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Fleet managers could drive £20bn efficiency savings

Corporate fleet managers could make significant cost savings and cut millions of tonnes of emissions by taking advantage of more efficient technologies and techniques, according to a new report.

Corporate fleet managers could make significant cost savings and cut millions of tonnes of emissions by taking advantage of more efficient technologies and techniques, according to a new report. 

The report, ‘Saving Fuel, Saving Costs’, was commissioned by Greenpeace, which has used the findings to argue that corporate fleet managers “have more power over the composition of our atmosphere than most politicians, or even most oil executives”.

The statement stems from the fact that fleet operators are responsible for half of new car purchases in Europe and therefore have a significant role in the makeup of Europe’s road transport fleet, which is responsible for nearly a fifth of the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The impact of fleet management decisions is also heightened further by the fact that the majority of company vehicles are sold into the second-hand market when replaced.

Potential savings

The report reveals that in 2012 corporate fleets in the EU burnt 123 billion litres of fuel – costing some €200 billion (£142 billion) – but adds that there are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce fuel costs by around €28 billion (£20 billion), including:

  • Eco-driving: training in road behaviour and driving techniques
  • Retro-fitting: adding aerodynamic features, better tyres, weight reduction and other improvements to existing fleets
  • Switching: replacing conventional internal combustion powered vehicles with electric or hybrid versions, trains or freight transport.

‘Surprising power’

Barbara Stoll, senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “Fleet managers have a surprising amount of power over all of our futures, and with the rapid progress being made in clean tech, they can use that power for good, and on a grand scale.”

Andy Eastlake, managing director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) said the report “highlights the wide range of technical and operational opportunities for businesses to improve both their carbon footprint as well as their bottom line”.

“In the UK, 90% of new vans and over half of all new cars were bought by companies in 2014. Combine this with the fact that, on average, company cars travel more than twice the miles of private cars and it’s clear that the fleet sector is responsible for most of road transport’s impact on climate change”, he added.

Van guide

To complement the report, LowCVP has launched a ‘Low Emission Van Hub’ to help van operators reduce costs and emissions, including an online calculator to compare the performance of different van technologies for different circumstances. 

LowCVP’s analysis suggests that choosing the right van can save a business some £18,000 over the vehicle’s lifespan.

Case study

Royal Mail is one example of a company that is increasingly focusing on fuel efficiency across its road fleet, as evidenced in its recently published annual Corporate Responsibility Report.

According to its report, Royal Mail is adding aerodynamic roof deflectors to its standard specification for all HGVs, which could reduce fuel consumption by 3-5 per cent; rolling out ‘telemetry’ road behaviour technology to several vehicle categories, saving 6-10 per cent on fuel bills; and is exploring the commercial feasibility of zero emission vehicles.