Routing Software Helps Your Trucks Save Gas

Prices are high, but you can optimize efficiency
Martin Barraus/Getty Images

FOR ONE OR TWO TRUCKS: A number of free online calculators can help you cut your fuel costs. At aaa.com (click on "public affairs"), you can plug in your Zip Code and the site will find the cheapest gas in your area. Google (GOOG) Maps not only provides directions but also will predict traffic patterns for the times you'll be traveling.

FOR SMALL FLEETS THAT RACK UP A LOT OF MILEAGE: Get yourself a GPS system such as TomTom or Garmin, (GRMN) at about $199 each. At the very least, they'll cut down on the time spent lost. TomTom can now find the best route to your destination and allow for the day of the week you're traveling. For $14.95 a year, TomTom sends updates to your Bluetooth-compatible phone on the cheapest place to buy gas. Another option is Sprint (S), which can get the best route to your drivers via its Nextel walkie-talkie phones. The phones cost about $50; the Web-based route optimization service is about $55 per month per phone.

FOR BIG FLEETS: For $1,500 plus $300 a year, Rand Mcnally'S Intelliroute is one of the most complete route-finding services, figuring your lowest-cost destination by including everything from tolls to construction to your vehicles' highway mileage. UPS (UPS) offers Roadnet, aimed at big operators, and Roadnet Anywhere, for fleets of ten or less trucks, a service that helps optimize routes for multiple deliveries. Roadnet Anywhere is $110 per month per vehicle.

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