25 tips for a green fleet strategy

Article Published by Geotab
Author: Joanne Tucker, Fleet industry writer/contributor

From Earth Day to Earth Week to now some celebrating Earth Month, this growing recognition of the environment is reflective of how green fleet strategies have grown as well.

Make every day Earth Day: Live it.  

  1. Lean on telematics: Considered the go-to green fleet technology, telematics is often ground-zero of a fleet sustainability strategy because it provides the data needed to set and measure goals.
  2. Report, report, and report some more (automatically): For example, use technology to track emissions, idling and any other measurement you could possibly need to enact and manage a green fleet plan.
  3. Be inclusive: Work with other departments on establishing long-term goals and strategies. In other words, make a plan that is company wide, allowing it to impact your organization’s deeper culture.
  4. Think closed-loop: Recycle and reuse. A green fleet strategy is really about greening the whole organization in every nook and cranny you can think of.
  5. Be flexible: This means being open to ideas you’ve probably heard about but been hesitant to try, such as remote working and flex hours. Start small and see where it goes.
  6. It’s a lifestyle: Long considered a taboo to talk about in fleet management, many organizations are seeing the benefit of promoting and rewarding employee carpooling, car sharing, and even using alternative modes of transportation such as public transit and bicycling. This can be encouraged in employee personal lives, as well as examined at the fleet level.

Focus on fuel: Save it.

  1. Reduce idling: When tracking time spent idling, it’s easy to bring those levels down via in-cab alerts and other telematics features.
  2. Train drivers: By examining harsh braking and the like, you can train drivers specific to their style and help them become more eco-friendly.
  3. Engage drivers: Increase the impact of training measures with gamification and recognizing your fuel savers.
  4. Lower miles driven: With efficient route management, miles can often be cut by avoiding heavy traffic times or unnecessary overlaps.
  5. Aerodynamics: An evolving field for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, aerodynamic applications could be worth investigating for your existing trucks.
  6. Test new technology: Manufacturers are on the push to increase efficiency, though some features can seem too high of a cost at procurement. Pilot one technology at a time to see if the ROI works.

Re-focus on fuel: Change it.

  1. Consider the alternatives: Educate yourself on the different available alternative fuel and powertrain technologies and existing infrastructure, and even grants, through resources like the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
  2. Plan your transition: An electric vehicle suitability assessment (EVSA) provides exactly what you need to examine if — or more likely what — vehicles could just as easily work as an EV.
  3. Manage EV/alternative fuel data: These initiatives can be measured in how they have impacted your overall fleet emissions. Read how Farmdrop uses telematics to track its fleet of electric delivery.

Let your fleet shine: Maintain it.

  1. Be proactive: Proper tire inflation, oil changes, etc. can all negatively impact fuel efficiency when maintenance goes unchecked.
  2. Recycle batteries: This includes EV batteries as well.
  3. Look at the shop: Re-refined oil and other environmentally friendly products are making their way into major mechanic shops globally.
  4. Try biodegradable: Consider how you keep your fleet looking polished and what cleaning products are used.
  5. Analyze, analyze, analyze: Regularly analyze maintenance costs to specification needs for the job. Use green fleet resources like the EPA’s SmartWay designation.

Be the tortoise, not the hare: Embrace it.

  1. Encourage safety: No collisions mean no repair costs, fewer materials used and so on.
  2. Try local: Sustainability is also about how far a product travels (we are in the fleet space after all). Spend time researching local vendors and how you can work with other organizations nearby with a similar mindset.
  3. Stay in touch: Follow the green fleet industry, such as through industry media, vendors, and even conferences.
  4. Stay focused: Don’t lose sight of goals and keep reporting on a pre-planned schedule, such as quarterly.
  5. Stay motivated: “What we need now takes all of us.” – Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, reflecting on progress and what’s next after 25 years of global efforts.

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