How to Track Fuel Inventory in Business

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Tracking fuel inventory feels like a different job from company to company. Some businesses have just one vehicle to track, while others have entire fleets and their own pumping station. Regardless of the size or complexity of your business, the basic process remains the same. You want to keep track of how much fuel you buy, how much fuel you use and who uses how much fuel. You use this information to watch for theft or waste, to forecast expenses and to make sure you never run out at an inopportune moment.

Track Incoming Fuel

  • Note how much fuel you buy and how much it costs every time your company takes in fuel. If you have your own pumping station, simply make note every time you fill your main tank. If you fuel your fleet off site, track how much fuel each vehicle takes in when each fills up.

  • Keep your fuel intake records in the same place, whether that's an inventory file on your computer or a form on a clipboard.

  • Note how much you pay per gallon for fuel. This varies from day to day and week to week, so average the cost each quarter for forecasting purposes.

Track Fuel Usage

  • Note how much fuel goes out and to which vehicle. If you're fueling off site, this information comes with the same receipts that track the incoming fuel. If you're fueling from your own pumping station, keep records as you fill up each vehicle.

  • Note of the odometer reading of each vehicle as it fills up. For off site fueling, have each employee note the mileage on the back of his fuel purchase receipt.

  • Use this information to calculate gas mileage for your vehicles. Divide the number of miles driven between fill ups by the number of gallons the vehicle took in. The result will be your miles per gallon.

Analyze the Information

  • Check the gas mileage for all vehicles at least once per month. A sudden change might indicate that a vehicle needs a tune-up, or even that an employee is stealing gas.

  • Reconcile fuel usage with employee assignments. If you know the approximate gas mileage of a vehicle, you can compare it to the vehicle's assigned route and know how faithfully the route is being followed.

  • Average gas expenses for the past two quarters and (if available) the same quarter for the past three to five years. Adjusted for any major swings in the market, this will give you a reasonable best-guess estimate for upcoming fuel budget.

  • Compare gas mileage and average usage per day to schedule gas orders or fueling stops. This will keep you from experiencing fuel emergencies that interfere with your operations. For example, if you know a vehicle needs fueling twice a week, schedule time for that fueling on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you fuel off site, consider getting company gas credit cards with a nearby gas station or fleet service station. These cards often come with sophisticated online tools that will help you with all steps of this process.

References

  • "The E-Myth Revisited," Michael Gerber, 1995
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