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Blog March 2022

Six Tips for Waste and Recycling Companies to reduce fuel Costs

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Conor Dowd

AMCS Global Head of Marketing

Currently companies in the waste and recycling sector have experienced an over 60% year on year increase in the unit cost for fuel. Given that fuel is one of the largest fleet operating expenses, managing, and reducing this spend is critical to remaining competitive in the market.

According to the American Automobile Association, average diesel prices on 18 March 2022 were $5.07 per gallon compared to $3.10 (or a 63% increase year on year) on the same day in 2021. 

Prices may even rise higher with the United States and European countries announcing measures to reduce use of Russian gas and oil. 

The impact of this is two-fold, the fuel price increase is very significant plus many service providers will struggle to pass on these cost increases to their customers. 

1. Reduce driver speeding and other fuel inefficient driving habits 

Aggressive driving behavior like excessive speeding, rapid acceleration and harsh braking have an adverse impact on fuel usage and cost.

According to a study byOak Ridge National Laboratory , it is estimated “that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional 30 cents per gallon for fuel.”

AMCS Telematics can detect and record vehicle speeds, checking them against designated speed limits. It can set up alerts so that supervisors can be informed about excessive speeding. Educating drivers on the benefits of slowing down will not only increase miles per gallon performance but will also improve road safety for all. 

2. Reduce all unnecessary vehicle idling time 

Engine idling can squander as much as between one quarter to one gallon of fuel per hour on a waste vehicle, depending on the engine size.

Waste drivers may have learned some poor habits of warming up their engine longer than necessary at the start of their shift, leaving the engine running during stops on collections where they are waiting for containers to be presented. or keeping the engine running during breaks to charge mobile phones and tablets. which increase excessive idling time. 

Like speed monitoring, AMCS Telematics can measure engine idling and allows you to set tolerance for what represents acceptable limits and setting automatic alerts above this ceiling. A driver’s performance can then be tracked and managed more effectively. 

3. Optimize your Roll Off schedules to boost utilization

The planning and optimization of Roll Off schedules is quite complex as services may involve delivery, exchange, and removal of containers and may be subject to planning constraints such as limited time access, driver qualification rules etc. It is also a very dynamic service, with the order pool changing in real time, with the addition/cancellation of orders and delays due to congestion or at customer or disposal site.

Many companies still try to build their Roll Off plans manually and then modify them on a re-active basis during the day of execution. This manual approach can prove costly as the complexity and dynamic nature of Roll Off can lead to costly inefficiencies and errors.

The AMCS Smart Dispatch solution provides advanced planning support for Roll-Off schedules with in-built maps including road network, distance calculators and visual tools to build the most efficient schedules were progress can be tracked in real time so the dispatcher can respond to events such as delays, priority and cancelled orders.

Our Fleet Planner solution takes automation to the next level, building schedules based on all the planning rules and constraints (resources, time windows, congestion rules etc.). It can also continuously optimize these schedules based on tracking the real-time progress of their execution and responding to the same events such as delays, priority, and cancelled orders.

Fleet Planners automatically identifies opportunities to combine successive Roll-Off services (e.g., delivery, exchange, removal and tipping) into an efficient single multi-leg trip for a driver. It is very difficult for a planner to manually identify these opportunities for cost efficiencies, but our optimization algorithms perform these in seconds saving time, vehicle wear and tear and most importantly fuel and emissions, 

The optimization algorithms are designed to reduce mileage and are proven to deliver reductions of 15% plus in fuel spend. 

4. Optimize your round work to reduce unnecessary mileage

The same Smart Dispatch and Intelligent Optimization solutions can also optimize your round work schedules (e.g., REL, FEL work) on both, a daily and recurring basis to reduce unnecessary mileage and fuel spend.

Daily, it can automatically sequence optimize unplanned work (e.g., call outs) on to the optimal round and round sequence while taking into consideration any planning rules and constraints.  In the event of a resource shortage (e.g., truck breakdown or unavailability), it can automatically balance the workload across available vehicles and resources.

On a set periodic basis, it can optimize routes to reflect route churn (the continuous addition and loss of service stops) to deliver fuel savings.

Our solution will also allow you to run ‘’what-if ‘’ scenarios to understand whether service changes can deliver significant fuel and mileage savings. These scenarios can include new disposal sites, new vehicle mix, new shift patterns, alternative service days etc. 

When you plan and optimize your routes smarter, you will not need as many vehicles and drivers, so you reduce your capital spend as well as operational costs such as fuel.

 Typical benefits achieved by our customers from using these solutions are 

  • 5-25% reduction in mileage, CO2 emissions and driving time
  • 5-15% reduction in number of vehicles
  • 25-75% decrease in time spent on planning and administration
  • Significantly improved customer service and visit accuracy.

5. Optimize Vehicle Maintenance to increase their fuel performance

Effective maintenance can ensure that vehicles are always performing optimally. It is estimated that ensuring a well-maintained vehicle (or plant asset) can improve fuel performance by an average of 4% or 20 cents per gallon.

The AMCS Asset Maintenance system can automate scheduled preventive, as well as proactive maintenance, using AMCS Telematics to continuously monitor relevant vehicle data. 

Our Fuel dashboard allows the monitoring of fuel costs, consumption, miles per gallon and efficiency trends. 

The automated maintenance workflows can ensure that every aspect of the vehicle impacting fuel performance is monitored daily with driver checks or via AMCS Telematics.

It can prevent avoidable vehicle wear and tear, monitor, and detect engine problems and manage all aspects of vehicle maintenance.

Some of the key maintenance areas for improving fuel economy include tire wear and pressure, fuel filter replacement, axle alignment and oil servicing. 

6. Migrate to Electric Vehicles (EVs)

EVs can lower operating costs by reducing energy usage by a third and also the maintenance costs can be cost 50% less compared with a conventional diesel engine.

The AMCS Asset Maintenance and Telematics solution provide a dataset that you can leverage to build a business case to start your migrations to electric vehicles.  It can also track your EV fuel usage against your diesel-powered fleet, and this will allow you to plan for a post diesel future.


Fuel is generally the largest operational cost for your fleet and these tips will help you manage and reduce this budget.

While our tips can deliver significant savings on your fuel bill, it is also important to highlight that they will also reduce carbon emissions and help in the fight against climate change and thus benefit both your profits and the planet will benefit. 

About AMCS

AMCS has offices in North America, Europe, and Australia employing over 750 people across 11 countries. AMCS is a global leader of integrated software and vehicle technology for the waste, recycling, and resource industries and offers optimization solutions to the broader transport & logistics market. AMCS helps over 3,000 customers in 23 countries to reduce their operating costs, increase asset utilization, optimize margins, and improve customer service. Their enterprise software and SaaS solutions deliver digital innovation to the emerging circular economy around the world.

The AMCS Transport Management System is a new SaaS based solution designed to automate and optimize all aspects of planning, dispatch, optimization, driver mobility, telematics, and fleet maintenance. 

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