Implementing green initiatives is increasingly looking like an attractive business strategy for fleets. Green fleet practices don’t only promote favorable sentiment with the public. They also take advantage of supportive “green” government policies and incentives, reduce fuel costs, and boost your fleet’s profitability.
Consumption, government policy, and cost trends all seem to suggest that the green industry will flourish over the upcoming years. Now is a great time to implement green fleet policies. In order to do so, businesses need to invest time to come up with a well thought out green fleet policy that can be relied on for many years.
Fleets should be thorough when establishing goals, performing research, and assembling the right team to implement green policies. In this article, we will answer the question of what exactly is a green fleet? We will also outline tips on implementing green fleet systems, and getting your team on board with green fleet transportation.
What Exactly is a Green Fleet?
A “green fleet” can be simply defined as a fleet with a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, criteria emissions, waste sent to landfills, and conventional fuel consumption. A green fleet is any fleet with sustainable goals. Green fleets come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes—anywhere from 10 to 1000 vehicles.
Generally, vehicles are the most public and well-recognized part of these fleets. But don’t be fooled by this, shop operations can significantly contribute to green initiatives as well. For example, some businesses implement the use of recycled or re-refined lubricants and non-toxic cleaning chemicals in order to increase their sustainability.
How does a "Green Fleet" help environmental sustainability?
The primary impact of a green fleet should be centered around improving environmental sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of the fleet vehicles. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:
- Improving driver behavior - from sudden acceleration to hard breaking to vehicle idling, driver behavior has as either a positive or negative impact on your fleets green initiatives.
- Reduce your carbon footprint - partner with companies like Greener Miles to reduce your carbon footprint down to zero. These initiatives not only help the environment but could have positive tax implications to your business.
- Electric Vehicles - While not every fleet will be able to replace all fuel vehicles with electric, this option should be considered when possible.
- Reward your drivers - Driver gamification not only improves driver behavior but it created a social conscious culture within your fleet. Safer driving and improved driver behavior can have both a direct, and indirect, positive impact on the sustainability of your fleet.
- Leverage telematics data - your telematics data will provide a treasure trove of insights on how to improve your fleet sustainability. Make sure to partner with a telematics provider that empowers your green fleet with data.
Getting Your Team On Board with Green Fleet Transportation
Going from planning to implementation is the hardest part for most fleets. It’s no different when introducing green fleet transportation to your drivers.
The Environment Agency has been awarded recognition for leadership in environmental fleet management. Its head of fleet operations, Dale Eynon, said that “It’s often a challenge persuading end-users to give new technologies a go. Some of our field workers are often skeptical about new technology, and if you give them a hybrid van or tell them to use bio-fuel, they may take some time to warm to it.”
Be prepared for a transitionary period getting your driver's used to new green fleet initiatives and technologies. Also, be ready to answer questions and receive feedback on the program. You can also plan your vehicle’s transition to green fleet transportation with an electric vehicle suitability assessment. It will determine if your fleet could operate with electric vehicles instead of regular fuel ones.
Tips on Implementing Green Fleet Systems
Utilize Electric or Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles
One of the easiest ways to dramatically boost your fleet’s sustainability efforts is to utilize electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Not only do they signify that you operate a green fleet to the public, but they also help reduce fuel costs.
Strategic Vehicle Selection
Acquiring the right fleet vehicles for your business is a vital step in implementing a green fleet system. With ever-increasing emissions standards like the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test, selecting green vehicles not only assists with sustainable goals but also reduces the overall running cost of your fleet.
Track Fuel Consumption
Vehicle telematics is a powerful tool that managers can utilize to accurately track their fleet’s fuel consumption. Telematics is considered a go-to in green fleet technology. It provides the data required to measure and set goals.
An analysis of the data generated by vehicle telematics can produce valuable insight into your fleet’s fuel consumption. You may notice vehicles that should be replaced or drivers that have inefficient (and wasteful, therefore costly) driving habits.
A great green fleet initiative is to reduce idling. With the right technology, it’s easy to track time drivers spend idling and bring those numbers down through in-cab alerts and other features. Idling wastes fuel and adds stress to a vehicle’s engine. Simply by turning off their vehicles, drivers can contribute a great deal to green fleet goals and help save the fleet money.
Fleets looking to go green should also make sure to train their drivers in efficient practices. Hard braking, idling, and other wasteful (and anti-green) practices can often be eliminated simply through education. Teach your drivers small tricks to improve their fuel economy. For example, heavy acceleration takes up more fuel than gradual acceleration (it creates more drag).
Drivers can also improve their fuel economy by increasing their following distance when accelerating or decelerating or by decreasing their loads, as lighter loads put less stress on a vehicle’s engine.
Managers should also look to engage their drivers by recognizing them when they achieve green fleet goals. Perhaps give an award out each month to the driver who was the most fuel-efficient.
Fuel consumption can also be affected by poor route planning. Efficient route management ensures that the driver avoids heavy traffic times and unnecessary overlaps.
Log and Report Everything
In order to implement a green fleet system, you need to keep track of everything that goes on in your fleet. You should use technology to track emissions, idling, and other measurements you are monitoring through your green fleet initiatives. Only by keeping track of data will you be able to see how well you are reaching your green fleet goals.
Green fleets are more popular now than ever before and are only gaining in popularity. To learn more about the benefits of a green fleet check out Azuga.com. The team at Azuga is here to help improve safety, boost productivity, and save your fleet thousands per year.