3 green fleet management tips for World Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, a global celebration of the planet and its natural resources. Fleet managers play an important role in overseeing how a large number of cars are performing on the road, granting them the power and potential to make significant positive changes for the environment. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), road transport is responsible for approximately 12.6 per cent of national emissions every year. This is largely because each litre of petrol releases 2.3kg of carbon dioxide. Diesel is even worse at 2.7kg, but LPG is the lowest at 1.6kg.

To put this in perspective, the average fuel consumption of a passenger car was 11.5 litres per 100 kilometres over 1998 and 2007, meaning thousands of tons of carbon dioxide have affected air quality in the last decade. 

Indeed, the most recent environmental research by ABS, released on April 9, found that between 1997 and 2013 there was a 154 per cent increase in waste production and a 30 per cent increase in energy consumption, and green house gas emissions are higher by 21 per cent.

Needless to say, changes need to be made to enhance sustainability. Even small steps can have a big impact - they don't say every drop makes an ocean for no reason! These three tips can help fleet managers adopt a greener approach. 

1. Choose greener trucks.

The best way to achieve this is to identify the needs of your fleet and pick truck features accordingly. For instance, the chassis, or the skeletal structure of the truck, contains the cabin, engine, fuel tank and batteries. If the chassis is too big, you waste fuel. If it is too small, it can mean overloading the truck or additional trips back and forth, which further waste fuel and also time. 

Also think about how many fleet drivers are needed in a truck's cabin. There are two types of cabins, the standard 'day cab' and the larger 'crew cab'. The latter is better if your truck needs a group of passengers, but if not, it weighs the truck down and is bad for fuel efficiency. The NSW Green Truck Partnership program is a good place for further tips on green truck selection. 

2. Route and dispatch cars based on proximity to customers.

This is a simple solution with a significant impact. Sending the closest vehicle to customers can optimise fuel efficiency. Fleet management software can help make the most of satellite navigation and telematics so that the shortest route is mapped.

To really hammer home the need to minimise travelling unnecessary distances, ensure that mileage reimbursement rates are environmentally conscious. This will encourage fleet drivers to avoid excessive journeys. 

3. Draft a green policy for adding new fleet cars.

While building an entire fleet of green cars can be expensive, allocate a certain quota for adding new hybrid cars. This will not only help market a green corporate brand, but also help reduce the fleet's carbon footprint.

Alternatively, choosing cars with low CO2 emissions is an option. A good way to research is by checking fuel consumption labels. These are placed on the windscreen of all new cars up to 3.5 tonnes, and the lower the number the better. Another place to research is the government's Green Vehicle Guide, as it awards greenhouse and air pollution ratings out of 10, and overall star ratings out of 5. 

Set the green wheels in motion today to honour Earth Day!