As adoption of alternative fuel continually expands across the country, fleets are finding more efficient ways to integrate new fuels within their existing operations. In this blog, we’ll highlight benefits, both in terms of convenience and money, that onsite fueling can provide.
What is onsite fueling?
Instead of using a public fueling station that may be miles away from your location, onsite fueling (also called private fueling) provides conveniences your drivers and bottom line will appreciate. With an onsite station, you have a private source of fuel that can be used at any time. Depending on the site configuration, drivers can refuel their vehicles, or the station can manage this process.
- Fast fill technology provides a quick fueling experience. Drivers pull up to the pump, fuel the vehicle at a minimum of 8 gallons per minute, then drive away. This configuration is typically featured at many public stations for this reason, however, is sometimes also used in onsite fueling applications.
- Time fill technology leverages software to refuel the vehicles at slower rates during idle periods (like overnight) and is ideal for return-to-base/depot applications. In this configuration, drivers simply connect the vehicles at the end of a shift and return to a fully fueled vehicle the next day. Stations like these can allow multiple vehicles to fuel at once. In the case of natural gas vehicles – time-fill applications allow the vehicles to reach 100% fuel capacity, versus the approximate 85% capacity you’d otherwise get with fast-fill stations. Why? Well, the system fills the tank to capacity and then as the gas settles, the system continues filling any remaining tank space because the vehicle is still connected, rather than back out on the road already.
Word on the street – onsite fueling works!
Refuse, school, transit, trucking and municipalities rely on onsite fueling for their fleets. Regardless of market sector, below are three common praises we hear specific to onsite fueling.
- My fuel spend has decreased. Not only is onsite fueling more convenient, but also more cost effective. Onsite fueling eliminates time and premium pay associated with driving to a nearby gas station, refueling, driving back and any other distractions that occur along the way. Time fill configurations amplify financial savings even further – taking refueling completely out of your drivers’ day, reducing downtime and operational costs. Aside from driver time, think about the mileage (not to mention wear and tear) on your vehicles each day just for fueling. If it takes five miles to get to the nearest public station, that’s ten miles round trip each day just to refuel, which if you extract to a full year and fleet of vehicles can certainly add up quickly.
- I can easily operate within my fuel budget. Onsite fueling offers the luxury of precise fuel usage tracking. You can quickly spot any vehicle inefficiencies based on amount of fuel used. Further, you’ll be able to lock-in fuel based on a contractual agreement – avoiding fluctuation in price, typically at a rate lower than public retail pricing. This is especially key if your fleet operates in cold climates; contractual rates allow you to avoid price spikes that can come with weather volatility. As you begin budgeting usage for the next year, you’ll be able to dive into reports tailored to your fleet, rather than working from approximation at public fueling.
How much will an onsite station cost?
Now, you understand what and why so many fleets pursue onsite fueling but are likely wondering what kind of investment is required. Below are a few points to help clarify cost.
- Configuration: Time fill stations are the most affordable, starting around $300,000 for a completely new build. If you’re seeking fast fill capabilities, these stations start out at $2,000,000 for a new build. Of course, utilization of any station will impact costs; the more fueling required, the potential for costs to increase. It’s recommended to consider your current and future fueling needs during station planning to maximize costs and return on your investment.
- Grant Incentive Programs: Keep in mind that with most alternative fueling infrastructure, the potential to qualify for funding assistance from the government is likely. Programs open and close throughout the national consistently; be sure to check out our funding tracker for availability in your region.
Start saving with onsite fueling
Onsite fueling provides the luxury of control over fuel-related costs. Operational savings can be obtained almost immediately, and you’ll be able to maintain a more accurate fuel budget. A station can be configured to meet your current and future needs, at an affordable price.
Want to learn more about how onsite fueling works for your fleet? Reach out today!