While many aspects of life have returned to normal since the early stages of the pandemic, the lingering disruptions continue to affect the price and availability of many goods and services. For those attempting to manage a business during these trying times, the impact on profits and operating costs has been palpable.
In 2021, inflation surged to 6.8 percent, a rate higher than during the 2008 recession and the highest since 1982. The hardest hit categories have seen double digit increases, such as energy, used vehicles, and food which have risen 30, 26, and 12 percent respectively – this year alone. In addition, most items have seen steady incremental price increases over the past two years.
Monthly Inflation rates (%), Trading Economics, https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/inflation-cpi
This spike in inflation has multiple causes but is namely a result of the global pandemic reducing the workforce and, therefore, slowing economies around the world. Changes in work and home life have resulted in less driving, undercutting gasoline and crude oil demand. This chain reaction has forced OPEC to maintain a limited supply level to avoid further losses, which has resulted in higher prices. Clearly, companies with sizable fleets are feeling this strain directly.
Mass walkouts and sweeping layoffs have combined to produce an employee shortage in most service industries, resulting in increased prices and longer wait times to receive these services. Continued safety precautions and intermittent case spikes have prevented almost every sector of the economy from returning to normal pre-COVID 19 operations. Additionally, the supply chain has seen the worst disruption in recent history with few products, physical or digital, escaping delays due to material and worker shortages or lockdowns.
For commercial and public vehicle fleets, the economic turmoil has affected operations. From management to maintenance, everything has become more difficult and costly. The average price for regular gasoline in the US during November 2020 was $2.200 and now sits at around $4.189 – and continues to rise. To compound the issue for fleet managers, chip shortages have reduced the number of new vehicles entering the market, increasing new and used car prices and forcing fleet managers to hold on to and repair older vehicles they might otherwise have replaced. This alternative hasn’t come without its own challenges, as inflation and supply chain issues have made many of the vehicle parts scarce or prohibitively expensive, delaying repair schedules and increasing maintenance costs. These costs have been exacerbated by an ever-dwindling and more expensive pool of technicians, and garages providing repairs. In fact, a 2020 TechForce Foundation report noted that the auto technician industry will be short by approximately 642,000 technicians between now and 2024.
So, what can fleet managers do to minimize the costs of a struggling economy and supply chain? For one, they can upfit their fleets with idle mitigation and energy-saving Vehicle Power Systems (VPS). By turning the engine off while maintaining power to any of the vehicle’s systems, the VPS vastly reduces one of the most damaging and expensive states a vehicle can be in - idling. Eliminating idling reduces a vehicle’s engine wear by tens of thousands of miles each year, extending its life and reducing the frequency and cost of repairs. By improving repair schedules, fleets can avoid paying inflated rates for parts in high demand and limit how many vehicles are waiting in line for maintenance. The VPS also eliminates high levels of fuel use that occur during idling, cutting annual fuel expenses. With this system, a single vehicle can save thousands of dollars and a whole fleet can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs during an average year. Considering these financial and time-saving benefits, the VPS will help ease the grip of inflation and the broken supply chain on fleet operations in today’s economic climate.
Among these benefits, the VPS eliminates CO2 emissions produced by your fleet and protects the health of your crews. Combined with Stealth Power’s Flexible Solar technology, these additions can enable your fleet and business to qualify for lucrative tax benefits and sellable or tradable carbon credits. These savings aid in recuperating losses from high gas, parts, and maintenance costs. By freeing your fleet from the grip of expensive supply chain disruptions, Stealth Power’s systems may be the boon your fleet needs to make it through the ongoing pandemic.
About Stealth Power
Stealth Power designs and builds idle mitigation and scalable hybrid energy systems that power complex fleet operations into the future. Manufactured in the USA, Stealth Vehicle and Mobile Power Systems are trusted by FDNY, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the FAA to power everything from life-saving medical equipment to remote towers equipped with intelligence sensors. Stealth Power keeps no-fail equipment on with engines or generators turned off.
“Historical Parallels to Today’s Inflationary Episode,” The White House. https://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/blog/2021/07/06/historical-parallels-to-todays-inflationary-episode/
“US Consumer Prices Jump 6.2% in October, The Biggest Inflation Surge in More Than 30 Years,” CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/10/consumer-price-index-october.html
“Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices,” EIA. https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_dcus_nus_m.htm