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Climate Change and Your Fleet

By: Mike Watson - Updated: 15 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Fleet Vehicles Petrol Diesel Lpg

Unless you fly regularly or use air freight then your ‘fleet’ (that is, all of the vehicles you use for work) will probably be your single biggest carbon emitter. For this reason, cutting down on the amount of carbon burned in the course of running your fleet is essential if you are to operate an environmentally conscientious business.

Ways of Minimising Vehicle Emissions

The most obvious - and sometimes the least viable – way of reducing emissions is to reduce the amount of journeys you make. Clearly, if you are a Taxi company or courier service this would run contrary to good sense, yet if your business does not rely on transportation as an intrinsic part of what it offers you may want to look at your transport usage and ascertain where cut backs can be made.

Where possible ‘store up’ journeys, by waiting until you have a full load of stock or equipment that (or a full run of errands or tasks) necessitate driving in the same direction. Also be sure to plan your route well to avoid unnecessary lengthy journeys .

On top of fuel wastage deriving from making unnecessary journeys, fuel can be wasted by driving in a way that is uneconomical. The Energy Saving Trust provide information on the most economical way of driving, and any company wishing to maximise profit would do well to ensure that their drivers abide simple energy saving guidelines. With even a small size fleet of vehicles you could stand to save thousands of pounds each year!

Principally the main facets of eco-driving include keeping your revs as low as possible by changing gear before they get too high (you can ascertain when best to do this by listening to the sound of your engine), driving smoothly without sharp bursts of acceleration or sharp braking, turning your engine off when in a long traffic jam, and driving at an average of between 40 and 50 mph in 4th gear, where possible.

Energy Efficient Vehicles

Businesses wishing to make a real statement about energy saving may like to invest in either buying energy efficient vehicles or converting existing vehicles to run on Biofuels or Liquid Petroleum Gas, Biodiesel, Bioethanol, Hybrid (cars that can run on electricity and petrol) or Electric Cars.

Petrol cars already operate on a percentage of Bioethanol to petrol, whilst diesel cars can run on a percentage of Biodiesel to normal diesel. Do note that adding more than 5% of these more environmentally friendly alternative fuels to your petrol or diesel engine can invalidate your warranty.

The carbon trust can advise on the most efficient use of your business fleet as part of wider energy saving initiatives. The Energy Saving Trust provide a similar free service called a ‘Green Fleet Review’. The Green Fleet Review is open to anybody operating more than 50 vehicles in the running of their organisation and offers a free telephone consultancy service. Both organisations will help you to choose the most energy efficient alternative to petrol and diesel transport.

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