Fuel Consumption Benchmarking: A Comprehensive Guide

Fuel consumption benchmarking is a critical process that allows organizations to compare their vessel or fleet’s fuel efficiency against industry standards and best practices. By understanding their relative performance, organizations can identify areas for improvement, reduce operating costs, and minimize environmental impacts. This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of fuel consumption benchmarking, providing you with the necessary tools and techniques to optimize your operations.

Understanding Energy Use Intensity (EUI)

One of the key metrics used in fuel consumption benchmarking is Energy Use Intensity (EUI). EUI is a measure of energy consumption per unit of floor area or economic activity. For example, the EUI for a building might be measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square foot per year, while the EUI for a vessel might be measured in grams of fuel per ton-mile.

By comparing the EUI of different buildings or vessels, it is possible to identify those that are more energy-efficient than others. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the average EUI for commercial buildings in the United States is 92 kWh/ft²/year, with the most efficient buildings achieving an EUI as low as 35 kWh/ft²/year.

In the maritime industry, the average EUI for cargo ships is around 3-5 grams of fuel per ton-mile, while the most efficient vessels can achieve an EUI as low as 2 grams of fuel per ton-mile. By benchmarking their EUI against these industry standards, organizations can identify opportunities for improvement and implement targeted strategies to enhance their fuel efficiency.

Collecting and Analyzing Fuel Consumption Data

fuel consumption benchmarking

To accurately benchmark fuel consumption, it is essential to have access to high-quality data covering multiple years. The LBNL assessment of U.S. benchmarking and transparency programs found that at least three years of data is needed to evaluate changes in energy performance, as data from only two back-to-back years could be influenced by external factors and insufficient to demonstrate performance trends.

When collecting fuel consumption data, it is important to consider the following best practices:

  1. Data Granularity: Collect data at the most granular level possible, such as daily or weekly fuel consumption, to enable a more detailed analysis.
  2. Data Sources: Utilize a variety of data sources, including fuel purchase records, on-board monitoring systems, and third-party data providers, to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data.
  3. Data Normalization: Normalize the data to account for factors such as vessel size, cargo weight, and weather conditions, to enable a fair comparison across different vessels or time periods.

Once the data has been collected, it is crucial to perform data cleansing to identify and remove potential outlier values. For example, Washington, DC views as invalid any records where the building has reduced its EUI by more than 50 percent in a single year, while Seattle flags all records where the EUI for any individual fuel type has changed by more than 50 percent compared to the previous year. These records are then removed from any further analysis of impacts, unless further examination and discussion with the building owner indicates that the data was correct as entered.

Utilizing Additional Metrics

In addition to EUI, there are other metrics that can be used in fuel consumption benchmarking. One such metric is the Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI), which is a measure of the CO2 emissions per unit of transport work done, and is often used in the maritime industry. The EEOI can be calculated by dividing the total CO2 emissions by the total transport work, which is usually measured in ton-miles.

The EEOI can provide valuable insights into the environmental impact of a vessel’s operations, and can be used to benchmark performance against industry standards or best practices. For example, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a target EEOI of 7.7 gCO2/ton-mile for new ships, and 9.1 gCO2/ton-mile for existing ships.

By using a combination of EUI, EEOI, and other relevant metrics, organizations can gain a comprehensive understanding of their fuel consumption and environmental performance, and identify areas for improvement.

Benchmarking Best Practices

To effectively benchmark fuel consumption, it is important to follow these best practices:

  1. Establish Clear Benchmarking Goals: Clearly define the objectives of the benchmarking process, such as reducing fuel consumption, improving environmental performance, or enhancing operational efficiency.
  2. Identify Relevant Benchmarks: Research industry standards, best practices, and peer organizations to identify appropriate benchmarks for comparison.
  3. Implement Robust Data Collection Processes: Develop and implement standardized data collection processes to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data.
  4. Analyze Data Trends: Examine the data over multiple years to identify trends and patterns, and to understand the impact of external factors on fuel consumption.
  5. Implement Continuous Improvement: Use the insights gained from the benchmarking process to implement targeted strategies for improving fuel efficiency and environmental performance, and continuously monitor and refine these strategies over time.

By following these best practices, organizations can effectively benchmark their fuel consumption, identify areas for improvement, and optimize their operations for greater efficiency and sustainability.


Fuel consumption benchmarking is a powerful tool for organizations looking to reduce operating costs, improve environmental performance, and stay competitive in an increasingly stringent regulatory environment. By understanding their relative performance, organizations can identify areas for improvement and implement targeted strategies to enhance their fuel efficiency.

This comprehensive guide has provided you with the necessary tools and techniques to effectively benchmark your fuel consumption, from understanding key metrics like EUI and EEOI to implementing best practices in data collection and analysis. By applying these principles, you can unlock the full potential of your operations and contribute to a more sustainable future.


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