Run a Greener Fleet & Save Money at the Same Time
The greenest mile you will ever drive is the one you don’t drive, so finding ways to use your car more economically and by driving fewer miles, will benefit your company’s bottom line and shrink your carbon footprint.
It’s estimated that companies are unnecessarily spending almost £1,000 a year per vehicle because they are failing to implement ‘green’ fleet policies, according to a new report by the Energy Saving Trust. Yes £1000 a vehicle.
Helping the environment and saving money? Sounds to good to be true, but its not and taking just a few simple actions can produce a cleaner environment and improve your company’s profit.
So how do we achieve this Win-Win situation? Just read our top tips below:-
- Encourage the use of vehicles that produce lower CO2 emission levels and produce higher MPG figures.
Don’t forget, the lower the CO2, the less the employee pays in BIK tax, so encourage your staff to choose lower polluting vehicles (it saves them money) and will save your company in fuel costs and reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
- Consider alternative fuels or Hybrid cars – they are better for the environment and in the case of hybrids, don’t attract any congestion charges, saving you money.
- Keep your vehicles maintained according to manufacturers’ specifications – poorly maintained vehicles use more fuel and emit more CO2 Check your tyres regularly, as under inflated tyres can increase your fuel costs by 10%.
- Look at mileage patterns – manage your journeys better and always look for opportunities to reduce mileage. It really isn’t that difficult to do.
- Don’t drive too fast – Watch your speed, as your car can easily use over 25% more fuel by being driven too hard.
- Stay cool, but using your air-conditioning reduces your fuel consumption, so only use the air-conditioning when you need it, not all the time.
- Drive smoothly, as over revving your engine will sup the fuel. Anticipate your braking and acceleration and read the road conditions ahead and you will see the rewards.
- Consider using satellite navigation – save both time and money & fuel by getting your drivers to the right location via the quickest route. Some Sat-Nav’s also offer live details of traffic congestion, allowing your driver to re-route rather than sit in a jam for an hour or two with their engine running.
- Idling is Expensive, don’t sit in a car park or up your driveway to warm an engine up, warm it up by driving it. If you are going to be stopped for more than 30 seconds, turn your engine off.
- Plan your drivers journeys – with the internet offering free detailed street maps and free route planners, get your drivers or even your admin staff to print off any longer or unknown journeys so that you can take the most effective route.
- Don’t carry unnecessary weight in your car (or van), do you need to always carry all that?, the heavier the vehicle is, the less MPG it will return.
- Keeping your windows closed, streamline your car and make it more aerodynamic, as does removing things such as roof racks when not being used and this will improve your fuel economy.
- Mileage Reimbursement – don’t pay your staff reimbursement rates which produce them a profit. If a staff member can make money on each mile they travel for you, they are never going to take the short route, which then increases pollution and costs your company more.
- Consider if each journey is necessary – Make use of the technology that’s available and consider e-mail, telephone, fax or where you have to have a ‘face to face’ consider tele/video conferencing – use all that’s available to encourage fewer trips
From our own experience here at BVL, we know that 2 identical vehicles, operated in the same area, doing the same job, can cost hugely different to maintain and time and time again, we have proven that’s down to the driver, so there are a few driver issues to consider:-
- Look at the fuel consumption achieved by different drivers – this will identify staff who are driving efficiently and those less so and apart from reducing fuel costs, it will cut your maintenance costs also.
- Think about driver training for drivers that you identify as achieving lower than average MPG figures – this will promote more economical and safer driving
Finally, there is going to be no let up on the pressure to get us all to drive cleaner and less polluting vehicles, so don’t think this is an issue that will go away.
Congestion charges are going to spread across the UK and as in London, the charges will be banded so that the heaviest polluting vehicles pay the highest daily charge, whilst the lowest polluting vehicles get in free of charge. The new scheme for London, could see some vehicles paying up to £25 a day and that’s £6000 a year for the daily commute, or £18,000 over an average 3 year business life of a car – A hybrid currently pays nothing!
Parking permits are already being charged at different rates depending on a vehicles emissions and some say this will extend to other types of parking.
Whilst road charging is still under debate, do you think for one minute it will be on a same cost for all basis? OK to launch it, maybe, but its then only a short step to having charge bands based upon the pollution the vehicle chucks out, so the greener your vehicle, the less you will pay.
Car choice has for the main part historically been about status in the company and viewed as part of the salary package rather than cost savings or environmental issues. A change in culture has to take place making less polluting greener vehicles become more desirable than their larger gas gobbling brothers. The argument of motivating senior staff by allowing them to use bigger and more powerful cars is disappearing very quickly
The tide is turning and whilst once upon a time, smoking was considered the coolest thing around, its now considered as really undesirable and smokers are looked down upon and I believe the same thing will happen to you, if you drive the wrong car.
Consider the future now and plan ahead. Educate your drivers and get them into the mind set where they must try and minimise the use of their vehicles and must be more thoughtful when driving to reduce the mark they leave behind them. Choose the cars or vans you intend to use very carefully so as to maximise the fuel economy whilst producing the lowest CO2 and bear in mind, that congestion charge and permit parking isn’t going away, its just going to increase and road charging could be just around the corner.
So our advice is educate your drivers and make sure that you don’t get caught with the wrong fleet at the wrong time.