USA Fleet Solutions Blog

What is fleet sustainability?

Scientists, governments, and organizations around the world have jointly acknowledged the need to take action on climate change. On March 21, 2019, for example, the UN celebrated the 25th anniversary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is responsible for the Paris Agreement and new guidelines for countries to reduce greenhouse gases.

While these guidelines have made some strides, they’ve been met with a lot of challenges as well. As UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa stated in celebration of the anniversary, “What we need now are results.”

This anniversary comes amid UN’s examination of extreme weather events, which resulted in about 524,000 deaths globally between 1997 and 2016, with damages costing more than $3 trillion. “What we need now takes all of us,” Espinosa said in her speech. “Because we know that solutions to climate change don’t come from governments alone. They also come from businesses, investors, community organizations, private citizens and more.”

Why is fleet sustainability important?

For a fleet — big or small — creating a sustainable fleet program is one of the best contributions it can make to meet Espinosa’s call. In the U.S., for example, the transportation sector is one of two largest contributors to greenhouse gases, according to the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on emissions.

Here are some figures to consider:

  • In 2016, 28% of U.S greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation (up 1% from 2015).
  • It’s
    also important to note that the largest contributors to emissions are
    light-duty vehicles at 60% and medium- and heavy-duty trucks at 23%.

Fleet sustainability isn’t altruistic — it has a tremendous amount of benefits for fleets as well:

  • Reduce the organization’s carbon footprint through better route management and/or use of alternative-fuel vehicles with fewer to no emissions.
  • Lower long-term costs, such as spending less on fuel, oil, and even maintenance.
  • Comply with any applicable emissions regulations.

What is fleet sustainability exactly?

Fleet sustainability refers to activities centered around reducing the environmental impact of fleet vehicles, including strategies such as:

  • GPS tracking
  • Fuel-efficient driving
  • Reduction of idling and carbon emissions
  • Adoption of hybrid/electric vehicles and right-sizing
  • Use of alternative fuels
  • Vehicle pooling or car sharing
  • Considering alternative modes of transportation altogether

Encourage staff participation in sustainability programs with incentives

Some organizations, particularly government fleets, may even add one more green strategy to the list: Encouraging all staff members to practice a sustainability mindset in their personal lives. Incentives can be created to promote walking, biking or using public transportation to get to work. Organizations can even help coordinate an employee rideshare program to make carpooling easier on staff. In one case, a major university in California provides rideshare participants two free rides home per year, in cases of emergency.

Education and awareness campaigns, sustainability committees, and special recognition such as a VIP parking space, are some other ideas for motivating employees to go green.

Supporting sustainability goals with telematics  

To act on a fleet sustainability plan, a fleet needs data. This data has to tell the fleet’s whole story to drive efficient decision-making. One of the key roles telematics devices play involves fuel consumption. Plus, by focusing on fuel reduction, the benefits can ripple throughout operations, from a reduction on safety and collision costs to lowered maintenance.

The Geotab open platform and GO telematics devices retrieve important information from the vehicle on a quantitative scale, letting you monitor every aspect of the fleet. You can collect data on GPS location, idling time, dangerous driver behavior, customer visits, and many other measurements. All this comes together so a fleet can work on inefficiencies and embrace new ideas, such as adopting electric vehicles (EVs).

Four ways telematics supports fleet sustainability

There are at least four ways fleets can use Geotab to reduce emissions:

  • Promote efficient driving, and identify and reduce unnecessary idling
  • Help manage the application of alternative fuels and powertrains like EVs
  • Reduce miles driven by optimizing routes
  • Manage and practice proactive vehicle maintenance

1. Promote efficient driving and reduce unnecessary idling

Telematics can be used as a tool for reducing fuel through driver and safety management. Reports and alerts can highlight aggressive driving behavior, such as speeding, harsh acceleration, and other environmentally harmful activities that burn up more fuel.

This information on driver behavior provides managers the ability to improve driver efficiency by directing training at the specific areas needing the most attention. With an increase in awareness, a driver’s average MPG is likely to follow.

About Geotab idling rules:

Geotab allows managers to see how long each driver is idling and overall fleet idling time, as well as the cost of all that idling. Drivers can also receive alerts when the engine has idled for too long, and warnings can be sent to their manager as well.

Minimizing your carbon footprint:

Geotab offers a custom report specifically for fleets looking to understand and reduce their carbon footprint, called the CO2 Emissions Report.

2. Integrate and manage EVs

Of all the new vehicle technologies available, EVs offer fleets the greatest opportunity to improve urban air quality, as they create zero roadside emissions from the tailpipe. However, it is important to right-size any EV to its required duty cycle, and to be confident in exactly which vehicles on which routes would make the best candidates for replacement. To do this, it requires access to the data that will make the case.

An Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA) provides all the information required to help ensure you are putting the best-fit EVs into your fleet. With an EVSA, fleet managers can see the environmental and financial case for transitioning to electric, based on real duty cycles, taken from the vehicle. The final report provides a roadmap for when and where to switch to EVs, allowing organizations to forecast the effects of the purchasing decision before making them.

Managing EVs with finesse:

EV tracking can be easily integrated into existing fleet management routines. On the Geotab platform, fleets can report on historical and real time EV data, along with data from their other non-electric vehicles, together.

3. Optimize routes

By optimizing routes, fleets can avoid heavily congested routes as much as possible. For example, if you have a customer delivery every week and you see a report indicating that your vehicle has been moving at a speed well below the posted speed limit for 25 minutes or more, it is safe to assume this is due to some type of traffic congestion issue.

Posted in: Fleet Maintenance, Fleet Management, Government Regulations

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