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A cleaner vehicle usually means a more cost effective vehicle. Find out how you can make your small fleet greener, and cheaper to run

This content has been provided on behalf of CVSL

EVERYWHERE we look, we are being encouraged to do our bit to recycle, save the planet and be a bit greener.

Green fleet management adopts these very principles; allowing you to manage your fleet whilst reducing fuel consumption, emissions and costs.

In this article, we have provided advice on what you can do to make your fleet more environmentally friendly, which could also save your business a few quid at the same time.

What are the most significant fuel emissions?

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or nitrogen oxides (NOx).
  • Particulate matter (PM).

Many businesses primarily concentrate on reducing carbon emissions because of the tax benefits. But others consider them as being part of a wider environmental policy, with particular concerns about climate change. Local air pollutants may also be a concern for some organisations.

How can fuel use, emissions and costs be decreased?

  • Choosing a lower emission (better fuel economy) orthodox petrol or diesel vehicle.
  • Picking a lower emission alternative-fuelled vehicle, like a plug-in or biodiesel option.
  • Increasing the fuel economy of existing vehicles within the fleet.
  • Reducing mileage.

The environmental performance of a vehicle is usually decided by three aspects:

  • Fuel economy – measured in miles per gallon (mpg).
  • CO2 rating – measured in grams of CO2 produced per kilometre travelled.
  • Euro Standard – this determines the quantity of NOx and PM omitted by the vehicle. The higher the standard, the lower the CO2 emissions.

What vehicles should be reviewed?

  • Business owned or leased cars.
  • Business owned or leased vans.
  • Cash allowance cars ­– privately owned cars where the employee has taken a cash sum – in lieu of a company car – to spend on a vehicle.
  • Grey fleet cars – privately owned cars where employees receive a mileage rate to use their own vehicles for business matters.
  • HGVs bigger than 3.5t GVW.

There are a number of key factors to take into account when selecting the right vehicles for your “greener” fleet. 

Low CO2 emission vehicles will significant lower other motoring costs in terms of:

  • Reduced fuel costs.
  • Smaller class 1A National Insurance contributions.
  • Lower vehicle excise duty.
  • Reduced corporation tax.
  • Employee benefit from decreased benefit-in-kind tax.
  • CO2 and fuel economy are related: lower CO2 emissions means greater fuel economy.
  • All running costs should be considered including fuel, taxation and maintenance.

Learning about the mpg, CO2 and Euro standard of a vehicle is fundamental to making an informed decision about a car or van within your fleet. The DirectGov website can provide a useful insight into the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of a specific vehicle.

Fuel costs also need to be kept under control; else the fleet could be prone to wasted expenditure. After all, fuel contributes 25-30% to a vehicle’s total life cost – and this is constantly increasing.

  • Badly driven, neglected vehicles have higher CO2 emissions and greater fuel costs.
  • Monitoring fuel consumption is also an essential part of recognising inadequately performing vehicles and drivers.
  • Vehicles with speed restrictions set to 60mph use approximately 15% less fuel than if travelling at 70mph. And the difference between 80mph and 70mph can be as much as 25%.

Steve Black, Account Manager at CVSL, commented: “A simple spreadsheet system could be adopted to allow businesses to monitor fuel more effectively. The main two statistics that should be analysed are the amount of fuel used and the distanced covered by each individual vehicle.

“It is also imperative that you keep a handle on the performance of your drivers and the maintenance of all vehicles. Consider introducing speed restrictors to fleet vehicles, which will not only modify driver behaviour but also lead to significant fuel savings.

“Additionally, poorly maintained vehicles will use more fuel than those in good condition. Plus, remember to keep an eye on the vehicles’ tyre pressure – tyres under inflated by 20% can increase fuel consumption by as much as 3%.”

CVSL is one of the UK’s leading car leasing specialists, providing expert advice on how to optimise your fleet in order to improve your business’ green credentials and save you money.

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