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When Choosing a Forklift Type, Look to the Future

Photo courtesy: Ingeniorforeningen IDA at flickr.com

The price of gasoline is rising after a prolonged period of cheap gas. Some experts predict it will hit a three-year high by the end of this year.

For businesses buying a new forklift, things like the price of gas, diesel, propane and other fuels are a major consideration. And not just the current prices, either.

How much fuel will cost throughout the expected useful life of the vehicle should also influence the decision about what type of forklift to purchase.

Looking Ahead

Predicting the future is an impossible task. In the current pro-business, anti-regulation governmental environment, it is just as possible that gasoline prices could remain relatively low for at least the next four years, if not longer.

But it's equally possible that some sort of unpredictable event, such as OPEC's recent decision to cut production to keep global gas supplies low, could cause gas prices to spike. And if that happens, the cost of running a gas-powered forklift could increase exponentially.

How the Forklift Will Be Used

Another important consideration when choosing a new forklift is how it will be used in your operation.

If it's going to be driven indoors in a relatively confined space with limited ventilation, buying a gas- or diesel-powered forklift may not make a lot of sense because the emissions could be potentially harmful to workers. An electric or LPG-powered forklift might be a better solution.

Similarly, if the vehicle is going to be used outdoors and your business is in a northern climate with cold winters, an electric forklift may not be the best choice. Sub-freezing temperatures can sap battery power, requiring more frequent recharging and cutting into the efficiency of the vehicle, at least during the winter months.

Leasing Offers Adaptability

These and other factors need to be taken into account before buying a forklift. But leasing forklifts often offer businesses more versatility.

Say, for example, that your business leases a fleet of gas-powered forklifts. Suddenly, some global event causes the price of gas to skyrocket, significantly increasing operational costs.

Depending on the terms of the lease, you may be able to trade in the gas-powered vehicles for more cost-effective solutions, such as LPG, at least until the gas crisis ends and the prices return to normal.

The type of forklift you choose, and whether to buy or lease, are important considerations that need to be considered before you make a final decision for your business.