Fight High Gas Prices

Connie Certusi

The high price of gasoline is weighing heavily on small business these days. While small business owners may feel powerless at the pump, there are a number of things to do to reduce gasoline consumption.

Plan, plan, plan.
With the help of websites such as Google Maps, plan out your deliveries and group them by area, date, and time when possible. In addition, change your hours of delivery so that you aren't sitting in rush hour traffic, wasting both time and gas. Using GPS can also help you take the most direct route and avoid getting lost. Consider asking customers who live nearby to pick up their orders, rather than shipping the products to them.

Do your homework.
Your competitors may be passing along the higher cost of gas to customers, so consider doing the same. If you do pass on rising costs, explain to your customers why and position it in a matter of fact manner.

Prepare for higher prices.
Use accounting software to manage your cash flow so that you can easily tell how much the rise in fuel costs is impacting your business and identify areas where you can save. Make sure to track your transportation costs accurately and share them with your bookkeeper or accountant

Consider the tax benefits of buying fuel efficient vehicles.
Ask your accountant if there are tax benefits to getting new, more fuel efficient vehicles. If so, it may be a good time to upgrade your company vehicles.

Maintain your vehicles.
Underinflated tires, misalignment, and dirty filters or oil can decrease your fuel efficiency. Ensure that you are following the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

Use the right grade of fuel for your vehicle.
On average, premium fuel can cost 10 to 15 cents more per gallon than regular fuel. Unless your vehicle has a high performance engine, there typically isn't any benefit to using premium gas.

Don't drive aggressively.
Beyond the safety risks involved, aggressive driving increases your car's gas consumption. Fuel efficiency dips when you drive faster than 60 miles per hour, accelerate rapidly, and brake hard. Use cruise control for highway driving to decrease consumption.

Recognize that there is power in numbers.
Join other small businesses to work with government representatives for policies that lower the price of gas.

Connie Certusi Senior VP and General Manager, Small Business Accounting Solutions, Sage, North America Copyright 2012, author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.


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