Fleet sustainability is all about options and, nowadays, there are plenty of them available to forward-thinking fleet managers. These fleet managers see fleet sustainability as the future of their fleet organizations. The question is, which route should be taken to green the company fleet? In particular, will management support fleet sustainability initiatives with greater acquisition of non-petroleum-fueled vehicles, or will the emphasis continue to be on selecting smaller displacement gasoline- or diesel-powered models with maximum fuel efficiency?
Nowadays, all major corporations and political subdivisions are ecologically oriented and are sustainability conscious. Corporations, especially multinationals, have set corporate CO2 reduction goals and recognize that fleet is one of the biggest emitters of CO2. A growing number of fleets are incorporating alternative-fuel vehicles as organizations institutionalize sustainability into corporate branding, and company vehicles are a very visible expression of these initiatives. Corporations and political subdivisions will support the use of alternative-fuel vehicles if they meet the job requirement and are not cost prohibitive.
Fleet sustainability will continue to play an important, albeit complex, role in the fleets of today and tomorrow. Companies have made great strides in altering the composition of their fleets by removing SUVs and utilizing more crossovers and sedans, with higher fuel economy. The focus is on optimizing vehicle selection by acquiring the smallest vehicle capable of fulfilling the fleet application, powered by the smallest displacement engine. This is often coupled with eco-driver training programs to maximize fuel economy. Many fleets have transitioned to four-cylinder engines only. A growing number of fleets are focusing on acquiring EPA SmartWay-certified vehicles. Similarly, many companies opt to use hybrids because they provide the needed range and are not dependent on an alternative refueling infrastructure.
Other green initiatives involve reducing fuel consumption by minimizing unnecessary idling, introducing telematics devices, eco-driving training, improved fuel reporting/monitoring, and improved PM compliance.
The key to a successful fleet sustainability program is making options available. Alternative fuels work in some regions of the country, while hybrids or bi-fuel vehicles may work best in other areas. These options allow even the most cautious of fleets to field alternative fuel vehicles with little or no risk beyond the initial purchase price.
The exploration of the many options available to fleet managers is the focus of the upcoming 2014 Green Fleet Conference, which will be held Oct. 29-30 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in Schaumburg, Ill.
Check out the conference agenda at www.greenfleetconference.com to learn what options are available to you.
Hopefully, we'll see you at the Green Fleet Conference to discuss the ways to best green your fleet.
Let me know what you think.