce costs
  • 21% of survey respondents in the US have considered it to remain competitive in the future
  • 21% of survey respondents in the US have considered switching to EVs to meet compliance standards

Even if there is a desire to switch to EVs, there are a number of barriers in the way of making a full switch.

  • 33% consider economic viability to be the biggest barrier to commercial fleet electrification
  • 27% consider the lack of charging points and infrastructural support to be the biggest barrier to commercial fleet electrification
  • 22% believe that current EV models don’t meet the necessary operational requirements to carry out service in the way current vehicles do

In April 2023, the Biden administration proposed new automobile emission standards which would require vehicle manufacturers to drastically increase the number of electric vehicles they produce. The Guardian reported that two of every three new vehicles sold in the US will need to be electric, should the proposal go ahead.

  • 61% of fleet operators in the US believe that the proposed new automobile emissions standards would increase the number of electric vehicles used by commercial fleets.
  • The vast majority of respondents (74%) felt that the federal government should provide greater financial support and guidance to help them transition to electric vehicles.
Summary

While it’s a global trend at the moment, fleet electrification and the move toward carbon neutrality is significantly less dominant in the US than in other parts of the world.

A key trend for US fleets is the improvement of driver safety and behavior, with 48% of US respondents viewing it as a top priority. Another issue is the financial pressures of running a fleet operation with unstable gas prices, inflation, and driver shortages making the investment in new technology more of a luxury than an essential. More attention is currently being dedicated to more immediate operational concerns.

That being said, when looking at the bigger picture, the investment in telematics products can overall help increase operational efficiency and driver safety. As many as 42% of respondents who have implemented GPS tracking software and/or telematics have seen a decrease in accidentsDash cams are another way in which you can maximize oversight of your fleet and encourage safer driving, overall leading to fewer safety incidents.

If you’re looking for a low-investment way to save money, consider signing up for a fuel card program, if you haven’t already. Many programs will set you back less than $2 per month and can offer you rebates on fuel, expense management tools and even extra discounts on vehicle accessories.

Written by:
Alice is one of Expert Market's resident software experts, helping businesses improve their efficiency or reach, with an emphasis on productivity software, CRM and telecommunications.