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Fleets Are Sitting on a Trove of Data - and the Tools to Leverage It Are Hidden in Plain Sight

Insights from Shell Fleet Solutions USA - Fleets Are Sitting on a Trove of Data and the Tools to Leverage It Are Hidden in Plain Sight.

By Jim Perkins on Mar 05, 2024

Fleet operators are drinking data from a firehose. From location and route metrics to data around refueling and recharging, the typical operator has thousands of inputs pouring in each day from their collective vehicles. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

The prospect of analyzing all this data, or even just part of it, threatens to overload an already high administrative burden. Nearly a quarter of fleet managers say they spend half their day working on spreadsheets, with nearly two in five (37%) worried that their tabulations allow too much room for mistakes, according to Vimcar’s Fleet Administrative Survey.¹

Operators need to spend less time staring down mountains of data and more time drilling into actionable insights to aid decision-making. Fortunately, the tools to help are hidden in plain sight.

Jim Perkins

Turning Data into Action

Take fuel cards, for example. Popular for their valuable gas discounts, these ubiquitous products drove a $723 billion global market in 2022, per Strait Research.² But many operators may not know that fuel savings are just one benefit of their fuel cards. The data that fuel cards collect – and the related services they tap into – can also help those operators make actionable decisions that could impact their bottom line.

More specifically, fuel cards allow operators to identify the specific fuel expenditures per vehicle and driver. Operators can view built-in reports detailing all aspects of fueling activity, set limits that automatically kick in for card users, and save time on receipt requisitioning by streamlining data from the pump. Tapping into these ready-made solutions can help managers not just optimize their fleetwide fuel consumption but also help control misuse and key in on other inefficiencies.

In many cases, operators already have these capabilities at their fingertips. They just need to leverage the full extent of the tools they’ve already signed up for.

Fuel cards are a way for businesses to build new efficiencies by leaning into the data that’s being collected. And fleet businesses need the help: Vimcar found that, for almost half of all fleet managers surveyed, the time it takes to record spreadsheet data prevents the completion of other important tasks.³ That’s where existing data services can help, serving up prepopulated dashboards and actionable advice that helps expedite decisions, not data overload.

How Shell Fleet Solutions Came at This Problem

Continual advancements in fleet technology and products can make it hard for a fleet manager to keep up with the latest options. At Shell Fleet Solutions, our research found that more than a third of fleet managers (34%) would deem external support and advice helpful as they transition to new technologies and vehicle types.

To address this need, we developed the Shell Fleet Navigator® Card, which can help integrate and simplify fuel data even more.⁵ Operators can use this tool to view built-in reports detailing all aspects of fueling activity, so they can track expenses and identify cost savings.

More than just a fuel card, the Shell Fleet Navigator® Card acts as a data conduit by integrating with other fleet services to further simplify expense analytics across operations. It has cross-program functionality with our suite of Shell Fleet Solutions programs, including Shell TapUp, Shell Telematics, Accelerate to Zero (A2Z), and soon, Shell Recharge. Together, this ecosystem of integrated solutions offers enhanced data insights.

Fleets can use the Shell Fleet Navigator® Card for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and soon for electric vehicles (EVs) as well. ICE vehicles can fuel up at over 12,000 Shell stations and 95% of all US fueling stations, with rebates of up to 5 cents per gallon. Meanwhile, EVs will have the flexibility to plug into the Shell Recharge network, which Shell has deployed across multiple states on the way toward becoming a national EV charging network. Mixed fleets will soon have the convenience of paying for ICE fueling or EV charging all with one card, with data insights centralized on one platform.

Better Reporting, Better Insights

Why don’t more fleet operators tap into these solutions? Because they require some level of change. Believe it or not, 60% of managers still use spreadsheets to organize their fleet, according to the Vimcar study, and 1 in 10 still use pen and paper.

We get it: Old habits die hard. But that’s why fuel cards are a great bridge into a technologized future. Many fleets already use them, so it’s a shorter path to drawing actionable insights out of data overload.

Change can be difficult, but learning how to understand and utilize the data from fleet technology can be worth it. For instance, a 2024 Verizon Connect survey found that fleet management software can reduce fuel costs by 9%, accident costs by 15% and labor costs by 10% across all industries.

Fleet cards offer a gasoline discount and much more, and many fleets have barely scratched the surface of the insights they can get from their provider’s data. Fleet operators may not know it yet, but they have a powerful tool to unlock useful data - and it’s right in their wallet.


5 Shell®, Shell Fleet Navigator®, Shell Fleet Plus® and Shell Small Business are trademarks of Shell Trademark Management B.V.

6 Rebates are tiered and dependent on total monthly fueling volume.