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6 ways to achieve sustainable green fleet management

By Julie White August 21, 2023

With fuel costs rising, and state and federal governments expanding environmental regulations, many organizations are taking a deeper look at ways to make their fleets more sustainable and go green. For instance, California has made progress with truck manufacturers towards their goal of zero-emissions sales by 20361. These regulations are likely to have a ripple effect on the country. 

Thanks to technology, organizations now have several tools at their disposal to boost sustainability efforts including telematics, route optimization solutions and even electric vehicles (EVs).

Improve fleet sustainability with fuel efficiency 

One of the easiest and quickest ways to support fleet sustainability efforts is by boosting fuel efficiency. Telematics and GPS fleet tracking solutions can be very helpful in identifying ways to potentially reduce fuel consumption.

  • Reduce idling: Each year, truck idling uses roughly 1 billion gallons of fuel and releases 11 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.2 That’s bad for the environment and bad for your bottom line too. Telematics technology can help fleet managers understand how long their vehicles are idling and identify opportunities to reduce it.
  • Harsh driving: Speeding, aggressive acceleration and other harsh driving behaviors can increase fuel consumption. Fleet tracking technology can send alerts when these behaviors occur and provide coaching opportunities to help make drivers more efficient.
  • Monitor fuel usage: Fleet managers can use telematics solutions to monitor and track fuel usage across their fleet. If an individual vehicle is using more fuel than normal, that could indicate a maintenance need, such as an engine tune-up or new tires.

Maintaining equipment for sustainable fleet management 

One of the top sustainable fleet management best practices is to stay on top of vehicle and equipment maintenance. Not only can proactive maintenance help with safety initiatives, it can also help reduce costs and support your fleet’s environmental efforts. 

Properly inflated tires can help improve fuel economy and they generally last longer, which helps reduce waste. And keeping vehicles and equipment well maintained can cut down on emissions. Replacing fuel filters at proper intervals also supports fuel economy. 

Staying on top of maintenance can be a challenge and telematics can help. Fleet tracking solutions let organizations set up preventative maintenance schedules and send alerts to fleet managers when scheduled maintenance is coming up.

Find out how telematics technology helps fleets proactively manage maintenance. 

Sustainable fleets go paperless 

Using paper records is inefficient and creates additional waste. As more organizations and fleets go digital, the need for paper is decreasing every day. An integrated telematics solution can help fleets significantly reduce their reliance on paper by providing digital timesheets, maintenance records and schedules, dashboards, and other reports. 

The bottom line: moving towards a fully paperless fleet can support streamlining operations and enhancing sustainability.

Fleet strategy: Rightsize your fleet 

According to the Federal Energy Management Program, one of the core components of sustainable fleet management strategies is a focus on rightsizing your fleet.3 Right-sizing allows fleets to identify and eliminate vehicles that might not be needed or may be inefficient – and therefore could be ideal for replacement with new or fuel-efficient vehicles. 

Organizations looking to rightsize their fleet should follow three general steps:

  1. Create a complete inventory of all the fleet’s vehicles, assets and equipment. The inventory should include the age, mileage and number of hours used for each vehicle or piece of equipment.
  2. Understand how the vehicles and assets are currently utilized. This can include their role, purpose or any other essential traits.
  3. Analyze the organization’s operational needs and use that analysis to spot opportunities to eliminate unnecessary, inefficient or old vehicles from your inventory.

Rightsizing a fleet promotes sustainability. For example, removing or replacing old, inefficient vehicles can help reduce overall fuel consumption. 

Plan your routes to save fuel 

Optimizing routes is another way to help an organization make their fleet more sustainable. Determining the quickest and most efficient route to or from a job site can obviously address both fuel usage and the amount of pollution released into the air. 

Identifying more efficient routes can help reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Additionally, optimized dispatching and routing can help cut down on idling times by reducing the number of stops, or routing vehicles around traffic congestion or other obstacles.

And route optimization solutions are about more than just finding the shortest route from point A to point B. Organizations in a variety of industries can use route optimization to enhance operations, focus on safety initiatives or improve customer relations. For example:

  • Delivery companies can use the tool to make their drivers more efficient between stops, which helps reduce wear and tear on their vehicles, and can have an impact on customer service. 
  • Fleets can rapidly pivot when a new job opens up, and have the closest available driver respond.
  • Public fleets and fleets in the oil and gas industry can use route optimization tools to help drivers avoid hazardous areas. This can be especially helpful for first responders during harsh weather or natural disasters.

Overall, organizations that implement route optimization solutions can make strides towards their sustainability goals by navigating more efficiently, supporting lower fuel consumption and reducing harmful greenhouse gasses.

Move to an electric vehicle fleet 

With the federal government announcing a goal to have 50% of new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 and automakers unveiling new EV models, more fleets are looking at EVs as an innovative solution to meet sustainability goals.4 Electric fleet vehicles generally have fewer maintenance costs and reduce the need for gas.

However, organizations that want to make their fleet electric or convert a segment of their vehicles into an EV fleet need to consider several things first.

  • EV fleet management: Organizations need to make sure their telematics solution gives them visibility into the state of their vehicles. EV fleet management software allows fleet managers to see the battery status of all their EVs so they know which vehicles are ready to go.
  • Charging and range: EVs will need adequate charging infrastructure. Additionally, an EV’s range can vary significantly depending on the vehicle, application and even the outside temperature. Proper electric vehicle fleet management will incorporate a plan to address both of these challenges. 
  • Assessing daily usage: EVs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Fleet leaders need to review their daily usage and range to confirm an EV can meet the demands of their business model.

Incorporating EVs into fleets has never been more achievable thanks to grants and other incentive programs that the federal government and many state governments offer.5 Although the initial purchase price of an EV is often more expensive than a comparable gas counterpart, it’s important to remember that the sticker price is just one part of the lifetime cost of ownership. Lower maintenance, reduced fuel usage and emissions, and purchasing incentives can make EVs a great option for fleets looking to focus on sustainability goals.

Sustainability is about more than just going green 

Making your fleet more green is great for the environment, but being more sustainable has many practical benefits as well. Becoming more fuel efficient, optimizing routes and implementing a proactive maintenance schedule can help lower fuel and operational costs. Going paperless and right-sizing your fleet can streamline overall operations and efficiency. And incorporating EVs can supercharge sustainability efforts.

At the end of the day, fleets may find that focusing on sustainability can have a positive impact on the business as well. 

1 https://www.gov.ca.gov/2023/07/06/california-truck-manufacturers-strike-agreement-on-zero-emission-transition/

2 https://www.epa.gov/verified-diesel-tech/learn-about-idling-reduction-technologies-irts-trucks-and-school-buses 

3 https://www.energy.gov/femp/femp-best-practices-sustainable-fleet-core-principles 

4 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/08/05/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-steps-to-drive-american-leadership-forward-on-clean-cars-and-trucks/ 

5 https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxcenter.shtml 

Julie White

Julie is an experienced product management professional with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry in a variety of customer-facing and technical roles. She is skilled in product management, business analysis, product ownership, enabling sales and customer support management.

Tags: Community, Cost control, Data & Analytics, Fleet utilization, Fuel cost management, Productivity & Efficiency, Vehicle Maintenance

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