Some companies have made a point to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a demonstration of social responsibility and a commitment to “do the right thing.” Others see such steps as a strategic move to place them in a stronger economic and market position, especially when working for government agencies. Some companies have modest goals; others are more aggressive. And many are looking to fleet to help reach greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Environmental Survey of Fleet Management Executives
PHH Arval, a fleet management company based in Sparks, Md., has recently conducted an environmental survey of its commercial fleet manager clients as part of its “green” program. The survey includes responses from commercial fleet managers and executives. The following is a synopsis of the results. Click Here to view Chart 1

Fleet executives and managers share a high interest in improving the energy efficiency or environmental performance of their fleets. However, fleet executives viewed their company’s overall prioritization of environmental issues much higher than did fleet managers.

As expected, government regulations top the list of reasons why corporations have made the environment a business priority. However, corporate responsibility and the opportunity to enhance a company’s image among investors, the community, and its customers are also key motivators. Click Here to view Chart 2

While nearly all commercial fleet managers consider environmental factors when selecting which vehicles to include in their fleets, most still focus on fuel economy ratings. A growing number are expanding their criteria to include “Green Scores” from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), available on PHH InterActive, the company’s Web-based fleet management system.

Interest in Alternative-Fuel and Hybrid Vehicles Grows
More than one quarter of commercial fleet managers surveyed say they already have or are seriously considering adding alternative-fuel vehicles to their fleets, with another 40 percent somewhat interested.

Company image and reduced fuel costs, the second largest fleet expense, were leading motivators in the decision to add more environmentally friendly vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, Ford Escape, GM’s flex-fuel pickups, and Honda Civic, are of particular interest to many fleets, primarily because of availability and proven fuel costs savings.

Only 4 percent of fleet managers felt they were very knowledgeable about alternative-fuel trends and vehicles. While information regarding alternative fuel is becoming more readily accessible, for most commercial fleet managers, the subject remains a confusing one. As commercial fleet managers continue to view alternative-fuel vehicles as a way to address corporate environmental goals and manage fleet expenses, continued education on industry trends, as well as available fuel and vehicle options are critical. {+PAGEBREAK+} Click Here to view Chart 3 Click Here to view Chart 4 Click Here to view Chart 5 Click Here to view Chart 6 Click Here to view Chart 7 Click Here to view Chart 8

Fleet Managers are Thinking Green
Based on the results of this survey, commercial fleet managers are increasingly focusing attention on their fleets’ environmental impact.

Ed Capasso, vice president & general manager for Henkel Corporation’s Industrial Division, influences vehicle policy for a fleet of more than 800 vehicles. “Our corporate values include a commitment to sustainable development,” he says. “Environmental responsibility is one of the three pillars of sustainability, and all of our employees are involved and committed to ‘green’ thinking and problem solving.” Capasso and PHH have created a selector guide for Henkel drivers that rates vehicles based on ACEEE Green Scores. “While it’s essential we provide vehicles that meet the needs of our employees, such as trunk size and passenger space, we encourage selection of the most environmentally mindful vehicles. Vehicle gas consumption guidelines are currently in place and we are evaluating new hybrid vehicles.”

George Kilroy, president and CEO of PHH, says, “Many of our clients are altering the types of vehicles they use in their fleets and implementing better management practices to reduce fuel costs and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, a fleet of 1,000 vehicles produces about 14,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. By shifting from full-size to mid-size cars, from SUVs to mid-size or introducing hybrids into the fleet, these emissions can be reduced by as much as one third.” Click Here to view Chart 9